Last week’s fan-casting for Commissioner Jim Gordon worked out pretty well. We’ll see how my attempts to find a Harvey Bullock pan out….
Det. Harvey Bullock
Despite being a gruff, crude, slovenly, wise-ass pain-in-the-butt, Detective Harvey Bullock is another beloved(?) and integral member of the GCPD cast within the Bat-mythos. The pre-Crisis version of Bullock was thoroughly corrupt and often sabotaged investigations, but the post-Crisis/pre-52 character is generally clean, ethically speaking. Even so, he is often accused of taking bribes and other infractions. Couple this with his willingness to “do what it takes”, including roughing up perps, plus his general demeanor, and Bullock often finds himself under suspicion — even by his friends. When Officer Renee Montoya was promoted to Detective, she was partnered with Bullock. They remained together until an Internal Affairs investigation prompted Bullock to quit the force. Bullock spent some time as a Private Investigator, and, at one point, he even worked in some capacity for the governmental intelligence agency known as Checkmate.
Initially even more strongly against costumed crimefighters than Gordon, Bullock, too, developed a grudging respect for Batman et al. (Some more than others, of course.) Following the events of “Infinite Crisis”, he returned to the GCPD and was partnered with Det. Josie MacDonald. Bullock’s attitude toward Batman & co. has softened a little, and he now even assists them on some cases, however reluctantly.
Though trim and fairly muscular in his early days on the force (seen in rare flashbacks and back-up stories), the thick-necked, round-faced Bullock is usually drawn as anywhere from slightly pudgy to obese. The DC wiki entry lists him as 5’10”, 248lbs. For our purposes, a height range of 5’8″ to maybe a max of 6’2″ seems reasonable, with a weight anywhere from 200-300 lbs. (Though, an obese cop, especially one that might need to chase the occasional suspect on foot, is not a good idea.) Appearance wise, he has a signature hat, cigar, black hair & scruff, and usually a little food and/or drink dripped on his (usually bright/tacky) tie or other article(s) of clothing. Besides being a slob, he has also been known to hit the bottle — usually, but not exclusively, during his off-hours.
Bullock’s age presents us with a bit of a problem. From all appearances and indications over the years, I would say that Harvey Bullock is several years older than Renee Montoya and probably older than Crispus Allen, but (unlike in the TV series) he is still several years younger than Jim Gordon — say, maybe 5 years or so. Therefore, if a Batman TV/movie series began with Batman’s debut, Bullock might be in his mid-30s and possibly still a sergeant. Extrapolate out from there…. But, as I said regarding Gordon in the last post, it wouldn’t do too much “damage” to the character to adjust his age a bit for the movies (or a different TV series). That said, here are the actors I considered for the role….
One of my favorite choices was Jim Belushi (5’11”,b.1954), but he just turned 61 and is a bit too old. After that, we get into the same age-range as my fan-cast candidates for Jim Gordon. My next faves, then, are Bruce Campbell (6’1″,b.1958) and Michael Madsen (6’2″,b.1958). (I think I saw another fan cast Madsen for the part, too.) I looked at a few others but rejected them for various reasons (e.g., too tall, too “pretty”). On the shorter side, Pruitt Taylor Vince (5’9″,b.1960) and Michael Chiklis (5’8.5″,b.1963) are two very talented actors, each of whom might be an interesting choice for Bullock — assuming they don’t mind wearing a hairpiece. Finally, I thought supporting actor Bodie Newcomb (????,b.1963?), who appeared briefly in an episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, could fill Bullock’s shoes nicely. But, for various reasons, I rejected all of the above — except for Campbell and Madsen under certain conditions — and came up with these three.
Everyone is familiar with Mark Addy (5’11”,b.1964) from his many comedic performances (e.g., Jack Frost, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, “Still Standing”). But, he has had many serious roles, including playing cops (e.g., “Band of Gold”), kings (Robert Baratheon in “Game of Thrones”), and legends (Hercules in “Atlantis”). I haven’t seen most of them, but I was impressed with his acting in GoT, plus he is definitely the right body type. If producers decided to go with a 50ish Harvey Bullock, Addy pretty much fits the bill.
Jeremy Sisto (6’2″,b.1974) probably got his first notable role in Clueless. Over the next 20 years, he has appeared in everything from Suicide Kings to starring in the TV movie Jesus and “Six Feet Under”. His genre work includes Takedown, “The Outer Limits”, “The Twilight Zone”, One Point O, voice work for “Justice League: The New Frontier” and “Batman vs. Robin”, and currently starring in “The Returned”. Sisto is a tad on the tall side and perhaps a little too handsome. But, he has kind of a full face, and if he put on a few pounds to round out the rest of him, he could be a great, 40ish Harvey Bullock.
Matt Berry (5’10”,b.1974) is sort of a last-minute find. But, I think you will agree that he looks the most like Bullock of these three finalists and possibly of any others I mentioned. I don’t think I’ve actually seen him perform, but he’s a British actor/writer who has been acting on-screen for a little over a decade. He was in genre movies Braincell and Snow White and the Huntsman, did a little voice work for “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Major Lazer”, and appears mostly in sitcoms for the U.S. and UK. Assuming he chunks out a bit and can play a convincingly gruff & obnoxious (yet competent) American city cop, he just might be an even better 40-ish Bullock than Sisto.
How did I do? Can you picture any of these guys as Det. Harvey Bullock? Let me know who you would cast. I’ll leave you with another cool pic of a bad@$$ Bullock….
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.