The first Pennyworth teaser, which debuted back in March, gave us little more than some quick flashes of the upcoming Epix show about the early days of Batman’s butler. But a full trailer has now arrived, and it paints a much fuller picture of the world that Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller and his team have created here. Check out the trailer below, but fair warning: If you watch this, there’s a 95% chance you will be tempted to do a Michael Caine impression for the rest of the day.
Actor Jack Bannon, who plays the title character in this series, has had small roles in films like The Imitation Game and Fury, but I imagine he’ll be largely unknown to general audiences. Normally, that might be a good thing: a fresh-faced actor stepping into a recognizable character doesn’t bring the same baggage with them as a veteran who may have played dozens of memorable characters already in their career. But here, Bannon adopts a Cockney-flavored accent that sounds so much like Michael Caine’s natural dialect that you can’t help but feel like Bannon is trying to do an impression. Other cinematic depictions of Alfred didn’t speak that way, so it’s definitely a choice on the part of the show for Bannon to lean in to that style of speaking.
Then again, after watching the above video of Caine talking about retaining his natural accent, perhaps this choice actually does make a lot of sense for this rough-and-tumble take on the character, because it could help depict the class difference between this young Alfred and the people he’s working to protect.
Still…was this story really aching to be told? Much of this trailer seems indistinguishable from some of the top-tier fan-made films that are floating around online, and that groan-worthy tag at the end with Alfred’s dad telling him he’ll be a butler before he’s 40 is the type of eye-rolling line that turns me off to this idea even more than I already was. I’d be glad to be proven wrong about this, so hopefully Heller’s approach results in something that feels essential when all is said and done.
Paloma Faith, Ben Aldridge, Hainsley Lloyd Bennett, Ryan Fletcher, Jason Flemyng, and Polly Walker co-star.
Here’s the show’s official synopsis:
From Warner Horizon Scripted Television, DC origin story Pennyworth is a ten-episode, one-hour drama series based on DC characters created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger. It follows Bruce Wayne’s legendary butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), a former British SAS soldier who forms a security company and goes to work with Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), Bruce’s billionaire father, in 1960s London.
Pennyworth debuts on Epix (which you can now order through Amazon Prime) on July 28, 2019.
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