Bruno Heller (born 13 January 1960) is an English screenwriter, producer and director. He is known for creating the HBO television series Rome and CBS television series The Mentalist. He has produced the TV series Gotham, based on the Batman franchise, for FOX and Pennyworth for Epix.
|Occupation||Screenwriter, producer, director|
|Style||Urban drama |
|Spouse(s)||Miranda Phillips Cowley (m. 1993)|
|Relatives||Cordelia Edvardson (aunt)|
|Family||Zoë Heller (sister)|
Early life and familyEdit
Heller's father, Lukas, was a German Jewish emigre and screenwriter (Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?). His mother, Caroline (née Carter), was an English Quaker and instrumental in keeping up the Labour Party's "Save London Transport Campaign". He has three siblings, including Zoë, a columnist and writer who has published three novels, including Notes on a Scandal.
Heller was a union soundman working in England in the 1980s when film sets were rigidly hierarchical. While working as a soundman on a series of films about England's infamous Miners' Strike, Heller met well-regarded Portuguese director Eduardo Guedes. The two collaborated on what would become Heller's first writing credit, the 1994 film Pax starring Amanda Plummer. ("Pax" is the Latin word for "Peace" used in the Portuguese epitaphs on gravestones.)
He left England for New York, where he met his wife, Miranda Cowley, granddaughter of the American poet and critic Malcolm Cowley, in a disco. After five years in the city, Heller moved to Los Angeles, with his family where he worked on various television dramas including two projects for the USA Network: Touching Evil and The Huntress. But his breakthrough came with Rome, which he co-created. After the cancellation of that series for its high costs, Heller created The Mentalist. In September 2012, Heller sold a legal drama named The Advocates to CBS, which was written and executive produced by him, but the project finally did not go to series.[clarification needed] In 2014 Heller created a TV series based on the Batman character James Gordon called Gotham for Fox Broadcasting Company.
Along with John Milius and William J. MacDonald, Heller created the television series Rome, co-produced by HBO and the BBC. Heller was also an executive producer and head writer, penning a total of 11 episodes for the series, including the pilot episode and the series finale.
The series primarily chronicles the lives and deeds of the rich, powerful, and "historically significant", yet it also focuses on the lives, fortunes, families, and acquaintances of two common men: Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, two Roman soldiers mentioned historically in Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico. The fictionalised Vorenus and Pullo manage to witness and often influence many of the historical events presented in the series.
Rome episodes written by HellerEdit
- "The Stolen Eagle" (pilot)
- "How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic"
- "An Owl in a Thornbush"
- "Stealing from Saturn"
- "The Ram has Touched the Wall"
- "Egeria" (with John Milius)
- "The Spoils"
- "Kalends of February" (season finale)
In 2008, Heller created the CBS television series, The Mentalist, with his production company Primrose Hill Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. On 7 January 2009, the show won the award for "Favorite New TV Drama" at the 35th People's Choice Awards and since then, the star, Simon Baker has received several nominations for his portrayal of the lead character, Patrick Jane. Heller served as showrunner from season 1 to season 6. He departed the show before season 7 to focus on Gotham.
The Mentalist follows Patrick Jane, an independent consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) based in Sacramento, California. He has a remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his amazing skills of observation. Jane also makes frequent use of his mentalist abilities and his semi-celebrity past as a psychic medium using paranormal abilities he now admits he feigned. He abandoned his pretense out of remorse when his attention-seeking behaviour attracted the attention of a serial killer named Red John who killed his wife and daughter.
The Mentalist episodes written by HellerEdit
- "Red Hair and Silver Tape"
- "Red John's Friends"
- "Carnelian, Inc."
- "Red John's Footsteps" (season finale)
- "White Orchids" (series finale) with Tom Szentgyorgyi & Jordan Harper
In 2013, Fox won a bidding war for a pilot set in Gotham written by Heller.
As originally conceived, the series serves as a straightforward story of Gordon's early days on the Gotham City Police force. The show includes not only the Bruce Wayne character, but also the origin stories of several Batman villains, including the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, Two-Face, Poison Ivy and Scarecrow. The first season consisted of 22 episodes after being extended from sixteen.
The show premiered on 22 September 2014.
Gotham episodes written by HellerEdit
- "Selina Kyle"
- "Penguin's Umbrella"
- "The Blind Fortune Teller"
- "All Happy Families Are Alike" (season finale)
In 2018/19 Heller created Pennyworth. This series focuses on the early years of Alfred Pennyworth, friend and butler to Bruce Wayne/Batman. The series is not a Gotham spinoff, but a brand new story looking at Alfred's origins as a former British soldier who sets up a private security firm and goes to work with Thomas Wayne — Batman’s father — in 1960s England. Pennyworth is set in a completely different universe despite hailing from Heller and producers Warner Horizon. Heller penned the script for the pilot episode and serves as executive producer. The drama marked a reunion for Heller with Gotham's Danny Cannon, who exec produces and directed the pilot as he did with the Fox Batman origin story. 
In 1993, Heller married Miranda Phillips Cowley, then a senior vice president at HBO. The couple has two children, including Miranda Cowley Heller, who is the New York Times #1 bestselling author of the novel, The Paper Palace.
- "WEDDINGS; Miranda Cowley And Bruno Heller". The New York Times. 20 June 1993. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (11 September 2012). "Bruno Heller Legal Drama Gets Pilot Production Commitment At CBS". Deadline.com. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
- "'Gotham' Boss Sets New Batman Prequel Series at Epix (Exclusive)". 16 May 2018.
- Bernhard, Lisa. "'Mentalist' Is a Hit, but Who Can See Into Its Future?", The New York Times, 28 November 2008
- Bruno Heller at IMDb