Nolan's $1 Billion Batman Epic Robbed Us of a Perfect Jim Gordon

Nolan's $1 Billion Batman Epic Robbed Us of a Perfect Jim Gordon
Image credit: Warner Bros., globallookpress

James Gordon may have had an American accent in Nolan's movies.


  • Few iterations of Commissioner James Gordon can match Gary Oldman 's superb performance.
  • However, Christopher Nolan wanted the role to go to another well-known actor.
  • Though we were robbed of a perfect Jim Gordon, Oldman's performance is appreciated by audiences and the actor himself.

Neither Zack Snyder's nor Matt Reeves' interpretations can be compared to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy. His vision for the films fit perfectly with a gritty atmosphere of Gotham full of violence and class injustice. Each of the three films was deeply imbued with existentialism, ambiguous ethical choices, and of course, very faithful to the comic books, yet unique adaptations of DC Universe characters brought to life with unparalleled performances by renowned actors.

This is especially true of Gary Oldman's iconic performance as Commissioner James Gordon. Not only did his physical appearance perfectly match the comic book prototype, but his mannerisms and accent made him an ideal candidate for the role.

Initially, however, Nolan did not see a world-renowned British actor in the role of Gordon. As it turned out, the original Commissioner Gordon may have ended up with a different iconic handlebar moustache.

Nolan Wanted to Cast a Different Actor to Play Jim Gordon

As Gary Oldman himself shared in a Happy, Sad, Confused interview just a month ago, even though he knew he had already landed the project, he was originally slated for a very different role than Commissioner Gordon.

'I've got a feeling it was Scarecrow,' he shared. 'And that was about the time when I was sort of thinking "I've had enough of this." And I think it was Doug, my manager, said, or suggested to Chris [Nolan], "What about Jim Gordon?" and to his credit, Chris... "Hmm, that's interesting." And we met, and that's how it sort of came about.'

Originally, Nolan wanted to give the role to Kurt Russell. Yes, it is hard to believe now, as Oldman's performance has become so formative that even Zack Snyder was rumored to have wanted to omit the Justice League character from his script in order to pay tribute to the English actor's acting skills. In the end, of course, the role went to the great J.K. Simmons. K. Simmons, but even his value cannot be compared to the performance of Gary Oldman.

As for Kurt Russell, it would have been quite amusing to see how Commissioner Gordon would have decided to give his iconic mustache the equally iconic handlebar shape that Russell is known for in Tombstone or The Hateful Eight. His performance could have provided a refreshing take on the character, making Gordon, thanks to the actor's charisma, much more of a vigilante like Batman than a typical detective like in any of the iterations. In other words, with all due respect to Oldman, Nolan's films would only have benefited if Russell had agreed to take the role.

Nolan's $1 Billion Batman Epic Robbed Us of a Perfect Jim Gordon - image 1

But he turned down both Nolan and then Zack Snyder. The legendary Snake Plissken actor prefers the Marvel Universe more, as he has appeared in two different roles in the MCU.

Gary Oldman Continues to Be Grateful for the Role of Jim Gordon

But the role went to Gary Oldman, and years later it is still held in high regard not only by fans of DC and Nolan's work, but also by the actor himself. After all, it was his participation in the Dark Knight trilogy, as well as in Harry Potter as Sirius Black, that allowed him to stay afloat.

During his recent appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show, Oldman said he began turning down acting opportunities in the early 2000s in order to spend more time with his kids— Alfie, 35, Charlie John, 24, and Gulliver Flynn, 26 — after he became a single father in 2000 following his separation from third wife Donya Fiorentino.

'Thank God for Harry Potter,' he said recently on The Drew Barrymore Show. 'I tell you, the two — Batman and Harry Potter — really, they saved me, because it meant that I could do the least amount of work for the most amount of money and then be home with the kids.'

After his divorce from Donya Fiorentino in 2000, custody of his three children, Alfie, Gulliver and Charlie, went to him, so Oldman had to earn a decent living to support his family, but not to go on long business trips.

Source: Happy, Sad, Confused, What Culture, The Drew Barrymore Show.