BRING COMICS TO LIFE

From Gotham to the Gold Coast, Cory Michael Smith’s Rid­dler is set to cause a stir as one of the star at­trac­tions at Broad­beach’s Su­panova

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - SALLY COATES

On his very first trip to Aus­tralia, Cory Michael Smith, best known for his role as The Rid­dler on Gotham, will be touch­ing down on the Gold Coast.

Dur­ing his visit he’s got surf­ing and scuba lessons sched­uled, along­side min­gling with thou­sands of comic book fans at Su­panova.

But Smith ad­mits be­fore he got The Rid­dler role, he’d never re­ally read comics at all.

“When I got the au­di­tion I read comics and checked out the an­i­ma­tions, but then once I got the role I le­git­i­mately soiled my pants,” he laughs.

“I wrote to DC Comics and said ‘Help me im­me­di­ately, I am your stu­dent,’ so they sent me this big box of ex­am­ples of The Rid­dler from dif­fer­ent decades, gen­er­a­tions, phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics so I ed­u­cated my­self and formed my own Rid­dler DNA.

“I wasn’t into comics as a kid. I have an older brother and nei­ther of us read comics, so it was cool to have an in­tro­duc­tion later in life.

“It re­ally ex­pe­dited my aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion and his­tory of bat­man that spans more than 75 years.”

Bat­man then and now is al­most un­recog­nis­able, with the early days look­ing pretty com­i­cal com­pared to re­cent hitech, big-bud­get pro­duc­tions.

Smith ab­sorbed all those dif­fer­ent facets of the char­ac­ter and pieced to­gether his to­tally orig­i­nal Gotham ver­sion – def­i­nitely not swathed in a bright green suit cov­ered in ques­tion marks, but still dan­ger­ous.

“The thing that most im­pacted the way I chose how to play my Rid­dler was the way they changed him dras­ti­cally since the 50s,” he says.

“He be­came way more ruth­less and vi­o­lent.

“He was a well-in­ten­tioned man – happy, giddy, and as­tute and they evolved him into a com­pli­cated, scarred, an­gry man that feels des­tined to wreak havoc.

“My favourite ver­sion is from The Rid­dle Fac­tory.

“He has the show­man­ship that I love in the Rid­dler, the fun and hu­mour, but he’s also kind of de­mented and threat­en­ing and dan­ger­ous.”

But just how dan­ger­ous is dan­ger­ous enough to still shock and en­ter­tain a mod­ern au­di­ence? It’s a con­cept Smith says he strug­gled with through­out the show.

“The Rid­dler we cre­ated for Gotham was pretty dark; the level of dan­ger and vi­o­lence had to be equiv­a­lent to the 21st cen­tury, which was nec­es­sary but un­for­tu­nate,” he says.

“I find it un­for­tu­nate that for our show to draw a re­ac­tion in mod­ern so­ci­ety it has to be as vi­o­lent as some of the things we see in the news­pa­pers.

“It makes me hy­per-aware of peo­ple’s ex­po­sure to vi­o­lence and what that means,

Cory Michael Smith, plays the Rid­dler on TV show Gotham.

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