Ever since “Jerome” was introduced on Fox’s Gotham in “The Blind Fortune Teller,” everyone’s pretty much been assuming that he was an early version of the Clown Prince of Crime, aka the Joker — especially since we’ve been introduced to a plethora of pre-Batman-days characters on the comic-book TV series ... and, well, because showrunner Bruno Heller said so.
In a recent interview with Comic Book Resources, actor Cameron Monaghan confirmed it, and revealed some new details about how he approached the character, and how he learned to master that iconic laugh. When asked what his inspiration for the role was, the actor revealed his main source was almost exclusively the comics:
“I read pretty much every comic I could get a hold of. There were the obvious ones, like "The Dark Knight Returns" or "The Killing Joke," and some older ones like "The Laughing Fish." I looked at pretty much every writer you can think of, from Grant Morrison to Brian Azzarello. I was trying to understand how the Joker is portrayed throughout the media.”
Monaghan also explained what his take on the extremely disturbed character was:
“I very much adore the sadistic nature of him. There's his ability to remain cool and calm and cunning. He enjoys making other people squirm, which I think is fascinating. He enjoys pressing buttons a little bit. I only had that one scene to really show off, so I wanted to take advantage of it as much as I could. I was playing with the character's intelligence a little bit there. I was lucky to get that scene where we get the turn, where we get that last punch line, where it's revealed he's been scheming all along. That moment is great. Like any actor, I was relying on the script to carry me, and I think it works.”
If you’ve been wondering how he got that maniacal laugh down pat, the actor revealed that it was all about practice, practice, and ... practice:
“I'm surprised my neighbors didn't call the cops on me because I spent those weeks constantly laughing and staring at myself in the mirror. Even if I was driving in my car to get food or something, I was repeating the monologue. I allowed myself to be a crazy person.”
That's just crazy, right? Oh, to have been a fly on the wall. So, are there any plans to bring the character back on Gotham? Well, it looks like we may be in luck and that we'll get to see more of DC's most iconic villain down the line:
“When I was on set, we discussed the possibly of me coming back in the second or third season. Nothing is set in stone yet. I think the producers have a firm plan for what they want to do, but I was not privy to it while I was filming. I would love to come back and do some more.
“Relating it to Jerome, I'm so curious to see where they take him. Batman is so integral to the Joker's origin, and we don't have that right now. However, Jerome is a person who existed in some capacity before that. There's no reason he couldn't have been that person before all of this happened. It will also be interesting to see if they want to go the route of the vat of chemicals. In Christopher Nolan's films, he was a man who chose to simply put on make-up. Perhaps that's even scarier, since he made the decision to be this creature.”
How did you like Cameron Monaghan’s performance as an early version of the Joker on Gotham? What did you think of this controversial origin story?