Jerome is back in full effect on tonight's winter finale of Gotham, and while they may not officially call him "the Joker," there's little question now that the character, portrayed by actor Cameron Monaghan to great critical and fan acclaim, is about as Joker as you can get without carrying the name. In the winter finale, fans will see a Jerome with influences from many actors that have played the Joker before, but also see him truly come into his own as a character. And as far as those influences go, they're more subconcious than anything.
"There was never a moment where I was intentionally cribbing from another actor," Monaghan told ComicBook.com "More so, I grew up watching other actors design the character of The Joker to me and obviously the part was paying tribute to The Joker, and so I wanted to you know perform it to the best of my abilities in a way that it seemed to be paying homage to the character."
The actor found that as he continued to get to know the character, the writers did, as well, and got to know his portrayal. That all resulted in Jerome as a character being "able to find his own characterization in the scripts and also through my performance."
The actor told us that this season saw him really break away from any heavy influence in the writing, and that allowed him more freedom and connection in his acting.
"We get to do a lot of stuff with him that has never really been done with a live action version of the Joker before, so we were able to have some real fun with him this time around."
Still, Monaghan knows that the Jokers that came before him inform what everyone thinks of the character, and there is one that he thinks influences him more than others.
"If anyone was to inspire my performance, it would be Mark Hamill's animated Joker, which I think I might have mentioned to you before but his portrayal was the only one that I felt comfortable at all taking anything from, and that's because there was going to be such a difference in translating from animated to live action," Monaghan said. Other than Hamill and any subconcious influences, "the majority of my inspiration, when possible, came from the comic books themselves."
We don't want to spoil anything, but come back tonight after the episode has aired on the East Coast for a specific list of comics that influence this episode and arc itself, though Monaghan mentioned he has a stack of "well over fifty" trade paperbacks and hardcovers centered on the Joker that he reads regularly while preparing and shooting.
Gotham airs a winter finale episode tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT before going on an extended hiatus until April 24, 2017. 24: Legacy will air in its timeslot for that three month period.
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