Robin Lord Tay­lor

GT (UK) - - CONTENTS - WORDS si­mon but­ton

Grow­ing up in small town Amer­ica,

Robin Lord Tay­lor feared he might not sur­vive. He was gay, short but over­weight,

“I felt like an out­sider,” the Gotham star re­calls. “I was con­stantly afraid of be­ing bul­lied or harmed or teased. So in a way, I chose to dis­ap­pear by wearing large clothes and stuff. I ac­tively wanted to dis­ap­pear out of self-preser­va­tion.”

Act­ing proved to be a life-saver for the young Robin, whose home town of Shueyville in Iowa has a pop­u­la­tion of around 550, and whose only claim to cul­tural fame is – yes, you’ve guessed it – Robin Lord Tay­lor.

He stepped out on stage and re­mem­bers: “Through the act of em­body­ing an­other and not be afraid and not be judged. The­atre saved me in that way.”

Flash-for­ward to the present day and Robin is as out and proud as it’s pos­si­ble to be. He doesn’t pub­licly name his husband, but he’s hap­pily mar­ried and com­pletely open about his sex­u­al­ity. When we men­tion this is very much a sign of the times, the ac­tor – who’s 38 but looks a good ten years younger – grins. “It’s ab­so­lutely amaz­ing and I give all the credit to those who came be­fore,” he de­murs. “With­out them, it wouldn’t be pos­si­ble for me to have the ca­reer and the free­dom I have.”

Robin praises Neil Pa­trick Har­ris and Scott Thomp­son from The Kids in the Hall for help­ing pave the way for his gen­er­a­tion. “With gay man on tele­vi­sion who I knew was gay in real life,” he adds. “We’ve pro­gressed so much now that when you look back and think peo­ple had to hide who they are as ac­tors…”

He trails off, ex­as­per­ated, then con­tin­ues: “I mean, as ac­tors you’re not the fuck­ing per­son you’re play­ing any­way. And who gives a shit who you’re fuck­ing in your pri­vate life? You’re there to em­body other char­ac­ters, other lives, other peo­ple. Your sex­u­al­ity shouldn’t make any dif­fer­ence. So I feel in­cred­i­bly for­tu­nate that I can say I’m gay and I can hold my part­ner’s hand in pub­lic.”

Care­ful not to sound too preachy, Robin leads for­ward and rea­sons: “But that’s not to say it’s the same for ev­ery­body. It’s im­por­tant for me to be out for my­self, but ev­ery­one has their own jour­ney and their own way of pro­cess­ing their sex­u­al­ity – de­cid­ing what they want to tell peo­ple and what they don’t, when they feel safe and when they don’t. I would never, ever judge any­one on their own way of com­ing out. But for me it’s very im­por­tant for me to say it.”

Talk turns to Gotham, in which he’s quite bril­liant as tor­tured and twisted Oswald Cob­ble­pot aka the Pen­guin. Robin is a happy at­tendee at the Monte-Carlo TV Fes­ti­val when we meet him. And he’s, thank good­ness, noth­ing like the creepy and schem­ing su­pervil­lain, but he can re­late to the show’s out­sider theme. “It comes out of a place of help­less­ness and vul­ner­a­bil­ity, and what group of peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence that more than the LGBT+ com­mu­nity? Unfortunately it’s a very in­trin­sic part of be­ing gay.”

It’s also, he feels, why shows like Gotham Comic-Con and other fan events to show their sup­port. “They’re a safe place. They’re a place for free­dom of ex­pres­sion and there are many, many queer peo­ple who come through those too. They’re of­ten from small towns around the US and around the world, and this is a place where they can go and feel they can be who­ever they want to be. That’s a bril­liant part of the comic book world.”

and a lots of TV guest roles, but Gotham is his less se­vere in per­son; his jet-black hair is loosely styled, his shirt un­but­toned, his smile gen­uine rather than in­sid­i­ous.

When it comes to Cob­ble­pot, it’s the clothes that help maketh the man. “Through the whole process of putting on the cos­tume and the shoes, not to men­tion the make-up and hair, I’m step­ping into Oswald’s skin. I’m putting him on and that’s an amaz­ing tool to have as an ac­tor. If you’re wearing a three you, it changes the way you sit and it changes the way you in­ter­act with peo­ple, and also it in­forms a lot about the char­ac­ter.”

For the 5ft 7in Robin, the cos­tumes are an ab­so­lute dream. “I’m a chal­leng­ing size to say the least,” he laughs. “Be­ing of my stature, it’s time I’d worn a suit that was made just for me and it felt like an en­tirely new ex­pe­ri­ence.”

And Oswald, he feels, is some­thing of a snappy dresser, al­beit one with a skew­ered agenda. “With the ex­cep­tion of when he’s in a men­tal hos­pi­tal you don’t see Oswald loung­ing around in his py­ja­mas a lot. It tells you so much about what kind of a per­son he is. It’s like his ar­mour.”

Gotham: Sea­son Two is out now on Blu-ray and DVD, Sea­son Three pre­mieres 19 Septem­ber, @gotham, @robin­lord­tay­lor

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.