GOTHAM: Jerome Dies - Cameron Monaghan Interview : Give Me My Remote

GOTHAM Post-Mortem: Cameron Monaghan on Jerome’s Big Twist

October 6, 2015 by  

[Warning: this post contains major spoilers for the GOTHAM episode, “The Last Laugh.” Please do not read this post until you’ve seen the hour.]

Credit: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.

Credit: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.

GOTHAM’s Jerome got one heck of a twist ending in tonight’s new hour, “The Last Laugh.”

Though the promotion of the series had teased Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome as the Joker, it turned out, he was merely the genesis for the future Batman villain. Instead, Jerome was killed (betrayed by Theo Galavan, who wanted to prove how “good” he was to the city of Gotham), and the hour concluded with a bunch of unconnected people, mimicking his iconic cackle.

I spoke with Monaghan about going all in on Jerome’s madness, filming “The Last Laugh,” Jerome’s legacy, and more…

At what point did they tell you this is where Jerome would ultimately be heading?
Cameron Monaghan: They had called me up when I was working on another job before we started shooting this season, and they kind of had a pretty good idea of where it was going to go, and what they wanted from conversations in the writers’ room. And they told me, and they asked if there was anything I wanted, or any ideas or feelings I wanted to put forward. So we had the conversation, and I’m very thankful for that, because it gave me the ability to be able to plot out an arc for these three episodes for where I wanted it to go.

When you first got the job, were you campaigning to be the Joker? Or due to your other commitments, did you know he wouldn’t ultimately get there?
CM: I mean, I didn’t even know when I was shooting the first episode from last season if I was going to be back at all. I was so thankful to touch this character, even in a tertiary way, to be a part of the Batman mythos. So I was extremely excited when we had the conversation about me coming back for a second season. And to play around with this character even more, to take it to new heights. It was extremely exciting.

Jerome got to go all out during the Maniax arc. What was that filming experience like for you?
CM: It was both the most fun and the most nervous and completely exhausted at the end of that day as I’d ever been. [Laughs]

It’s so strange to be kind of a living cartoon character in some way. This is a heightened world, and then on top of that, Jerome is utterly insane. It feels strange and heightened in this already heightened context. So, it was a matter of playing around and feeling free, and being able to go off book and go weird places and do strange things. I can assure you, I did a lot of weird stuff, and most of it did not make it into the show. And it’s probably for the best. It was a lot of strange things. But thankfully, I was in an environment where I was able to do that; throw stuff out.

How was filming the magic/hostage sequence in “The Last Laugh”?
CM: It was great. It was really not easy. We had five days of shooting, and I was on a stage, in front of all these extras, who had no idea what we were doing or why we were doing it. I was having to perform and relish the spotlight in a way that generally I don’t really like. Even public speaking makes me nervous.

But I had to throw myself into this character who does relish the spotlight in this way, who wants to be in the limelight more than any other thing; [he] wants the whole world to be his stage. It was great.

A lot of it was finding the physicality of it. I had this big beard and that mask [in the beginning], you can’t see the face, which is obscured. I was trying to play with the voice and the body. And obviously from there, it only get stranger and crazier. I was trying to keep the stakes alive with these other great actors who were doing so much.

Do you think Jerome had any idea he was about to be betrayed? Or did he trust that he was in a new family at that point?
CM: I don’t know if trusted is necessarily the right word. I don’t know if Jerome necessarily understands the idea of trust. But I think he saw an opportunity to have fun, and he wants to enjoy himself more than any other thing. Of course, the thing he enjoys doing is hurting people. Specifically, having the opportunity to hurt Gordon.

He has a strange relationship with the Galavan character. It’s almost paternal. He’s almost a father figure in some strange way. So we have this symmetry within the episode because Jerome murders his father, and then his father figure murders him. Which I really enjoyed; it made a lot of sense to me.

Do you think Jerome was able to find any peace in his father’s death?
CM: I think he finds peace every time he destroys anything. I think…he’d be happy if everything was destroyed, specifically by his hand. I think it brought him a specific happiness. If that’s his peace, yes.

What do you feel Jerome’s legacy will be?
CM: I guess that remains to be seen. It feels like his influence, his personality, the idea that there’s something infectious about his lust [for mayhem], means in some way, it could burrow in the back of someone’s mind, and on one bad day, they ever snapped, it could kind of take over a new person. It’s almost as if he’s possessing someone else. To me, that idea kind of strikes me as something fun and exciting.

Looking back at your time on GOTHAM, was there anything you wanted to do that you didn’t get the chance to before your exit?
CM: There’s a multitude of really talented actors on the show I would have loved to worked with. Robin [Lord Taylor (Oswald/Penguin)] and Cory [Michael Smith (Nygma/future Riddler)] are doing great work with their characters. But, thankfully, I got to interact with them [during filming] and they’re all really lovely people. So at least I was able to get that.

The experience of working with who I did [work with] was an absolute pleasure.

Was there something about the GOTHAM experience that really stood out to you?
CM: [Crashing] Comic-Con was an absolute pleasure. [Laughs] I don’t know if there’s one thing. I look at that whole experience…when I was on set, I didn’t get to appreciate it at the time. You’re in character, you’re in your head, it’s all kinds of a blur. And at the end of the day, when I got to go home and lie in bed at night and not sleep, because I was excited, nervous, all these things — it really is exciting to have the opportunity to be a part of something that gives you that feeling. Anything that gives you that passion, that sense of excitement, is incredible.

Maybe that’s what I look back on most fondly: the fact that I was able to be swallowed up by something in that way. It was both extremely frightening and incredible.

What would you like to say to the fans of Jerome, as he, seemingly, has his curtain call on GOTHAM?
CM: Well, you know, it’s the comic book world, so never say never.

Hopefully you’ll see more from me that’s different in different places. And also, at the same time, the show has so much other exciting stuff to offer.

What did you think of GOTHAM’s Jerome twist?

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