Home #Hwoodtimes Pennyworth Is A Visual Carnival Worth Visiting

Pennyworth Is A Visual Carnival Worth Visiting


By Valerie Milano

Pennyworth – Jack Bannon

Pasadena, CA (The Hollywood Times) 6/17/19 –


The Epix series Pennyworth, now airing its first season, is quite the mashup. It boasts the intelligence of public television, costumery worthy of a James Bond installment, and the sensuality of a Cinemax series. For the uninitiated, Pennyworth is set up as a sort of prequel, or origins story, to Batman. The title character, a former special forces officer in London, works for Bruce Wayne’s father.  Let the intrigue begin.

Back in February, the cast joined The Television Critics Association for an in-depth panel, which included Executive Producer & Director Danny Cannon; Executive Producer Bruno Heller; Alfred Pennyworth actor Jack Bannon; Ben Aldridge, who plays Thomas Wayne; and Paloma Faith, who plays Bet Sykes.

Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge and Paloma Faith
EPIX ‘Pennyworth’ TV Show Panel, TCA Winter Press Tour, Los Angeles, USA (Photo: David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock)

“We owe a debt to Michael Caine for making him an SAS soldier in the first place,” explained Heller. “And it’s really the chance to make him the center of a story and explain that journey. How did he get from being a young SAS soldier to being a butler in America? And it also gives us a chance to create a real world around him, a world in England that fits the whole DC universe.”

Bannon admitted to the TCA audience that a certain weight comes with playing such a venerable character. But, he added, there are things that made it easier.

Danny Cannon, Bruno Heller, Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge, and Paloma Faith of the television show “Pennyworth” speak during the EPIX Networks segment of the 2019 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on February 10, 2019 in Pasadena, California.
(Photo: Getty Images North America)

“What takes the pressure off is that we’ve never seen him this age,” said Bannon. “And, really, it’s a play — you know, the world that Bruno’s created is a great playground for us to muck

Paloma Faith has discovered her own challenges to playing an inherently “evil” character. The actor admits it’s difficult to get ‘out’ of the character once she’s in. “I recently went to my next-door neighbor, who was threatening my boyfriend and told him I was gonna kill his dog,” she related. “And I realized afterwards that I hadn’t got out of character yet, and that’s not really my


It turns out Batman himself isn’t the only character in the DC universe. Shows like these, according to its creators, allow for serious exploration into many different angles.

“In his own life, he’s not a sidekick, and that’s one of those fascinating things about taking a story from a different angle,” said Heller. “It’s a bit like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, you know? It’s looking at the elephant from another angle.”


There’s a particular challenge, however, in dealing with the fanatical following of DC. “I think the DC audiences, what we’ve learned about them, is that they’re begging for something new and different and maturing the brand,” said Cannon. “You know, it’s like we always said. Like, the Beatles wrote some great songs, but when other people do them, you don’t want them to do them exactly the same, you know, bring something of your own to them. I mean, it’s a great canon of work with which to come in and do a version of.”

‘Pennyworth’: Batman Prequel Reveals New Look at Young Alfred

They’ve definitely brought their own angle to it. Dare I say, their take on the DC Universe is…actually fresh? There. I said it.


Pennyworth should be separated, at least mentally, from any idea you may have of Batman. And if you’re able to do that, you’ll find it’s a show well worth investing your time in.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.