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We catch Gotham’s Fish Mooney, Jada Pin­kett Smith.

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents - Words by Tara Bennett Por­trait by Christo­pher Polk

Given all the hype sur­round­ing Gotham’s use of clas­sic Bat­man comics char­ac­ters, it’s ironic that the com­pletely orig­i­nal char­ac­ter of Fish Mooney has gar­nered so much at­ten­tion and crit­i­cal heat. The blame lies squarely at the exquisitely high­heeled toes of Jada Pin­kett Smith who plays the am­bi­tious mob­stress with elec­tri­fy­ing gusto. Depend­ing on her mood, Mooney can be colour­ful and comedic, or edgy and driven. While shrewd, her im­pulses al­ways keep her on the precipice of dis­as­ter as we’ve seen in her ban­ish­ment via for­mer crime boss men­tor Don Carmine Fal­cone. She’s now on a slow climb to over­take his em­pire, a ca­reer tra­jec­tory that’s been wickedly en­joy­able to watch. SFX grilled her about what makes Fish such a player in that city called Gotham... Since Fish Mooney has the luxury of ex­ist­ing out­side of comics canon, how would you de­scribe her?

I see Fish Mooney as an ex­treme ver­sion of a woman; a woman who wears many faces. A woman who is strong, but yet afraid. This is a woman who, be­cause of her back­ground and be­cause of who she re­ally is, has taken it upon her­self to do a lot of cover- up. So, I think she has all of th­ese dif­fer­ent kinds of per­son­al­i­ties that she picks and chooses to use dur­ing cer­tain times. What are they?

You have this so­phis­ti­cated Fish, or what she con­sid­ers a so­phis­ti­cated woman sounds like and looks like. But then, there are times when she loses her cool and you see her orig­i­nal essence, which can get a lit­tle gut­ter. Then some­times when she has to be in­flu­en­tial with men, you’ll see her put on her lit­tle, sexy kit­ten voice. This is a woman who has cre­ated all of th­ese dif­fer­ent masks to fit dif­fer­ent times. Have you had a lot of say in how she’s evolved?

Yeah. I think one of the rea­sons why the role was so in­ter­est­ing to me was be­cause Bruno [ Heller, showrun­ner] re­ally wanted a part­ner in cre­at­ing this Fish Mooney char­ac­ter, and love fe­male gang­sters. just love them. I think that they’re re­ally in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters and in­ter­est­ing peo­ple. There’s one, Griselda Blanco [ the no­to­ri­ous Medellin Car­tel drug lord], who I had stud­ied, and I also love the char­ac­ter [ Norma Des­mond] from Sun­set Boule­vard. I was like, I would re­ally love to do a mix­ture of th­ese two women, be­cause the one thing I love about the su­pervil­lains, and Gotham, is that they’re al­ways so colour­ful. I re­ally wanted her to be grounded, but also have quite a flair. On- screen, you seem very com­fort­able in Fish’s skin. Did that char­ac­ter con­fi­dence come eas­ily?

Fun­nily enough, it re­ally feels like as soon as I put on that wig, Fish is there. I put on that wig and her gear, be­cause it’s so specif­i­cally her, and it’s an im­me­di­ate trans­for­ma­tion. The first day, as soon as I put on that wig and that dress, I just felt like, “Oh, there she is!” And ev­ery time I do it, she just ar­rives. It’s a re­ally beau­ti­ful thing to have as an actress. You just don’t have to work hard for it and that I’m grate­ful for. That wig, and those heels, and the nails re­ally con­jure her. Your char­ac­ter of­ten seems on the knife edge of be­ing arch. Are you al­ways aware of that?

As I was say­ing be­fore, I love how colour­ful Fish can be, but at the same time, you still want her to be re­lat­able. You know what I mean? You still want peo­ple to be able to look at this woman and while they might not nec­es­sar­ily know her story, be able to re­late to her. I think that in this world of Gotham, some­times find­ing where you need to be emo­tion­ally, or how grounded you need to be in a scene, or how far you can ac­tu­ally go with the colour some­times tends to be a bit chal­leng­ing. It’s a see- saw. It’s al­ways try­ing to find that bal­ance. What about the city of Gotham it­self. Is this an in­trigu­ing world to you as a per­son?

Oh, yes. Gotham is so mys­te­ri­ous. There’s this un­der­tone to Gotham, the idea that this city it­self is kind of this un­der­belly and it’s just like, what is go­ing in th­ese al­leys? What’s go­ing on in th­ese so- called high rises? What is hap­pen­ing? Why is it that this place has some of the most in­cred­i­ble vil­lains and then you have one of the most

beloved su­per­heroes? Fish and Cob­ble­pot have had quite the re­ver­sal this sea­son. How does Fish view his machi­na­tions?

I think she saw Pen­guin as one of her adopted or­phans; some­body that she took off the street and helped them be­come some­thing. So, I think that she felt deeply be­trayed by Pen­guin. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see where their re­la­tion­ship goes from here. What’s most sur­pris­ing about what’s to come for Fish by sea­son’s end? I think you’re go­ing to see a lot more colour from Fish in the next episodes to come. You’re go­ing to see a lot more vul­ner­a­bil­ity, a lot more of a hu­man side of Fish Mooney. You’ve seen the ruth­less, now you’re go­ing to see some heart..

“She’s an ex­treme ver­sion of a woman; she’s a woman who wears many faces”

Gotham is shown on Fox in the US, and in the UK on Chan­nel 5 on Mon­day nights.

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