Last Updated on March 20, 2022 by Lil Ginge
If you’ve seen The Batman (2022), the new movie starring Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse, Good Time) as Gotham City’s caped crusader Bruce Wayne / Batman and directed by Hollywood veteran Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Cloverfield), you now know who Gotham City District Attorney Gil Colson is and how he plays an important though secondary role in the film’s plot.
Gil Colson, played by Peter Sarsgaard, happens to be a corrupt member of Gotham City’s elite and powerful. He does not respect the rule of law, prosecuting some criminals – like Mafia Boss Sal Maroni – to the fullest extent of the law, while allowing others – like Mafia Boss Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) free reign in Gotham City. In exchange, Colson enjoys all the kickbacks and perks a corrupt district attorney can get from kowtowing to the upper echelon of corrupt and criminal elements.
Gil Colson also seems to have a major drug habit of his own and is a serious lech. Inside The Penguin’s (Colin Farrell) Iceberg Lounge, Colson is seen partying with his D.A. staff with hard drugs and he takes an instant liking to Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz). Selina, who is in cahoots with The Batman to help learn about the disappearance of her lover, uses Colson’s sexual proclivities to extract important information from him about the structure of Gotham City’s corruption.
Fan Speculation About District Attorney Gil Colson
Before the release of The Batman, some fans speculated that Gil Colson was a new incarnation of Two-Face. But that rumor (as so many do) turned out to be false. Gil Colson was never intended to replace Harvey Dent in The Batman universe. Instead, Gil Colson is a brand new character created by Matt Reeves specifically for his own film.
Gil Colson and Batman: The Animated Series
Interestingly, there was a character in Batman: The Animated Series known as Gil Mason who is also a Gotham City District Attorney that happened to be corrupt. But they are not the same character. As it turned out, Gil Mason was working for Two-Face, framed commissioner Gordon and dates Gordon’s daughter Barbara. Barbara Gordon discovers Mason’s corruption and becomes Batgirl in order to save her father’s reputation.
Gil Colson and Watergate
It is no coincidence that “Colson” is also the name of President Nixon’s advisor who was a major player in the Watergate scandal. When it came to Gotham City corruption, director Matt Reeves took some inspiration from Watergate and the name “Mitchell” – as in Gotham City Mayor Don Mitchell Jr., is also important to both the Watergate Investigation and happens to be that of Gotham City’s Mayor in The Batman.
Who Is Colson Actor Peter Sarsgaard?
Peter Sarsgaard is an American actor who happens to be married to another Batman girlfriend, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who played Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight. Sarsgaard has done significant work in the worlds of both film and television. However, he has never been a superstar and has tended towards more serious and independent work than blockbuster tentpole fair – although The Batman is an obvious counterexample here.
Some of Sarsgaard’s most important works include roles in
- Dead Man Walking (1995)
- Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
- Shattered Glass (2003)
- Kinsey (2004)
- And most recently in the Hulu seris Dopesick (2021), along with Batman actor Michael Keaton.
Sarsgaard also has some prior DC on Film experience, having played Hector Hammond in Green Lantern (2011). Sarsgaard was nominated for a number of awards for his portrayal in Shattered Glass including a best-supporting actor win from the National Society of Film Critics and a best-supporting actor nomination from the Golden Globes.
Sarsgaard on Colson and The Batman
On his role as Gil Colson in The Batman, Sarsgaard has said:
“My part is very intense. On a big show like that my main concern was that I would have to do it 150 times—this intense scene and then that intense scene. My character is at nine out of ten for a lot of it. That was going through my head a lot, like ‘How do I maintain this?'”
On director Matt Reeves and the general production of the film, Sarsgaard has said:
“And honestly, with Matt Reeves, on The Batman, he can do it… It’s just such a spectacle. Even on set it’s kind of amazing to see the total professionalism of everyone in their jobs. It’s all the best people at everything. We were there when all the Academy Award stuff was happening and so many people on that movie were up for or received an Academy Award. It was kind of preposterous. You feel like you’re in great hands.”
On Robert Pattinson as The Batman, Sarsgaard added:
“He looks amazing. I have to say, he really, really does. The work he was doing was really cool. I really dug his Batman, and I can’t wait to see it [on-screen]. I think he’s a very interesting actor, and… I loved him in the Safdie brothers movie [Good Time] that he did. And I actually really liked this one he just did… the comedy movie with Willem Dafoe. The Lighthouse. He’s just an interesting, interesting actor.”
The Batman Spoilers
**This Section contains spoilers about The Batman**
The Batman and Selina Kyle are not the only ones with their eyes on Mr. Colson. For The Riddler (Paul Dano) too is drawn to Gil Colson’s role in Gotham City’s corruption. Determined to expose the lies behind Gotham City’s elite class, The Riddler brutally kidnaps Colson in Colson’s car after the district attorney leaves the Iceberg Lounge (and gets ditched by Selina) and straps a time bomb to his neck.
The next morning at the public funeral service for Mayor Don Mitchell Jr., The Riddler’s first victim, Colson plows his car into the City Hall building, sending terrified citizens fleeing, and exits the car with The Riddler’s bomb strapped around his neck. He explains that The Riddler forced him to do this and is then further forced to answer three riddles for The Riddler as The Batman and Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) attempt to save his life. It seems that members of the Sarsgaard-Gyllenhaal family have a penchant for being blown up by Gotham’s supervillains.
Go See The Batman
If you haven’t seen The Batman yet, what are you waiting for? This terrific movie is currently in theaters and has been performing well at the Box Office. The Batman is currently number one at the movies for the third week in a row, with a domestic total of about $300 million so far. The film has also surpassed $500 million globally and is definitely still counting.
If you enjoyed this article on The Batman character Gil Colson, check out my prior article on Gotham Mayor Don Mitchell Jr.