Erin Richards' career couldn't get any crazier. Best known for roles on "Being Human," "The Quiet Ones" and "Open Grave" -- projects which involve werewolves, vampires, ghosts, evil forces and zombies -- the British actress has discovered that for many characters, there's a fine line between reality and insanity. And though it didn't appear to be the case when she first appeared on "Gotham" as Det. James Gordon's- then-fiancee Barbara Kean, by the time Season 1 wrapped, Richards found herself exploring one of the darkest, most twisted minds on the pre-Batman based series.
Once an upstanding citizen from a wealthy family, Barbara snapped after being kidnapped by the serial killer Ogre, ultimately murdering her own parents. Sent away to Arkham Asylum, Kean quickly escaped the facitilty and has been hanging out with the equally twisted Theo and Tabitha Galvan, to whom she owes her current freedom. Now, Barbara's about to enjoy her dream wedding -- even if it means the death of her former betrothed.
Ahead of tonight's episode, "Tonight's the Night," Kean spoke with CBR News about Barbara's descent into madness, what she's learning from the Galavan siblings, and her ultimate goal for herself and Jim Gordon.
CBR News: Do you feel Barbara's encounter with the Ogre last season gave her a new lease on life?
Erin Richards: That encounter completely changed Barbara. It was such a turning point in her progression. Before that, she was obviously feeling like this trapped woman in this world where nobody was letting her breathe. She was with Jim, and he wasn't telling her what was going on in his life. She was with Montoya, but Montoya wasn't letting her in either. Barbara felt isolated. The Ogre comes at the perfect moment when she just wants somebody to see her -- and see the real her. That's what he did; he brought out this new dark character from inside her.
It's so much fun playing a villain. Even though I really enjoyed playing old Barbara, it was very important to see the progression and where she was and how isolated she felt. It was an important story to tell, and this new incarnation of her allows me to go into work and have the most fun.
This season, Barbara's been hanging out with Theo and Tabitha Galavan. How much is she exploiting them? Or are they using her?
I think it goes both ways. Even between Theo and Tabitha, they are exploiting each other, too. This is such an interesting dynamic. The three of them are very strong characters, and they all have their individual talents that they can use and be used for. Barbara is very intrigued by Tabitha and interested in learning from her the kind of skills that she has, the combative skills and maybe the more seductive skills.
The interesting thing about Barbara is if she had a superpower, it would be to tell everybody's weaknesses and use that knowledge against them. With Theo, she sees that he likes to be the big man, the one in charge, the one with the power, the one with the plan. She'll pretend to be his puppet for as long as she needs to in order to get what she wants. After that, she'll move on to the next power.
At one point, Barbara stops Helzinger from beating Jim Gordon. Where is Barbara's head and heart when it comes to her former fiance?
She still loves him, very much, but she wants to bring out the dark in Jim. I like to think of her as hatched out of an egg. Season 1 Barbara was trapped in this hard shell, and then she was cracked open by the Ogre. Now, she's like this new, dark being. She wants to bring everyone into this wonderful dark space that she's inhabiting, and having so much fun with, because it's completely free. She sees Jim is just pretending to be this good cop. She's like, "I know you. I know who you really are. You're the same as me. You have this dark place inside of you, so why don't you just let it come out? Come over to the dark side with me, where it's so much more fun!"
What makes tonight the right night, not only for a wedding, but to try and kill Jim?
All the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place. She's been waiting, and Galavan has been saying, "Don't worry. It's coming. It's coming." I think she's sort of on the verge of just lashing out at that point and doing something if Galavan hadn't said, "Okay, it's now." It came at the right time.
Barbara's gift includes messing with people's heads. In what ways does she push Jim's buttons?
She gets him and Lee in the same place as her. She brings both of them together into her madness. She's concocted this whole wedding situation, right from the beginning of the episode. She's going to get them both together -- and then try to bring out the dark Jim by using Lee as a means to do this. Some bullets fly, and Lee is in the middle of it. It's a dangerous situation for her.
This episode is very exciting, because this Barbara is completely unleashed. She's getting exactly what she wants, which is to get right to the heart of Jim. Plus, I get to wear a wedding dress, which is really fun. It's ridiculous, as well. It's such a Barbara-crazy wedding dress.
Barbara is ramping up the insanity factor?
Yes, she completely loses it. The thing about Barbara is, if you asked her if she was crazy, she wouldn't think she was. She's just a woman on a mission. From the outside, she looks pretty crazy. But she's free -- she's not crazy.
Lastly, what are your thoughts on redemption? Has Barbara crossed too many lines at this point to ever come back?
I think anybody can be redeemed. It would take a big event, which may happen at the end of this episode. There's a hint. She's gone pretty far into the dark side, so it would take a big thing to bring her back -- but anything is possible.
"Gotham" airs Monday nights 8 p.m. at on Fox.