Best known for playing Nancy Reid on the supernatural show, Being Human, actress, Erin Richards is hotting up the small screen as Barbara Kean, (Det. Gordon's former flame) on the hit show, Gotham.
The 29 year-old Welsh beauty currently resides in New York where the show is shooting its second season.
On set in LA, Tiffany Rose stood in an abandoned old Post Office, mid-town Manhattan, in between scenes to chat to Erin.
There's no doubt the eeriness of the dishevelled building is a perfect setting for filming the mysterious Batman mythology.
Did we pull you out of a scene?
Erin Richards: Nooo, I was sitting in my dressing room, reading scripts.
Is it true you used to put on Batman plays as a little girl? Seeing you're a lady, I find that rather interesting.
Erin Richards: (Laughs) Yes, I did. You didn't dress up as superheroes when you were younger?
No, just princesses. Who did you dress up as?
Erin Richards: I dressed up as Batman. It was in my grandmother's house in Hillsborough in Ireland. We had this great playroom where I would make all of my younger cousins who were like four or five years younger than me, dress up as all the villains. Then I would be Batman. We had a jungle gym, like a climbing frame in the middle of the room and I would construct the entire thing around that. Then I would make all my relatives at Christmas watch us. The show would go on for like an hour. I'm sure there's a videotape of it somewhere, which would be quite hilarious.
As a kid, what did you like about Batman, which made you choose to play that superhero?
Erin Richards: I think it's because anybody could essentially be Batman if they have a ton of money and a Bat Cave! He doesn't have a superpower. He's just a normal guy that was wronged in the world, so that's why I like it. He's a bit of a vigilante and I enjoy those kinds of characters.
So your character, Barbara Kean was a creation for the show. Does it make it easier for you to build your character, as there are no preconceptions of her?
Erin Richards: Yeah, even though Barbara is in the comic books, she is not well known. So, I think it gives me and the writers a bit more freedom and you can weave her how you want a bit more and turn her where you want so it's kind of exciting for me and for them.
Did you know your character was going to get as crazy as she has in season two?
Erin Richards: I knew she had a lot of problems from the beginning. In the audition process, there was a piece that I was doing that had a lot of elements of craziness in her. From the beginning even though she was this shining light and lived up in this beautiful penthouse, which was a safe haven for Dt Gordon (her fiancé at the time), I feel there were lots of elements in her throughout the first series that were kind of heading towards…maybe not as drastic as thought it was going to be, but she was an alcoholic; she was dependent on drugs; and she had an abusive relationship with Montoya.
Have you been surprised or shocked when you've read the script as to what was going on with your character?
Erin Richards: (Laughs) There have been moments where I've been like that in the series when things have happened to other people. We discuss with the writers and the creators beforehand what's going to happen to us, so it's never like: "Whaat?!"
You have played provocative parts this season where you and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) greeted each other with a lip lock. Was that strange to read in the script?
Erin Richards: She's kind of this whole new being now. She uses sex like she uses power like she uses manipulation. She just uses whatever she needs to in this new world to get what she wants. So she knows by forming an attachment like that to Tabitha, then Tabitha will protect her in the face of Galavan if he wanted to do something to her. She knows what she is doing. She is not just kissing for the sake of kissing.
Your character, Barbara uses sex as her power tools, but she doesn't seem to be a lady in distress. She is empowered. Is this the modern way women are being written in shows?
Erin Richards: Sex is like one of the most fundamental things in life. Even though it can be used, it's also the reason why we are here. We are here to have sex and procreate. I think that women are being written much better now. I feel women are so much more complicated than men. It's so much easier to tell a man's story, which is why we often watch the same goddam man story on film. But a woman's story takes a TV series, which is why I think more TV is being written for women and films are catching up as quickly because it's much harder to tell a complex woman's story in two hours, or even an hour and a half which is all I like my films to be. I hate them be two hours. So I just feel like TV gets that whole scope and it has the time a woman's story deserves.
In terms of Barbara, I always think of her in the beginning of the series, after that period when she killed her parents, she was kind of reborn as this dark creative force. I play like she has been reborn into a world where she is completely within her fabulous darkness and she loves it, and she is curious of everything. So everything she comes across whether it be sex, violence, power or darkness, she is just curious.
She's like: "Let's give this a go," which is how everyone wants to live essentially in life. We all crave to live our life in the moment, which is how Barbara lives her life. This is why she is so captivating on screen and it's such a joy to play her.
Can you talk about the vendetta against Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Dt. Gordon's new girlfriend)? A lot of people have had animosity with their partner's exes, but this seams to be on a whole other scale.
Erin Richards: This is on a Gotham scale, yeah. (Laughs)
Are you getting more recognition by fans on the streets these days?
Erin Richards: Everyone has been lovely. Comic-Con is one of my favourite events to attend, because we meet the fans face to face. You get a lot of nervous people and you get a lot of people who are constantly filming me when we meet. I say to them: "Let's just be us in the moment. Don't worry about taking a film of it." Because they come along filming and they're not really being present, so they're not experiencing it. So I always try to engage with them face to face. "We can take a picture, but let's just talk first, so you can remember it as this and not remember it by looking at a phone. I know how nerve-wracking it is as I sometimes meet famous people and you just lose yourself. You forget people are just people, so I just remind people that I'm just a normal person.
Do you ride the subway, because that's a good breeding ground to get the weird fans?
Erin Richards: Yeah, I'm pretty lucky because being a woman, I can change how I look a lot, with like wearing make-up, or not wearing make-up and putting my hair up. Like in day-to-day life, I'm usually in jeans and a jumper and I put my hair up and I don't wear make-up and nobody recognises me.
How do you feel watching yourself in the crazy moments on TV? Does it feel liberating?
Erin Richards: I watch the show as a whole; I think our show is so incredible visually. I think the writing is amazing. I think the acting of everybody is so insanely good. So I just enjoy watching the whole production of it, because so much work goes into it. I don't really pay attention to myself.
When you went to audition for the role, what were you thoughts on the conception of the series?
Erin Richards: I remember when I first saw the premiere, I was just blown away. Even though I had really high hopes for it, what Danny Cannon (EP) achieved in that final edit and he directed the first one as well, it was just mind-blowing. I'm not sure if I had any real thoughts about how it would be. But I remember feeling completely wowed by the first show.
How did you land the role?
Erin Richards: I auditioned in pilot season, which happens in LA in February time. I went through two or three auditions, met Bruno and Danny (the creators/producers), who are two Brits so we got on really well. Just kept coming back in and I got it. It was a really lovely experience from start to finish. It was fun.
How are you embracing the New York lifestyle?
Erin Richards: I love it. I'm doing a yoga teacher training course. I'm doing a pottery course; a writing course and I'm recording an album so I've got a load of things going on. I live in Brooklyn and all the restaurants are amazing. I've got some amazing friends and I feel just really lucky to be here. Of all the places I could be filming, this is the best.
Why did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
Erin Richards: I'm not going to become a teacher, I just want to improve my practice. And I also think it would be really nice thing to offer friends and it's useful if I'm ever acting in a place, where there's not six yoga studios within walking distance of me which there are in New York.
Do you practice yoga everyday?
Erin Richards: Yes, I do my course on the weekends and I practice everyday. I also meditate. Meditation is key for me. It really helps me to be in the moment.
Is there anything you miss about Wales?
Erin Richards: I miss my family and my dogs. I really miss the seaside. I live by the sea. It's not a great sea but it's a sea all the same. That's where my heart is.
Gotham: Rise of the Villains comes to Channel 5 on Monday, January 11 at 10pm.
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