Oscar Morgan Tells Us About Joining Comic Book World of ‘Gotham Knights’

Apr 26, 2023

From creators Natalie Abrams, Chad Fiveash and James Patrick Stoteraux, The CW drama series Gotham Knights follows Turner Hayes (Oscar Morgan), the adopted son of Bruce Wayne, who has found himself in the dangerous position of being framed for killing the famous Gotham City vigilante known as Batman and who has since teamed up with the Joker’s daughter Duela (Olivia Rose Keegan) and the sibling duo of Harper Row (Fallon Smythe) and her brother Cullen (Tyler DiCiara), along with his best friend Stephanie Brown (Anna Lore) and Batman sidekick Carrie Kelley (Navia Robinson), each with their own handy set of skills. With the GCPD on their trail, the Knights must avoid getting caught while also trying to unravel the threads of who is really behind the deadly Court of Owls that are really pulling all the strings, all with the help of District Attorney Harvey Dent (Misha Collins).

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, Morgan talked about why he wanted to be a part of the world of Gotham, his audition process for this role and how his character changed when he was cast, playing someone with so much personal trauma, forming the cast dynamics, what CW veteran Collins is like to work with, the Turner Hayes and Harvey Dent relationship, and what it was like to discover all the show’s twists and turns.

Collider: When the possibility of being a part of this came your way, what was your reaction? Batman, as a character, casts a long shadow, and even if he’s not directly in the series himself, he still looms large over the story that you’re telling, which can be intimidating. Were you intrigued by the challenge of that, or was there just something specific about the character that you found yourself connecting to?

OSCAR MORGAN: Gotham, as a world, is something that not many actors get to play a part in, so that was tremendously exciting. The character is unike other characters I’ve played before. I’m not used to playing the audience’s eyes into the story. I’m used to being a little bit more of the goofy best friend. So, I was excited about the prospect of that.

Image via The CW

What was the audition process like for this? Was it a long process where you had to wait a while to find out whether you’d get to do this, or did it all happen pretty quickly?

MORGAN: It was a long process, actually. It was all virtual. There was lots of self-taping. Week after week, it was another self-tape. And then, eventually, I got into meetings. A few months before I got the email about this show, I tested for David Rapaport, the casting director, on a different show, so when it came through, I was like, “Maybe this is that show.” But then, the character description, at the time, was like, “Muscled jock.” I messaged my manager and was like, “Maybe there are other roles I could go in for? This seems like a cool show, but this role is not for me.” Thankfully, they changed that. Since I got the part, they’ve gone very far away from that version of the character. But yeah, it was a long process. I did about eight self-tapes and a couple of meetings, and Olivia [Rose Keegan] and I did a chemistry read over Zoom.

This character is the adopted son of Bruce Wayne, but he didn’t actually know he was Batman. How messed up does that make a kid whose parents have already been murdered, and now he’s being accused of being responsible for another murder. Are there enough years of therapy that can help him sort all of those things out?

MORGAN: No, I don’t think so. There are not enough therapists in the world. He definitely pretty messed up about it, understandably. He was nine years old when his parents were killed. He’s constantly been thrown around from family to family and kept in the dark about certain things. He’s been trying to fit into a world that he’s just not a part of. There’s a huge part of Turner that’s just longing to belong to something, whether it’s a friendship group, or a purpose, or a cause, or a family, or whatever it is. He just needs to be a part of something like that. He needs that kind of familial feeling. I think you’ll see a lot of that.

Turner Hayes already has all this stuff that he’s trying to sort out on a personal level, but he doesn’t even get a chance to sort out his own life first, before he’s then dealing with all of this crazy drama in Gotham.

MORGAN: Exactly. It’s tough. You’ll see a couple of moments where he gets a bit pissed off with having to carry the weight of saving Gotham from whatever. There are a few moments of almost rebellion, or throwing his toys out of the pram, and wanting to just live a normal teenage life.

Image via The CW

With a show like this, you’re pulling from comic book lore, but you’re also creating a TV show. This is set in Gotham, and you have characters from the comics, like Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent, involved in the story. But on the other side of that, your character is an original character. What’s it like to find a balance between the comics and their lore, but also telling a story that can be unexpected for audiences?

MORGAN: Building this character and thinking about who Turner was, I tried to understand Gotham as well as I could. Before I did the show, I hadn’t seen a lot of Batman films. I watched the [Christopher] Nolan films. I watched the Tim Burton films. As a kid, I had seen the old sixties TV show, so that was my understanding of it. That was the extent of it, with the bright colors. Obviously, it’s not like that now. The character was aware of Batman’s existence, living in Gotham, but he’s just your average person, so I didn’t feel like I had to build him to fit an archetype of the world of Gotham. It was just like building any other character.

Because your character was framed for murder, he’s working with a team made up of individuals that he probably never would have chosen to work with. What was it like to meet each of those actors, as they got cast in their roles, and to find the dynamic with each of them?

MORGAN: Us actors from all over the place, piled together in a room, stuck there for eight months and disconnected from the outside world. It’s similar to being framed for murder. No. It was pretty easy. When we shot the pilot, we had a lot of time. We had about 22 weeks, before we even started shooting, to just hang out and get to know each other, and we were all living in the same building. The dynamics form pretty quickly. It was quite hard to be wary of Olivia’s character, Duela. That’s a prominent dynamic in the first few episodes. Turner and Duela are supposed to not get on very well and rub each other the wrong way, but we get on so well that it was hard. We all get on really well. It’s crazy. It didn’t feel like work.

It feels like there could also definitely be a spark between Turner and Stephanie (Anna Lore). What would you say to tease what’s to come for them, this season?

MORGAN: There absolutely is a spark, you’re right. They’ve been best friends for years. Judgment can become clouded, especially in those early friendships that you form, when you’re figuring everything out for yourself. The lines become blurred between, “Is this romantic? Is this just a friendship?” But the chips will fall where they do and people end up with who they’re supposed to.

It wouldn’t be a TV show without lots of drama.

MORGAN: Yeah, there’s definitely drama.

Image via The CW

You also have a CW veteran on this show, with Misha Collins playing Harvey Dent. What’s it like to work with him? Knowing his history with the network and the huge fan base that Supernatural had, what has most impressed you about working with him and watching him work?

MORGAN: It’s lovely, working with Misha. It feels like he’s more on your side than his own, when you’re doing a scene with him. He wants to get the best out of his scene partner, which is just an amazing quality in an actor like, yeah, I don’t know. At Christmas this year, he made us all homemade fruit preserves, which is just wonderful. We were like, “Do you live on a farm? What is this? Where’s your halo?”

It’s so interesting to watch your characters together because we know that Harvey will become Two-Face, at some point. What was it like to establish that relationship between your characters, while you know that it is eventually going to get to a very different place?

MORGAN: When we were shooting an episode, we didn’t know what was coming next, which definitely helped. We knew that the general trajectory for Harvey Dent is becoming Two-Face, ultimately, but we didn’t know when or how that was gonna happen. I thought it was easy to play the character with that unknowing. It’s just like life. You don’t know what’s coming. With Harvey and Turner, there’s almost a father-son bond there. He was close with Bruce, and I’ve been living with Bruce since I was nine years old, so he’s been around the house. He’s the closest paternal figure that Turner has.

Image via The CW

What was it like to get those scripts and find out what would be coming next? How many times were you surprised by what was happening?

MORGAN: Every week. The script would come through at about one in the morning, and I’d be dozing off, just about to fall asleep, and then suddenly, we’d get an email. We’d be on our group chat going, “Episode 10 just dropped!,” and then we’d all read it and compare notes. It was super exciting. It’s like finding out the fate of your own life. It was really cool. The writers have done an incredible job. It was also so fun seeing different writers’ personalities come through in various episodes because they were on a rotation throughout the season. It was really cool.

This show has a series of mysteries, with who murdered Bruce Wayne, who and what the Court of Owls are and what they’re doing, what’s happening with Harvey Dent, and whether it’s all connected. What’s it like to be the character and the actor in the middle of all of that? What would you say to tease audiences about what we’ll continue to see with this greater mystery that’s going on?

MORGAN: It’s a massive ball of yarn that slowly unravels to reveal that it wasn’t yarn, but it was actually a string leading straight to hell. I don’t know. Don’t use that. It’s just mystery after mystery. If you like one episode, then you’ll definitely like the next.

Gotham Knights airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.

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