THE RED BULLETIN: Why do people still love Batman?
CORY MICHEAL SMITH: Something that I am always interested in as a civilian are the powers to be in things. Why things happen. There is so much unknown. Who are the people in power? How do they make their decisions? What is going on behind the curtain? And I think Batman is kind of an exciting look into someone that is helping people and hurting people simultaneously. This vigilante behind the curtain is trying to save the city.
Gotham is quite a dark and at times, violent show. Does this mirror our own society?
While I do not condone violence myself, I think there is a propensity by some people to try to whitewash things in civilised society and to keep things really clean. I am personally a fan of not ignoring the reality that exists for many people outside of our more cushy societies. I think there is a lot of reality in our show and although it is heightened because of the characterisation, I don’t think that the themes that we are dealing with are foreign or exaggerated. Just look at what’s going on in places like Brazil at the moment and the corruption in major cities around the world.
The United States is going through what is – at least in my time – the most important general election. I think you will be seeing the impact of that in season 3. We will be confronting that issue in our show.
You play one of the most iconic Batman villains. How have you enjoyed seeing him develop?
It’s been great. He started so, so far from villain. We started with him being a genuinely well-intentioned young man that was seeking friendship and fun. He just wanted to play games with people and was consistently dismissed and disregarded. It is really satisfying to see him develop, it’s been a long road – about 44 hours of television in total – but it’s been great fun. We see him go full Riddler at the end of season 2 when he tries to frame Jim Gordon, but he doesn’t quite understand what his full skill set is. That is his weaponry, his mind.
What can we expect from him this season?
Well, he’s starting to claim his identity, he doesn’t quite have it yet. He’s still kind of waiting for graduation. I am looking forward to that. In terms of production, I think we really took some massive strides in season 2, certainly in terms of the format of the show. We had the same cinematographers coming back for season 3, who were just astonishing talents. So I think the show will look and feel very similar, but we are always fine-tuning. We brought on some new writers for season 3. We are learning where our strengths are and we are finding people that play into those.
Your character became friends with Penguin in season 2. Which other villains would you like him to befriend in the future?
Well, Penguin and Ed kind of had a falling out at the end of season 2, so I guess it will be a shock when he realises Oswald is back to his old ways. There will be this moment of reckoning I think, where we find out if Oswald will be graceful and kind to me and forgiving or will he seek retribution immediately, for rebuking him from staying in my flat? I mean it is terrifying: we could be the best of friends, we could be great allies, or we could be fighting each other destroying the city.