Erin Richards ('Gotham')
'Gotham's Batman EXPOSED ... kinda!'
Before there was Batman, there was GOTHAM.
Everyone knows the name Commissioner Gordon. He is one of the crime world's greatest foes, a man whose reputation is synonymous with law and order. But what is known of Gordon's story and his rise from rookie detective to Police Commissioner?
What did it take to navigate the multiple layers of corruption that secretly ruled Gotham City, the spawning ground of the world's most iconic villains? And what circumstances created them – the larger-than-life personas who would become Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker?
'GOTHAM' is an origin story of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told. From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller ('The Mentalist'), 'GOTHAM' follows one cop's rise through a dangerously corrupt city teetering on the edge of evil, and chronicles the birth of one of the most popular super heroes of our time.
'GOTHAM' stars: Ben McKenzie, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Zabryna Guevara, Erin Richards, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Mazouz, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, and amongst others, Victoria Cartagena.
Erin Richards plays Barbara Kean, the fiancee to Detective James Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie. Her last movie was as Krissi Dalton in the John Pogue-directed 'The Quiet Ones,' starring opposite Jared Harris, Olivia Cooke and Sam Claflin. Just prior to that she had starred alongside Sharlto Copley, Joseph Morgan and Thomas Kretschmann as Sharon in the independent film, 'Open Grave,' directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego.
Her television credits include the FOX comedy 'Breaking In,' the TV series 'Merlin,' and amongst others the original UK version of the long-running hit series, 'Being Human.'
Sitting down with the oh-so-lovely Welsh actress Erin Richards, after a quick pre-chat about tattoo's (she hasn't any, but would love a certain something - SEE THE CONTEST FOR A SIGNED GOTHAM POSTER AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS INTERVIEW PAGE!), I first wondered being that ‘Gotham’ is a story without a Batman, at this point, how much of a comic book nerd had she actually been before filming? “I have always been a fan of Batman, but not so much the comics, more the movies since I was a kid. I grew up with Val Kilmer in ‘Batman Forever’ and so I was always a huge fan of the premise of Batman. I really liked who he was. But comic book wise I used to really get into Asterix and Obelix which is much less well known. I used to go to my local library at home in Wales and sit for hours and hours reading the Asterix and Obelix comics. So I was a big fan of those and I just stuck with those. I knew what I liked,” she laughs.
Was the character of Barbara Kean the only role you tried out for? “Yes, that was it. I met Danny Cannon and Bruno Heller, our show creator and producer at the first rounds in LA during the pilot season and I was having a really good week. I was having some really good responses back from stuff I was auditioning for. So when I went in to read for this I just knew this was the pilot that I wanted to do. It was just so fabulous. I also got on with the guys really well. So we went through a series of auditions and they say that I was always the favorite, but I’m sure they say that to everyone,” she laughs again. “But I always felt an affinity with Barbara. Like I always felt I knew who she was straight away. So it felt natural.”
So, please tell us more about Barbara Kean and what to expect from her in the first season of ‘Gotham’? “Well, I’m playing James Gordon, although I always call him Jim, Jim Gordon’s fiancée, played by Ben McKenzie. Before he becomes the Police Commissioner and then becomes Gary Oldman,” she laughs. “Before he gets the tash, his big mustache,” she laughs a little more loudly this time.
“So, he’s tashless at the moment and he has a fiancée. So, he’s moved to Gotham and he’s new to the force and I’m a very strong, intelligent, affluent woman who knows Gotham. I own an art gallery in Gotham so I’m very much already in that world and he and I are very much in love. But because it’s Gotham it’s never easy. So it’s going to be a very troubled relationship. We’re sort of working through all our problems and the fact that Barbara has some dark secrets that are revealed throughout just adds to all that.”
So, as I myself am currently working as an extra on a high profile movie set as we speak, having to sign a strict non-disclosure agreement was the first thing they put in front of me. Is that the same for you also on ‘Gotham,’ perhaps? “Well, we didn’t really sign anything, but we don’t want to spoil it for anyone by revealing too much,” she smiles broadly.
The extended trailer is VERY exciting to watch, even for a non-fan boy, so as we’re not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, please give us something about Barbara Kean to look out for within the series! “I would look out for the people she interacts with.”
Anything else you wish to add? “OK, I have a big spoiler for you … I AM BATMAN,” she laughs loudly, her smile beaming mischievously like the bat signal itself!
So how many episodes will there be in the first season of ‘Gotham’? “There will be 16 and we’re currently on seven. I’ve just read seven and it is soooo good. You hear people say that and you’re like why you gotta say that, but actually I read through this episode and I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It was just so stunning.”
What was the time frame between when you had filmed the pilot and then you were given the green light for the series to happen? “We filmed the pilot in March and then we got the green light in June.”
And were you anxiously all awaiting after the pilot was shot or was there a knowing calm between you all? “There was a lot of hype about it so we all had a sense that it was going to go. The team that has been assembled and the people that are working on this are so good it would have been a travesty not to have gone ahead with it. I think they assembled everybody with the 99.9% belief that it was going to happen.”
Is it true that upon winning the part of Barbara Kean you first ran to the store and celebrated by buying dog food?! “No, and I don’t know where that came from! It’s crazy! ..... Oh, actually, you know, maybe I did,” she now stares upwards to rethink. “When I got the role I was living in living in LA and I was driving home on Vine Street and it was seven in the evening and I definitely thought I wasn’t going to get it. Because when they say you’ll hear today you usually hear by six, as that’s the sort of cut off point."
"So when it got to six I just thought I hadn’t gotten it, because what happens is if you don’t get it and the other person does they call that person at six and that person has all night to think abut it and accept and go through the contracts. They don’t want to tell you, the other person that you don’t have it because the other person might turn it down. So they want to pretend the next day that you were their first choice,” she slyly smiles.
“So it gets to six and I’m like I knew I didn’t get it and I was really gutted. And so I’m driving home on Vine Street, which is not the best street in LA, and at seven I get a phone call and it’s my agent. And my heart just jumped right up into my mouth and so I pulled over right alongside an old car scrap yard. So I picked up and asked what was going on and my agent said, ‘I’m so sorry, but it’s bad news,’ and I’m like Oh my God, oh my God. And then he went, ‘Ha, no it’s not. You got the part.’ And I’m just sat on the side of the road on Vine Street next to these old scrap metal cars screaming!”
“As for this dog food, I had to then pick up dog food on the way home after that,” she now nods, as the memory floods back. “So after that I was living with some mates who had a dog and I rang them and I told them I got the job, and they were like, ‘Oh my God, that’s brilliant … don’t forget the dog food,“ she hysterically laughs, head tilted back.
A great quote from the trailer is, “Fear doesn’t need conquering, fear tells you where the edge is.” So what do you yourself fear most in life? “Yeah, that’s sexy, right! For me it's failure,” she sighs deeply. “I have a big problem with failure, but I’m working through it. I’m going to an improv class at the moment in New York called The UCB, the Upright Citizens Brigade. And the whole reason I’m doing that is so that I can fail and not worry about it. I think it all comes from our parents, school and just everyone around you giving you this pressure to constantly succeed. And in the end you’ve just gotta be happy, haven’t you,” she smiles.
Absolutely. So how does a little girl from Penarth, Wales go on to star in ‘Being Human,’ ‘Misfits,’ ‘Breaking In’ and now ‘Gotham’? “God knows,” she laughs. “It’s hard as an actor as you spend a lot of time not working, but feeling like you’re working really hard, auditioning a lot, constantly sending out a lot of tapes. Because when I was in the UK I would be sending tapes to America. And there’s parts of your life where you’re trying so hard and there’s just nothing happening for you and you really just don’t understand why."
"And then you just happen to be somewhere at the right time and audition for the right person and it works out. I’ve always had this inner belief that it would always be okay, so I treat people nicely and I do the best that I can. And it’s worked out for me.”
Even though you are now filming ‘Gotham’ are you considering movie roles also, perhaps? “No, right now we’re completely focused on this, but I've taken some meetings for projects that might be something down the line. But at the moment we don’t really know what’s going on. We don’t know whether we’ll have a series two so it’s like a holding pattern right now. To be honest when I’m working I like focusing on the job that I’m doing.”
Tell me a little bit about ‘The Quiet Ones’ and what it was like working on that set? “Yeah, it was fantastic and really scarey. We were in a place called Uxbridge and then Oxford in the UK, as that’s where it’s set. But we did most of the filming in this derelict house in Uxbridge and it was quite freaky. So Sam Claflin was in it and Rory Fleck-byrne also and Rory wanted me, Sam, Jared Harris and Olivia Cooke to all sleep in the house one night. As like an experiment to enable us to get the vibe of the place. And we were like absolutely not, Rory! I’m so scared of ghosts anyway,” she nervously laughs.
So did any of you actually do it? “No, we told him he was crazy. It was all just too freaky. But we all got on well, and there was only really five of us in it so we had a really good vibe going on.”
And how was ‘Open Grave’ to work on? “I was in one costume the whole time,” she laughs. “It was lovely actually as I filmed those two films back-to-back. So I did Open Grave first as Sharon with one outfit, with varying degrees of mud in my hair and on my face the whole time and then I went straight into The Quiet Ones. I literally finished Open Grave on Friday and started The Quiet Ones on Monday and was put straight into all these original 70’s costumes. So I had just been filming for six weeks in Budapest in mud and then I was wearing the most beautiful of costumes,” she again laughs.
“So it was a great relief. But yeah it was a great film. Gonzalo López-Gallego was the director and he is a really fantastic director. He has such a beautiful eye and he’s so passionate about what he does. He edits as he goes. Like in his brain you can see him editing. I just think he’s gonna go up and up and up.”
Have you done the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yet?! “Yup, the cast of ‘Gotham’ did it,” she proudly beams. “We were nominated by Emily Bett Rickards from ‘Arrow’ who I met at Comic Con and we got on really well. And we’re now going to go snowboarding together! So she nominated us and then we nominated ‘The Following’ and ‘Sleep Hollow’.”
Watch the 'Gotham' cast ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video HERE!
Have they done it yet? “I don’t think they have. I haven’t seen anything.”
Are you a big Tweeter? “No. I do do it, I just think generally people wouldn’t be interested in what I have to say. So I only say things when I really mean them."
And finally, as we here at Exclusive Magazine LOVE penguins, do you have any love for them or even a story, perhaps? “Well, I found out two days ago that penguins give rocks to each other as a sign of love. Good, isn’t it. They push a little rock, which I think is meant to symbolize the egg for them to sit on. So yeah, the male will give the female penguin a rock!”
I did not know that, thank you. So, I guess the last question would be if you owned a penguin, what would you name it? “Colin,” she immediately answers, without even hesitating! "Colin the Penguin."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED 'GOTHAM' poster - one that is the huge theatrical size, not a mini - just answer this question about the lady herself: Going back to her tattoo choice, if Erin were to have one, which mammal would she like tattooed on her skin?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win an AUTOGRAPHED GOTHAM poster! Just send us an e:mail here before November 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: GOTHAM SIGNED POSTERs to: email@example.com