Wednesday, October 28, 2015

GOTHAM Casts Nathan Darrow as Mr. Freeze

Winter is coming to Gotham City.

Deadline reports that the Fox series Gotham has cast Nathan Darrow as Victor Fries, better known to Batman fans as the supervillain Mr. Freeze.  According to the article, the role will be recurring, while TVLine has word that Mr. Freeze will first appear in December, followed by a major Freeze story in episodes 12 and 13.

The official character description reads, "Though ferociously smart and eminently capable in his work as one of Gotham’s preeminent cryogenics engineers, Victor struggles to make meaningful connections with others.  The one exception is his wife, Nora (casting TBA), who has tragically fallen ill with a terminal disease.  Victor’s love for Nora knows no bounds, so as her condition worsens, he goes to extreme measures to figure out a way to freeze her before she dies.  This harrowing journey leads to his transformation into the legendary DC villain, Mr. Freeze."

Best known as Edward Meechum, Kevin Spacey's bodyguard on Netflix's House of Cards, Darrow has also appeared on the television series Blue Bloods and Billions, as well as the TV movie Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories.

Created in 1959 by Bob Kane, David Wood and Sheldon Moldoff, Mr. Freeze first appeared in Batman (vol.1) #121, as Mr. Zero, a rogue scientist whose design for an "ice gun" backfires when he inadvertently spills cryogenic chemicals on himself, resulting in his needing subzero temperatures to survive.

The producers of the 1960s Batman television series renamed the character Mr. Freeze, which carried over to the comics in 1968's Detective Comics (vol.1) #373.  Paul Dini revamped the character once again for Batman: The Animated Series in 1992, which introduced his terminally ill, cryogenically frozen wife Nora and explained his obsession with ice and need to build a criminal empire to raise research funds.

The current New 52 version of the character was introduced in Batman Annual #1, giving him another revised origin.  Victor Fries' fascination with cryonics began when he was a boy and his mother fell through the ice of a frozen lake.  The ice was able to keep her preserved long enough for help to arrive, thus sparking his lifelong obsession with the cold.  It was later revealed that the accident left Fries' mother in constant pain, and Fries ended her suffering by pushing her into a lake.  In this new origin, Nora was never Fries' wife.  Her name was Nora Fields, a woman born in 1943.  When Nora was 23, she was diagnosed with an incurable heart disease, so her family placed her in cryogenic stasis hoping that a cure would be found in the future.  Fries, having written his doctoral thesis on Nora, took on a position as a cryogenic researcher and technician at Wayne Enterprises, the facility that housed Nora's body.

Eventually, he fell in love with Nora and became dedicated to finding a reliable method for slowly thawing cryogenic subjects.  However, Bruce Wayne ordered the project to be shut down, as he began to feel uncomfortable with Fries' obsession with Nora.  Furious, Fries hurled a chair at Wayne, who dodged the attack.  The chair smashed into an array of cryonic chemical tanks, the contents of which sprayed onto Fries and transformed him into Mr. Freeze.

Darrow will be the fifth actor to portray the character in live action, after George Sanders, Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach on the 1960s Batman television series, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1997 film Batman & Robin.  The character has also appeared in numerous animated projects, including The Batman/Superman Hour (voiced by Ted Knight), The New Adventures of Batman (voiced by Lennie Weinrib), Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond (voiced by Michael Ansara), The Batman (voiced by Clancy Brown), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (voiced by John DiMaggio), and Young Justice (voiced by Keith Szarabajka).

Gotham airs Monday nights on Fox at 8 p.m. EST.

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