Don’t tell the folks at DC Comics, but Oscar Morgan isn’t much of a superhero fan.
“I watched the original TV show from the 1960s as a kid and I loved that but I’ve never really been much of a fan of superpowers or stuff like supernatural abilities,” he says.
Instead, “I love vampires because they can fly and they hang upside down.”
For Batman fans, that could be the next incarnation.
In the new CW series, “Gotham Knights,” Morgan plays the adopted son of Bruce Wayne who doesn’t know about his secret identity. When Wayne turns up dead, the son is considered a suspect and forced to go underground where he joins forces with the children of some of Batman’s biggest enemies.
A change of pace
Based on a graphic novel, “Gotham Knights” leans into the darker side of DC superheroes and gives Morgan – a British native – a chance to test American television waters.
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The adventure was a real surprise. In addition to unfolding on elaborate sets, the series was shot in order.
“In England, we’ll shoot a scene from one episode one day and a scene from another on another. It’s totally out of whack and much harder to give any sense of urgency to it.”
By filming episodes in order (the “Gotham Knights” way), producers were able to keep secrets from the cast. “We didn’t know anything until a couple of days prior to filming it,” Morgan says. “The showrunners would occasionally drop clues as to what might be happening.”
So who killed Bruce Wayne? “You’ll have to wait and see,” Morgan says teasingly.
The role actually came his way during the pandemic. He was asked to do a self-tape and was cast without any in-person meeting. “I haven’t had an in-person audition since 2019 and some of us were annoyed by that. We were itching to get back into those in-person meetings. Now I don’t even think about it.”
While actors can retape until they get a take they like, the process can be too much. “You could do it thousands of times and none of the words make much sense,” Morgan says. “Me and my friends who are actors have come to the agreement that we’ll treat the self-tape like an audition. You walk into the room, you’ll do maybe one or two takes and that’s done. It doesn’t matter.”
All those toys
When the twenty-something actor got the job – and got on the “Gotham Knights” set – he was shocked. “The Batcave was only half-constructed at the time but it will stick in my mind forever. We were just snooping around the building and, when I saw it, I realized how real this had become.”
Set in all parts of Gotham City (a corrupt Gotham City), “Gotham Knights” has plenty of detail and a belfry where Morgan’s Turner Hayes hangs out. “We’re essentially homeless kids on the run with little to no access to clothes and such, so I have roughly three outfits for the season.”
To justify the costume changes, producers say the belfry is over an expensive school for overprivileged kids “who do have lots of fancy gear. And, there’s a lost and found area,” Morgan says. “That’s our excuse.”
While a DC series can often spell future success, the show’s star is just keen on working. “I enjoyed showing up to work every day. I got so deep in the weeds with filming I forget we were making a show. It was more like summer camp.”
Working with a legend
Before “Gotham Knights,” Morgan starred with Catherine Deneuve in “Peaceful” or, as it was known in France, “De son Vivant.” Directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won star Benoit Magimel several awards.
“Catherine was wonderful to work with,” he says. “I got to play my guitar in the film and drink red wine at lunchtime.” While he and the French legend didn’t talk between takes (“she’s someone who likes to stay focused”), they did get to bond at Cannes.
Morgan’s French? “I can say, ‘I don’t speak French, but I want to learn.’”
The Gotham City gang: From left, Tyler DiChiara as Cullen Row, Olivia Rose Keegan as Duela Doe, Oscar Morgan as Turner Hayes, Fallon Smythe as…
An international career, he says, is quite likely. “The French film industry is so cool. And I do speak German, so I’d love to do films there.”
When Morgan was told he’d need an American accent for “Gotham Knights,” he jumped in. “I don’t have a way of knowing if my accent is good or bad,” he admits. “But I’ve been doing it for the last eight months, so it’s easy.”
"Gotham Knights" begins March 14 on The CW.