Now in it’s 2nd season, the mega hit FOX series GOTHAM is back this fall with GOTHAM: RISE OF THE VILLAINS and the stakes are higher than ever, as Super Villains more ambitious and depraved are introduced to the millions of viewers who tune in each week.
Based upon the characters from DC Comics “Batman” the dark world of Gotham and it’s inhabitants is dissected beginning from Bruce Wayne’s (David Mazouz) teenage years and how the popular characters became who they would eventually become both good and evil.
Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and the ethically questionable veteran Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) remain at the forefront of the fight against crime in this dangerously corrupt city. While confronting Gotham’s most notorious criminals, Gordon’s moral compass begins to waver. But he is taken under the wing of Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis), a law-and-order zealot who is unafraid of making enemies. Meanwhile, Gordon continues his quest to gain the trust of the young Bruce Wayne, who is on a clear path towards the man he is destined to become, after discovering his father’s deepest secrets, with the help of his trusted butler and mentor, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) and newfound ally at Wayne Enterprises, Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk).
In the epic turf war that occurred at the conclusion of Season One, The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) battled his way into power over Gotham’s underworld. Heading into Season Two, GOTHAM will continue to follow the evolving stories of the city’s most malevolent villains: Edward Nygma/the RIDDLER (Cory Michael Smith), whose transformation from Gotham PD’s forensic expert to psychologically unhinged villain continues; Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), whose hard-knock existence propels her into a life of crime; and the increasingly unstable Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), who is out for Gordon and his girlfriend, Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin).
I recently had the opportunity to tour the New York set of GOTHAM (AWESOME) and sit down and chat with the future Catwoman, Camren Bicondova. Since the age of six, Camren has been acting, modeling and professionally dancing. Now 16, her dance career brought her to cable’s “Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew” as a featured member of 8 Flavahz. She also appeared in the dance-focused film “Battlefield America,” “Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards” and singer Ciara’s “Got Me Good” music video, as well as in a Coke RED Moves commercial.
Chaunce Hayden: Why are millions of television viewers so addicted to “Gotham”?
Camren Bicondova: I feel like it’s relatable because none of the villains have super powers. They use their own human ways to control things or to help people. I feel people can relate to that in many ways. I also feel the dark, evil look of Gotham is very intriguing.
The city of Gotham is a very gloomy place to live. It seems to always be raining or is that just me?
I’ve noticed that! Whenever we’re out on location, special effects people are always watering down the streets. They are always spraying things down. Nothing is ever dry, everything is wet. I find it really interesting that it’s always raining in Gotham! (Laughs)
The Batman from the 60’s was colorful with quirky story lines. But “Gotham” is all about evil, gloom and impending doom it seems. Even Batman as a boy seems in a sour mood.
Right. I love this show because I don’t think the show itself is dark, I think it’s more about Gotham that is dark. We all get to see how people within this dark city live. Although, there are moments of jokes and happiness.
It almost seems like the humor is put in place to relieve the intense build up of tension.
(Laughs) Right! Right! The laughs come at the most unexpected moments. Donal Logue’s character Harvey Bullock is always throwing jokes around. I love him for that. You need some light in a dark place.
“Gotham” is filmed in New York. I couldn’t imagine a series like this being made in Hollywood. Does being here in New York City add to the ambience?
Yeah! Whenever we are on location you can just feel the atmosphere and the vibe on New York. You feel very Gotham. I look out of my school window and I feel like I’m in Gotham. Even today it’s raining! You couldn’t film this anywhere else.
Many actresses, many great actresses have portrayed Catwoman over the years. Does that put pressure on you in anyway?
It is intimidating. I’m the seventh person to play Catwoman, but I’m the young version, so I’m the first teenager to play the role. It can be intimidating and nerve wrecking. But it’s also amazing. I just go with what the writers give me. I go with my instinct and I just kind of feel it out. I feel comfortable in my own body from my dance background, so that helps. I just go with it. You know what I mean?
Have you watched the other versions of Catwoman throughout the years?
I did watch the Catwoman episodes from the 60’s series of Batman. I also read comic books and watched as many movies as I could. Julie Newmar was the first Catwoman and I got to meet her recently at Comic Con. It was amazing.
Did she give you any tips?
No! But she said she loved the show.
Who was your favorite Catwoman?
I would have to say Julie Newmar, but I also got to meet Lee Meriwether at Comic Con as well. That was pretty cool to. There was one scene that sticks out for me where Batman says to Julie Newmar, “You’re a beautiful woman, Catwoman.” And she leaps back over the couch and says, “Ugh, I know.” (Laughs) I thought that was such a great scene! It was just the slightest cat like movement that made the line work.
So do you study cats and their movements?
Yes, definitely! I have two cats at home. When I auditioned I only had one cat, so when I auditioned I observed him constantly. He’s very lovey dovey with me. But for three days straight I would not leave him alone. He was so annoyed by me.
So how do you become a cat?
It’s the little things. I have a specific walk that I use when she’s comfortable or not comfortable depending on her mood.
Batman and Catwoman have always had a back and fourth relationship. Now David Mazouz plays a teenage Batman. You guys are young, but are there still that hint of romance between the two of you?
I think so. My character has always felt a connection to Bruce [Wayne] because they are both orphans and she doesn’t really relate to people very well. So to see someone with the same issues that she has is very comforting to her. But where the conflict comes in is that they both have different perspectives of what is right and what is wrong. He’s been raised in this very wealthy and kind family, while she’s been raised all alone on the mean streets of Gotham. So she will do the wrong thing but for the right reasons. Whereas he won’t do the wrong thing because it’s wrong. That’s always creates a bump in the road with their relationship and I think that will go on forever.
You’ve been described as Hollywood’s next wave of actresses. How does that make you feel?
It’s amazing! Wow. I’m very grateful that’s for sure. This is my first TV show and my first big job and I’m working besides all these A-list actors and actresses. It’s so huge. So to be considered that way it’s something that I’m very grateful for.
You started out as a dancer. Can you still act and dance or does dancing take a back seat these days?
I’m still doing both, but I’m really into acting at the moment. But I will always be a dancer. I grew up dancing. However, I’m really loving acting right now. It’s therapy for me. Dance is how I exercise and keep my agility. I think dancers make the best actors because you don’t need to hear them talk to see how they are feeling. You just feel their presence and you see how they’re feeling. The hardest part of acting is trying to get an emotion across without saying anything.
Will we ever see Catwoman dance?
(Shouts) I think that would be cool!
The cat dance.
Yeah! (Laughs) Yeah!
Social media is so important today when it comes to creating a buzz and getting the word out to the public. How much importance do you put on social media when it comes to promoting yourself as well as “Gotham”?
It definitely helps in promoting “Gotham”. Not a lot of people are out these days. People are always on their phone or on Twitter and Instagram. So of course it’s very helpful to use those forums to get the word out. That’s where you’ll find everybody these days! So it’s very important. I know it’s very important to me.
Do you ever Google yourself to see what people are saying about you?
I do look myself up. Just to see how I’m doing during interviews and how I sound because sometimes I don’t realize how much of a ditz I sound like.
You are doing just fine… For a ditz. Kidding!
(Laughs) No, really! Sometimes I really do sound like a ditz! So I check to see what I can fix and what information has been released about my character so I know what I can talk about without giving anything away.
You live and go to school in New York. Do you get recognized on the street?
More now. Now that the show is coming out in about two weeks, people are starting to know who I am. The Uber driver who drove me here knew who I was! That’s insane! I’m used to wearing just sweat pants and a baggy T-shirt when I go out. Now I have to stop and think what I look like before I hit the street. I have to look presentable! (Laughs)
Finally, what would you say to anyone who is planning on dressing up as your “Gotham” character this Halloween?
Just rip up a dark pair of jeans and get some goggles and… (Laughs) I don’t know! Wear a lot of layers I guess. I like to wear layers.
What will you be dressing as?
Hmmmm… I want to be an inflatable Sumo wrestler! You know the kind you knock over and they bounce right back up? That’s what I want to be!