HomeInterviewsGotham Mondays Interview Series: Robin Lord Taylor

Gotham Mondays Interview Series: Robin Lord Taylor

Written by Lauren Stern | Photos by Ryan Demarco and Martin Roe, FOX

Photo Credit: Ryan Demarco
Photo Credit: Ryan Demarco

When we were first introduced to Robin Lord Taylor’s character Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin) on Gotham a few weeks ago, the only word I could use to describe him was nightmareish. Though at times it seemed that me, the viewer, should have felt sorry for Cobblepot’s vulnerability, I was overwhelmed with his conniving, power-hungry, deranged behavior. In fact, I spent some of the night constantly thinking of his evil smirk, eery walk, and creepy eyes staring at me from the screen.

As the series carried out, I got used to Cobblepot, but I was almost always left skeeved out. So it was weird at first to see Taylor in person, adorably grinning from ear to ear in his light blue dress shirt and dark blue fish tie. Unlike Cobblepot, Taylor was incredibly sweet, humble, and just grateful for the opportunity to play such an iconic Batman character. As he spoke about the show and Penguin, you can hear and see the excitement behind every word. It was easy to forget that he plays such an unhinged character.

Photo Credit: Martin Roe/FOX
Photo Credit: Martin Roe/FOX

That being said, I’m excited to share with you the discussion Taylor had with myself and a table of journalists at New York Comic Con. In this short chat, he told us more about his character’s relationship with Fish Mooney, the parallels with Cobblepot and himself, and the most challenging scene he’s had to do so far on Gotham.

Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you would be Penguin?

No, I had no idea. I mean, you just want to work, you know what I mean? I’ve been an actor in New York City for years, in commercials, tiny plays, whatever it is. Whatever it takes, that’s what you do, and then lightning strikes and yeah, I still can’t believe I’m here, Hello! (laughs)

What do you enjoy most about the character?

Well, I would say the three dimensionality about the character is really my favorite thing. Only because he’s just not evil for the sake of being evil. They really try and show his motivations. Everything he does is for a reason, granted it’s for his own personal gain but it’s not gratuitous in any way. He’s constantly plotting, his whole M.O. is to endear himself to everybody and then use those relationships against everybody else so that he can emerge in between all of that and become the one in charge. That’s his ultimate goal.

Are we going to see him face off again with Fish?

Oh yes, well I mean I would just say we keep circling back into each others lives as we go on. Which is my favorite thing, it’s one of my favorite relationships that the Penguin has in the show because he’s learned everything about this underground world in Gotham City. He’s learned everything from her and there’s almost like a motherly kind of thing there. There is respect even though they are now adversaries. There is respect definitely on his part for her. It’s just a really fun dynamic to play. Every time I see that she’s on the call sheet and I’m in the call sheet, I’m like “Yeah!” It’s good, you know? She’s fabulous; she’s one of the best people to work with. She’s amazing.

So is there anything you’ve found you’re surprised to learn about yourself as you meld into this character?

Photo Credit: Martin Roe/FOX
Photo Credit: Martin Roe/FOX

Yeah I would say this has been eye opening. I would say there are weird parallels between Cobblepot’s journey and my own personal journey in the sense of, well not violence and all of that, no there’s no connect there, but just the fact that he’s coming up in his world and I’m finding myself also coming up in my world. They both worked at low status areas through their lives until this point and so it’s this weird parallel that I find myself in with the character. I identify with him in that way. It’s also a coming of age story (laughs). But in a way it’s like taking the next step and being an adult, and being legitimate, and getting that validation in the world that we all go through in our lives. It’s kind of happening to us both at the same time and it’s fun to play.

How long is your character back in Gotham?

Well he can’t stay away from Gotham for too long. It is his home and it’s all he knows. All of his ambition and personal drive is tied to the city. Like I said, everything he knows about coming up in the world was established there and was taught to him by Fish Mooney, Jada’s character.

What’s been the most challenging scene you’ve had to do so far?

It’s so fun that none of it is really hard hard, but I would say doing the belly flops into the water tank like 15 times in row in the pilot. That was probably it. I was freaking out that the nose was going to fall off and float in the water (laughs).

Catch Gotham every Monday, 8/7c on FOX. For our Gotham review series, click here.


As the Managing Editor, Lauren Stern is responsible for curating Pop-Break.com’s content. This includes managing the editorial staff, coordinating the content calendar, and assigning publishing dates and deadlines. She graduated Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism and Philosophy. She spends her free time searching for the best gluten-free food in the Tri-State area, playing with her dogs, and reading an insane amount of books. She tweets constantly about pop culture and social issues and hopes you follow her musings @laurenpstern.




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