Clare Foley Plants Seeds for Poison Ivy on "Gotham"

Bruce Wayne really should sympathize with Ivy Pepper.

The murder of young Master Wayne's parents will eventually drive the billionaire to create his avenging alter-ego, Batman. Similarly, the death of Ivy's father at the hands of the police scarred her for life, and as a result, the unassuming little red head will someday become one of the Caped Crusader's deadliest foes, Poison Ivy.

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For now though, the TV series "Gotham" is exploring Ivy's formative years, and the disturbing events leading up to her villainous transformation. After appearing in the pilot, tonight's episode, "Lovecraft" -- which also serves as the series' mid-season finale -- marks Ivy's return to the ensemble drama, and we spoke with Foley about Ivy's green thumb, her growing rage and the connection with Selina Kyle.

CBR News: Ivy is one of the most iconic Batman villains around -- what can you tell us about the audition process for the role?

Clare Foley: It was pretty secretive. I just got one quick scene. It did not have the name Ivy. It just had the name Sally. It said "Untitled project." I had no idea what the role was for --I had no idea even what the project was. We did a little bit of improv for the audition, then they said, "Okay, she booked the project. It's for the show, 'Gotham.'"

How was this version of Ivy described to you?

The description just said, "The young Poison Ivy, Ivy Pepper." It gave a little bit of background on what was happening in the episode, like she's the daughter of Mario Pepper.

What kind of research did you do on the character?

It's very interesting to look back at certain comics and cartoons and see how they described her before all of this. There is actually a pretty good amount of information on her. I did a little bit of research; I read the first comic Poison Ivy was in. I've always watched different Batman movies, shows and cartoons, too.

How has Ivy's family life and environment shaped her?

Well, I can't say too much, but you see the anger build in Ivy in that first episode. You see that anger stick with her throughout the series. As she becomes Poison Ivy, that anger towards the Waynes and the police is always with her.

Where do we find Ivy in tonight's episode?

She's lurking around on the streets now that her father is gone.

Bruce and Ivy bump into each other. What is her impression of him?

Ivy is a little bit upset with him. She's secretly mad at Bruce because it was his parents' fault that her father died.

How would you describe Ivy's relationship with Selina?

They just know each other because they are both homeless children. All the children on the street have a connection to each other. There are a lot of different backstories saying they've known each other for a while. They are the same age, they live on street, so I think they have that connection there.

At one point, Selina tells Ivy to calm down. What is Ivy like when she gets angry?

I am interested to see! You kind of get that a little bit in the pilot, when Ben McKenzie's James Gordon comes back to see the shoes. She might get very upset, so I'm interested to see what she does.

Is Ivy's obsession with plant life going to be explored further in future episodes?

That would definitely be interesting to see. It shows a bit of that in the pilot where she's watering her plants. Maybe it's because she is named Ivy. It would be interesting to see where that really came from.

Since you're still in school, how do your classmates respond to you being a part of "Gotham?"

My classmates think it's really cool that I'm on the show, but they know I can't tell them anything. A few people will try and be like, "Oh, what's happening?" I just tell them to watch the next episode. They come in the next day and go, "That's so crazy!"

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