Milo Ventimiglia is no stranger to the superhero world, with a résumé that includes NBC’s Heroes and voice roles on Marvel animated series including Ultimate Spider-Man. But his new character on Fox’s Gotham is far from anyone’s idea of a hero.
“They took a name from the comic, and they created their own character,” the Mob City alum tells The Hollywood Reporter about the Ogre, who makes his debut Monday. “The character they gave Jim Gordon to fight, right up until the very end, is a pretty bad guy.”
The veteran actor — who next appears in ABC’s summer scripted mystery The Whispers — is having a field day on Gotham, where he’s stretching his acting wings with his role as the big bad. “[It’s fun to have] the opportunity to step outside of yourself and create a character that, in real life, we just can’t do,” he says. “I mean, we can, but we’ll go to jail.”
“The idea of who this guy is, and why he is, is so compelling that every turn, every kill, every moment for this guy — there’s a reason why he’s doing it all,” says Ventimiglia, who is acting opposite longtime friend Ben McKenzie (James Gordon). “It may not be your reason or my personal reason, but there is a reason.”
Ventimiglia, who will recur for the remainder of the DC Comics adaptation’s freshman season, knew he was signing on to portray a serial killer looking for love and is looking forward to learning more about the mysterious character who goes by the name of Jason Lennon.
“I discovered — as everyone else will discover — his motives and how he was created,” he says of the role, which also serves as a reunion for the Gilmore Girls alum with executive producer John Stephens.
Furthermore, the role marks an extension of Ventimiglia’s personal interests — the fanboy says he was “raised on comics” and watched Fox’s Gotham from the start to support pals McKenzie and co-star Donal Logue.
“Those were the stories I was following as a kid, the stories that expanded my creative mind and got me excited about being a good guy in life and standing up for others that were oppressed or hurt or looked down on, for whatever reason,” he says. “This is the world that raised me.”
While the ultimate fate of the Ogre will remain a mystery for a few weeks — the actor even refused to reveal whether he would be sharing scenes with other villains featured on the Fox hit, though he did say that the character is “on his own path” — Ventimiglia describes his time on Gotham as “a perfect storm.”
Gotham airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox.