We're only three episodes into Batwoman's sophomore season, but the hit series has already introduced quite a lot into its fray. As Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) fully embraces her role as Batwoman following the departure of Kate Kane, she's begun to cross paths with an unexpected array of villains. The latest among these is Victor Zsasz (Alex Morf), a chaotic hitman with a long tenure within Gotham's underworld, who has an affinity for carving tally marks onto his body for every victim that he kills. While Zsasz has been part of the DC Comics mythos since the 1990s, Batwoman has already provided a memorable and complex take on the fan-favorite villain, which fans saw in a major way in this week's episode, "Bat Girl Magic!"
The role is the latest in a string of comic book TV appearances from Morf, who previously portrayed John Healy in Daredevil, and gang leader Sykes in FOX's Gotham. But in Batwoman, Morf clearly puts his own stamp on Victor Zsasz, with some genuinely entertaining results.
ComicBook.com got a chance to chat with Morf about his debut as Victor Zsasz, and the biggest moments tied to "Bat Girl Magic!" We also spoke about joining the legacy of live-action takes on Zsasz, what the future holds for his character, and more. Obviously, spoilers for Season 2, Episode 3 of Batwoman, "Bat Girl Magic!", below! Only look if you want to know!
ComicBook.com: What was your relationship with Zsasz in the comics, prior to being cast? Because obviously, he is such a unique part of the Batman universe in the comics.
Alex Morf: He's a great character. I think I first got familiar with him playing the Arkham Asylum video game, where he was a character there. And maybe, because he was interesting in that video game, I probably did some Googling to learn some more, because I didn't grow up as a comic book kid.
And then, Anthony Carrigan on Gotham -- I thought he was fantastic. He's a wonderful actor, and I loved what he did with the role. I feel like he sort of brought it into the mainstream a little bit. So, when I got the breakdown for the audition, I was really excited, because I at least had some familiarity with him. And as I dug in and did some more research, I feel like he just got more and more interesting to me.prevnext
You mentioned Anthony Carrigan, and Zsasz was also in the Birds of Prey movie last year.
Right. Which I haven't seen.
How did you approach differentiating your take on Zsasz, after he's been played in live-action multiple times at this point?
I really let the script guide me. The thing that I hope that is somewhat similar to what Anthony did was just the sort of playfulness. It's a lightness, which is a great kind of contradiction to the violent nature.
What I found interesting about this script was he's a little bit further on in his career. He's a little bit closer to retirement, and Batman's in the rearview mirror. I think that he's sort of, in some way, nostalgic and yearning for greater challenges in his life, but also he doesn't really have anything to prove at this point. He's a master, and he's still around, which is saying something for somebody who does what he does.prevnext
I did love the Batman tease in the episode, because it feels like there's so much we still don't know about the Arrowverse's version of Batman, and a lot of the villains we've seen have really been Batwoman villains first and foremost. What was it like to kind of have that tie to Batman's history within the world of the show?
I love that. It's so cool. It gave me a really big sort of hook into the character of what's driving him, what's pushing him forward. Because I think Victor's a little bit obsessed with pain. I think it's sort of his messed up idea of love, a little bit, that sort of searching for somebody who's capable of destroying him. When that's not there, I think he's a little bit restless. So to me, having that line about Batman helped me to see the potential that I see in Batwoman and what I hope that she's capable of.prevnext
Piggybacking off of that, I really loved Zsasz's dynamic with Ryan, and how -- both inside of the costume and outside of the costume -- it's two completely different dynamics. What was it like to find that with Javicia, and establish that dynamic?
It was really cool. When I first got the role, I think it was a little intimidating, of "How do you get into somebody's skin who is capable of that kind of atrocity?" The more that I started looking at him, the more I realized how much we actually have in common. We're both independent contractors for hire, for a very specific skill that we've had quite a bit of experience doing.
I feel like another thing that is sort of surprising about him, to me, is that he seems genuinely interested in people and curious about people, and kind of perceptive in a weird way. That made my interactions with Ryan and Batwoman really interesting, because I think that he sees something that he's genuinely interested in about them. It's a juicy character detail, to have somebody who really kind of enjoys people and is perceptive about people, but also has no value for human life. That contrast is really stark and really kind of scary and interesting.
Also, I also just want to say that Javicia is incredible. [There's a] palpable presence when you meet her for the first time. She has a deep inner strength and also humor, and she's a natural leader. As is often the case -- especially with me, because I've always been a little bit slow to warm up to people -- I feel like the first thing we did together, we were feeling each other out a little bit. And by the end, when we were fighting together, we were just giggling and joking around and stuff. I just have tremendous respect for her.prevnext
This episode has the reveal that Zsasz was contracted by Safiyah. What can you tease about that kind of going forward and just how that influences Zsasz as a character?
I can't really say that much about it, partly because it's details that I don't really have yet. I don't know as much about that relationship yet.prevnext
What would you say has surprised you the most about playing Zsasz and being on Batwoman?
I guess the most surprising thing probably is that I found a lot of similarities to myself. Obviously, the biggest difference being I believe in the sanctity of human life. It's weird to say, but he's a sort of a likable serial killer, and he's somebody who has a tremendous appetite for life, I think. He sort of rambles in the different aspects of life, and that's fun to play.
It's fun to play somebody who has a nihilistic viewpoint in some ways, too, because you get to try on this coat that where you get to [ponder] "What if nothing meant anything? What if I didn't have to worry about life or death?" I'm not certainly not endorsing that, but there is some freedom in that, and you can see where he has found some sort of liberation and adapting his mind to that mindset That kind of freedom is fun to try on.prevnext
This is not your first superhero TV show role, as you previously appeared on both Gotham and Daredevil. What has it been like to play around in all of those different projects, and be part of kind of the superhero TV boom in all of these different ways?
So gratifying. As I said, I didn't grow up as a comic book kid. I always loved the superhero movies, and grew up watching Christopher Reeve and Michael Keaton and just love that stuff, so I think it was baked into me a little bit. But I love the epic nature of the stories, and I especially am drawn to the comic book stories that are really rooted in gritty realism, even though it's an enhanced reality in a lot of ways. I find being able to act in those circumstances is really exciting because you get to ask yourself all kinds of questions about human nature and the complexities they're in.
I also wrestled for like 21 years of my life, so it's sort of been a surprising twist in my career that I get to do a lot of stunts. And then it turns out I really enjoy that -- I'm comfortable with the hand-to-hand combat stuff. It's not something that I ever sought out to do, but I'm pretty good at it. So it's fun to be able to use a different kind of skill that's from my past.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.prev