NEW YORK — Milo Ventimiglia is the new big bad villain on Fox’s “Gotham,” which airs at 8 p.m. Monday, leading up to the season finale on May 4.
Ventimiglia plays the Ogre, whose name may be familiar to DC Comics fanatics, but his version is different from the one already in the DC universe.
“Gotham” focuses on James Gordon (played by Ben McKenzie) as a detective, before he becomes commissioner and before Bruce Wayne becomes Batman.
In this prequel, Gotham City is still corrupt and has plenty of bad guys. That’s where Ventimiglia’s Ogre comes in. He’s an untouchable mad man whom the Gotham City police department won’t go near, because every time someone does, the ogre responds by killing someone that person loves.
Ventimiglia said in a recent phone interview that he was drawn to the role because, for one, Bruno Heller, the creator of “Gotham,” makes “great male characters.”
“They’re strong, they have a purpose and a direction,” said Ventimiglia. “I identify with what I am. I’m a man and want to play a great, male character. Thank God for guys like Heller or (TV show producer) Kurt Sutter who give us these great characters for actors to play with.”
He also enjoys playing bad.
“We all have it in us to be very dark individuals, but hopefully we choose not to be,” he said. “To play a villain, to play a bad guy, to play a killer, it’s fun because it’s make-believe and it’s complete pretend. At the end of the day I get to step off-camera and go back to being myself, but as the cameras are rolling, I can be as sick as I possibly can.”
Ventimiglia, 37, is best known for playing Peter Petrelli on the NBC drama “Heroes” from 2006-10. He already announced via Twitter that he would not be returning to the reboot “Heroes Reborn” (described as a 13-episode miniseries to air later this year).
He said “I wish them all the best. I closed a chapter on ‘Heroes’ when it ended five years ago on the original.”
He also says he’s not that curious about this new version.
“It’s like, are you ever curious about your ex-relationships? Not really. Hopefully. Hopefully people can let you leave them in the past and not everybody’s reminding you about that girl you used to date.”
He understands the show’s fan base is interested but confesses, “It’s hard being the guy that says, ‘No, I’m not going back, A, because I wasn’t invited, and B, I’ve moved past that and I grew up and I grew out of that. Had we still been making the show for the last five years, it would be a different story. The truth is the show got canceled. It wasn’t even that the show ended. The show got canceled.”
This isn’t to say he didn’t appreciate the role because he stresses that he “enjoyed every minute. But, like every moment, every job, they will all end. Not to get supermeta, but everything comes to an end when it’s supposed to and pumping new blood into a dead body won’t necessarily bring it back to life. You might get a limb to twitch but, who knows?”