Paul Reubens Says Gotham is Extremely Gratifying, Sometimes Challenging


Paul Reubens joined the cast of Gotham last week, coming in as Oswald "the Penguin" Cobblepot's long lost father. The actor played the same role in 1992's Batman Returns, a comeback that wasn't lost on him or his new castmates.

"It was an incredible experience," Reubens told in an interview. "It was an incredible situation to jump into. People were freaking out that I was there, that I'd played the role before and had the connection to the Tim Burton Batman universe. It was an amazing thing to come into." The actor said the cast was a bit part of that, and that he "felt an enormous amount of love and respect, and people could not have been nicer," and came away from it with "a lot of new friends."

The actor came into the show directly via actor Robin Lord Taylor, who portrays the Penguin, thanks to their mutual friend Carol Kane, who played Oswald's mother on the show. Taylor told us the story a couple of weeks ago, and Reubens told his side of it.

"I was in town working on The Blacklist, and I called Carol to see if she was available to have lunch. She said, 'I'd love to bring this lovely young man I'm working with that I want you to meet!' So we met, and had lunch, and halfway through the lunch, I realized they had a little bit of an ulterior motive," Reubens said with a laugh. "They mentioned to me that his father was going to come on soon, and was there any scenario where I'd want to do it, and I said yes immediately! I love Carol – I thought I was going to get to work with her. And yeah, I knew I liked Robin right away, and right after that, I watched some of the episodes of the show, saw some of his stuff on the show, and it was just this super exciting, out-of-left-field thing to happen for me."

Overall, coming into a show a season and a half in and having to have an instant bond with another character was "extremely gratifying, sometimes challenging," though he said Gotham "wasn't as challenging" as other projects. Reubens was very complimentary to producer Danny Cannon, his directors, co-stars, and even the crew in making it "an incredible experience."

"I was on a set that, everytime I looked off the set I could see the Batcave! It's incredible, kind of staggering," Reubens said. "I had [the start of my filming] at a really wonderful time; I was there the week before Christmas break, and then the first week after the new year started. Everyone was caught up in the holidays and that spirit. They just have an amazing group of people who make that show, from the crew to the cast, everybody connected to it. It's a finely-oiled, beautiful machine with a lot of really loving, caring people who really have a deep interest in making the show wonderful all the time. There aren't many sets like that, that I've experienced.

"Gotham is run by some pretty amazing people," Reubens said.

As for his biggest challenge personally, it was "a situation of knowing what not to do, and not going too big or over the top or giving up too much information,"Reubens explained. "It's a lot of subtle work going on, more than anything; knowing less is more."

Reubens' second episode of Gotham, "Prisoners," airs tonight at 8pm on FOX.

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