Trans actor Tyler DiChiara / Publicity photo

Trans Actor Tyler DiChiara Feels at Home in ‘Gotham Knights’ TV Series

Tyler DiChiara was working his nine-to-five job, auditioning for acting gigs on the side, when he got word from his agent about a potential new gig. When he saw it was a DC project, it caught his attention.


“I don’t care what my character is, I want to do this,” he remembers saying to himself. The project was TV’s new series, “Gotham Knights,” and when he read the character description, he connected on a deep level with Cullen Row, who is — like DiChiara — transgender.


In the series, which was filmed in and around Atlanta, Bruce Wayne has been murdered, and his adopted son Hunter bands together with the children of Batman’s enemies, including Cullen (DiChiara) and his twin sister Harper (Fallon Smythe).


DiChiara was familiar with Batman in his various incarnations and feels in this multiverse “you’re a whole new world away from the normal villains you see in Gotham.”


He loved the idea of a Batman struggling.


“He is just a man who is taking on too much after figuring out who his parent’s murderer was,” DiChiara said. “He takes on such a bigger role than figuring out the murder. He takes on being Gotham City’s protector and I think he needs help, someone to lean on and a family to back him up. [The series] is diving down the Bat family a bit more.”

Cullen is definitely an underestimated character. In the comic books, he was largely a victim.


“He got his butt whooped all the time and was largely a background actor, never really part of the action,” DiChiara said.


In “Gotham Knights,” that all changes, though.


“The writers on the team did a great job of creating a character that is the same but much stronger onscreen,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I be fighting back? My sister is doing all of this, and I want to be part of it. I don’t want her going in alone, especially dealing with our past situations. We do things together. The fact that they gave Cullen a voice and backbone and thick skin is beautiful to see.”


Cullen and his twin sister have grown up in the slums of Gotham and have had to battle an abusive parent. Now, they’re living on the streets.


“Fallon and I talked and agreed our characters were two years on the street and had to learn to protect and fend for ourselves,” DiChiara said. “Anyone in Gotham will do what they have to do to keep their lives. We’ve been by each other’s side and she has protected me and now Cullen feels he wants to protect [her] and him. His arc is I want to show his sis he can. She recognizes his strength and can take her motherly sister vibe down a bit.”


On the streets, Cullen and Harper band together with Duela (Olivia Rose Keegan), the daughter of the Joker, trying to make the most of their horrible situation.


“These are just kids trying to clear their names, but we realize they can do more than just disappear, but can be there for Gotham,” DiChiara said. “We can do more. With what is going on in this world, I feel like the younger generation has a lot of cleaning up to do after the older generation. Batman has left such a big legacy to take on and [Hunter] knows he has a big shadow to fill in a sense. Knowing he has us to be there for him makes that job a little easier.”


DiChiara loved making the series here in Atlanta. It’s his highest-profile work ever.


“I loved every second of every day,” he said. “I am so blessed to be a part of this. My nerd butt lit up with excitement seeing [these sets].”


DiChiara has also been seen in the independent films, “Rush” and “No Ordinary Man,” as well as “The Virgin of Highland Park.”


The first person the actor ever saw on TV that he connected with was Laverne Cox on “Orange is the New Black.” He realized then who and what he was: “Laverne was a huge help in showing me I could be an actor,” he said.


His own transition was one done in stages. He told his mother he was bisexual, then told her he was a lesbian, and then eventually couldn’t hold it in and said he was a man. DiChiara knew she would be okay with it, but wanted to make sure she understood.


He’s now about six years into his transition and feels totally “at peace.” He feels representation in Hollywood is getting better, but is still far behind in a lot of ways.

“Gotham Knights” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CW.