Robin Lord Taylor Talks ‘Gotham,’ The Penguin, and Season One’s Finale

Robin Lord Taylor Interview - Gotham's Penguin
Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot in ‘Gotham’ (Photo © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc)

Gotham fans, Robin Lord Taylor is just as geeked out about playing Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin as viewers are over the character’s appearance in the Batman prequel. In fact, it was tough for Taylor to contain himself and not give away major season one spoilers that you could tell were close to being disclosed in our enthusiastic interview. Taylor was one of the Gotham cast members who made the trip to the 2015 WonderCon to chat about the show and in addition to answering questions from fans during Gotham‘s panel, he sat down for roundtable interviews with the press.

Asked what it feels like to physically transform into The Penguin, Taylor replied, “It’s amazing. I’ve never played a character before where the physical transformation has been so intense. Like, generally I play characters who look more like me – more or less. And then this is such a departure from how I look normally, I hope. The most brilliant thing is that it really helps me as an actor get into the skin of the character because the actual physical transformation, going through makeup for 45 minutes to an hour a day, going through hair for another like 30 minutes to an hour, and then on top of that the costumes that have been made for me…it’s putting the pieces on and then putting on the shoes. I have the bottle cap in the shoe to keep the limp in my body and in my mind. It’s an amazing tool to have as an actor because it really does help me get into his skin. And then when we’re done and wrapped, the makeup comes off, wash my hair, take the stuff off, and then it’s just literally like putting him away and then bringing him back. It’s actually kind of therapeutic in a way. It’s a really interesting transition. It’s one of my favorite things about playing the character, actually.”

As for the journey The Penguin’s going on in relation to Fish Mooney (played by Jada Pinkett Smith), Taylor said, “As we’ve seen through the whole season he’s gradually bit by bit, he’s been asserting himself as his own man. His end goal is to not to have to answer to anybody, to be his own boss. And we’ve seen that in the pilot when he goes behind Fish’s back, and they have their thing. We see it when he aligns himself with Maroni. He goes behind his back and he’s working with Falcone the whole time. What we’ll see in the final four is the final push. He set some things in motion that affect everyone in the show. Like, everyone in the show will be affected by what he does in the last four episodes. It really is his final assertion to being his own boss, to being his own man.”

“It’s crazy! I don’t know what else to say,” added Taylor. “I can’t get too specific. And Fish is a huge part of that. He also really brings to the forefront, hopefully this is what people will see, is the complexity of their relationship. I know that they are arch-enemies, but at the same time he has affection for her because he wouldn’t be where he is if it wasn’t for her. He learned everything about Gotham City, about the underbelly of Gotham City, he learned it from her – all of the rules and all of that. So, he does have reverence for her and he really does care about her. So you’ll see there’s conflict there that is also going to be illuminated in the last four episodes.”

Asked if there are characters who hasn’t spent a lot of time with in the first part of season one that he might get to by the time the season’s finished, Taylor had to quickly figure out what exactly he could say without getting in trouble from his Gotham bosses. “They give us a list of things not to say specifically! But, one thing I will say is there’s one character in particular that he is introduced to. There are introductions; there’s no real intense relationships because he has so many loose ends that he has to tie up with other characters that we’ve already established. So, but…that’s all I can say.”

However, although he was doing his best to not say what he wasn’t supposed to, Taylor finished up the interview by confessing he really wants more scenes with Ed Nygma (played by Cory Michael Smith). “The dynamic between Oswald and Edward is one of my favorite ones that I’ve played so far in the show. They’re both so strange. They’re both coming at it from such different directions, but I think there’s an electricity there. But, that’s another thing that you’ll see is Edward…he’s changing.”

– More Gotham interviews: Ben McKenzie / John Stephens / Cory Michael Smith

Watch the full interview with Robin Lord Taylor:

-By Rebecca Murray

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