‘Gotham’ Season 3: Cory Michael Smith Interview on Ed Nygma’s Journey

Gotham Season 3 Episode 15 Cory Michael Smith

Cory Michael Smith in the “How The Riddler Got His Name” episode of ‘Gotham’ (Photo by Jeff Neumann/FOX)

Fox’s Gotham will return after a lengthy midseason three break with new episodes beginning on April 24, 2017. Episode 15 of season three is titled ‘How the Riddler Got His Name’ and will feature Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma/The Riddler. Smith was among the Gotham cast members who made the trek to WonderCon to promote the series and participate in a Q&A with fans. Smith also sat down for roundtable interviews, providing more insight into what we can expect for the fan-favorite character when season three returns.

What is motivating Edward Nygma as season three continues?

Cory Michael Smith: “Finding an identity, feeling significant, having worth, finding fun, entertaining himself, making people respect him. But I think the number one thing is figuring out who he is. He just doesn’t know and he’s like this amoeba that just can’t really figure out what’s going on. It almost feels like – and I like to think of this with him – it almost feels like there are lives that he could have had or should have had, and he missed it. So, now he’s like he’s got to just figure something out with the world and body that he’s in and with this mind, you know? I think when he lost Kristen it was like something was actually stolen from him. That was the only time he’s felt like a normal person and he ruined it.”

Can he get over it?

Cory Michael Smith: “I don’t know. Sure, you can get over stuff but I think it’s actually terrible when you lose someone that you love. He’s not someone who deals with feelings well. He says sometimes…I think he says it to Jim Gordon that this is fate. ‘This is my fate. I didn’t make this choice. This is happening to me and I have to just go with it.’”

And it doesn’t help that the next girlfriend had the same exact face. Is that going to be a theme?

Cory Michael Smith: (Laughing) “If we can get Chelsea Spack back a third time, I’m down.”

Is there something about Ed that you’ve really enjoyed playing this season?

Cory Michael Smith: “Yeah. I like that I’ve kind of made him explore sort of intimidation, intimidating people and harnessing power through a voice. I let him drop his voice a little bit and truly feel like a man. I like that he’s kind of leaned into being a violent person for a little bit. I don’t think that that necessarily has to stay or be something that defines him, but I think having a period of his life where like he’s really okay with being physically secure and protecting himself, I think that’s great. Toward the latter half – these last eight episodes – not even the end of the season…the end of the season’s a little rough…but in these first forays into Riddlerdom there’s a lot of fun. It’s the first time you see him having a lot of fun with riddles and his identity, especially in [season three episodes]15 and 17. I look forward to more of that in the future.”

This season has gone a little bit more dark but also a little more comic book-ish. How much fun is it to go that little bit further?

Cory Michael Smith: “I think it’s important. They’re called super-villains, at least some of us. I like it. These are supposed to be people who are larger than life. The greatest criminals in our history, Charles Manson – he’s a comic book character. That’s some crazy stuff; that’s over the top. It’s just a little more interesting.”

Ed is coming into his own. How does it feel for you to also come into your own on the show and be more involved in the storylines?

Cory Michael Smith: “It’s great. I’ve been very fortunate to now be a pillar of the show, especially from where we came. Danny [Cannon] said at the panel that they gave me chances. Certain actors when they started giving us opportunities they’re like, ‘Oh wow, there’s an actor in there! We can give him stuff.’ I would deliver something interesting at least and so they would give me something else. It just took them a while to key in to, ‘Oh, we can let this character have a bigger role in this city.’ It’s just been a kind of slow development that way.

It’s worked out wonderfully. I love the way the arc has gone for him. I like that it started kind of quiet. I feel very lucky.”

Since the other comic book shows have done it, will there be a musical episode of Gotham?

Cory Michael Smith: “If you want to see a musical episode of Gotham, you have to come to a karaoke party which we have often. Drew (Powell) and I…David (Mazouz) throws down. He likes to do rap.”


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