FOX's comic book show Gotham highlights many young and burgeoning versions of iconic Batman characters that fans know and love. One of their most popular characters is Jerome (played by Cameron Monaghan), who appears to be playing the Joker in everything but name. As with any actor who takes u the mantle of the Clown Prince of Crime, Jerome's performance can be examined through the lenses of the many great actors who have left their stamp on the role forever and changed the way audiences think about the Clown Prince of Crime.
In a recent interview, Monaghan addressed how prevalent other actors' influences have been on his work on Gotham and wants to assure audiences that any aping of style or portrayal was subconscious, rather than intentional. At the same time though, he emphasized that there's one particular Joker who has influences his performance as the diabolical Jerome the most.
Speaking in an interview with Comic Book, Monaghan offered the following with respect to how his Joker performance on Gotham compares to those of Joker actors past:
"There was never a moment where I was intentionally cribbing from another actor. More so, I grew up watching other actors design the character of The Joker to me and obviously the part was paying tribute to The Joker, and so I wanted to you know perform it to the best of my abilities in a way that it seemed to be paying homage to the character."
Monaghan did admit that past Joker performances may have made their way into the Gotham writers' room and onto the TV show's script pages (by way of Jerome's dialogue), but that in Gotham's current season he has been allowed more freedom as an actor and brought more of his individual sensibilities to the part:
"We get to do a lot of stuff with him that has never really been done with a live action version of the Joker before, so we were able to have some real fun with him this time around."
Monaghan is willing to allow that one performer's work in particular has informed what he, himself, brings to Gotham's screen:
"If anyone was to inspire my performance, it would be Mark Hamill's animated Joker, which I think I might have mentioned to you before but his portrayal was the only one that I felt comfortable at all taking anything from, and that's because there was going to be such a difference in translating from animated to live action. The majority of my inspiration, when possible, came from the comic books themselves."
It is refreshing to see that Monaghan understands the weight of fan expectation that rests on his shoulders in the role of Jerome and that it is as important to him to create something special and unique to Gotham as Mark Hamill's Joker was to Batman: the Animated Series. It is, perhaps, this level of consideration that has made Jerome such a standout amongst a cast of characters that DC Comics fans are familiar with and have loved for so long. With the freedom of performance he alludes to there is the possibility for the second half of Gotham season 3 to really go crazy.
Conversely, with all the obvious parallels between Jerome and the infamous Joker, it begs the question - when is Gotham going to give him the name? Will audiences ever get to see the Clown Prince of Crime live up to his self-imposed title? How far are they going to push Jerome by the end of this season? Monaghan also mentioned that he had "well over 50" trade paperback and hardback books that he referred to for inspiration during filming, leaving fans to wonder if their preferred Joker portrayal will be making it to the small screen in coming episodes.
Gotham's mid-season finale airs tonight 8pm on FOX. It resumes airing on April 24.
Source: Comic Book