Crafting Alfred Pennyworth: A Chat with Sean Pertwee about ‘Gotham’
Alfred J. Pennyworth is easily one of the most recognizable characters in the DC comic universe, mostly because of his important role in the life of Bruce Wayne: being his most trusted confidant. Fox’s Gotham introduced a new era for many of the characters linked to the Batman storyline, presenting a wide range of origin stories. Within this universe comes a new story for Alfred, the younger days when he is first tasked with taking care of young Bruce Wayne. Bringing his character to life on the small screen is veteran actor Sean Pertwee.
Pertwee brings a gritty, rougher side to Alfred, one in the form of a guardian and mentor, and less of just being the trusting confidant and supporter we have become accustomed to over the years. Which makes sense, considering that young Bruce Wayne is still finding his feet, still finding his purpose in life and challenging the very foundations that he thought defined him.
Born in London, Pertwee comes from a highly engaged performing arts family. His father Jon Pertwee was a class-act actor, performing both on stage and on screen, with roles that include Doctor Who and Worzel Gummidge. Sean Pertwee has similarly made his mark in the world of film, television and theatre, appearing in a number of productions including Elementary, another show – like Gotham – that is filmed in New York City.
Our interview at the 2017 Toronto ComiCon gave us an opportunity to ask about and explore the making of Gotham, discuss the iconic character that is Alfred J. Pennyworth, and highlight the important role the show plays in expanding the DC universe.