Jessica Lucas is a new addition to FOX’s Gotham this season, portraying Tigress/Tabitha Galavan – and like her relative Theo Galavan (James Frain), she’s not in Gotham City for good. Tabitha joins Barbara Kean, played by Erin Richards, as the two most prominent evil ladies in the DC Comics adaptation, and both actresses spoke to LA Fan Cultures Examiner at the recent New York Comic Con.
“I think the three of us are all kind of using each other in different ways,” said Erin of the relationship between Barbara, Tabitha and Theo. “For Barbara, she has a superpower I guess, that she knows everyone’s weakness and she can use that to get what she wants. So I think there’s a element of that playing out between us. With [Theo], I think Barbara is just purely using him. She would kill him in a second if she could.”
“I think of her as the first time she’s been around female energy in a long time or had a female living with her,” added Jessica, “so she’s really kind of taking her under her wing and teaching her a few things – like how to be evil!”
Barbara is already a bit of a controversial character in Gotham, given how strongly she’s departed from the original Barbara who was never a villain and became the first wife of James Gordon. A number of fans haven’t liked the character, and Erin took a moment to address that. “I get people not liking her,” she conceded. “She didn’t do very much.
“I think at the beginning [of the show], we wanted something for her that wasn’t really going to fit in with Gotham,” she continued. “At the beginning she was supposed to be more of a safe place for Jim to go, to but then we realized very quickly that won’t work in Gotham, because there are no safe places. Instead of being this shoulder to cry on, she became somebody that had a very dark nature, which was hard for Jim to work with.
“So you saw who she was going to be, but that’s hard to watch as an audience member, because [you] don’t get where she’s going,” she added. “I think when we flipped it at the end of last season, people were like, oh right, I get it now, she’s crazy.”
Having only been in a handful of episodes thus far, Jessica isn’t worried about taking fan reactions into account with her performance. “I kind of try to go off what’s in the script, and stay true to whatever motivations they have going into that,” she told us, “and hopefully people enjoy watching her. She’s certainly a lot of fun to play. We’ll see; I don’t think our motives have been really clear yet.”
At least in Barbara’s case, one of those motivations seems to be trying to win Gordon (Ben McKenzie) back from new girlfriend Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). But does she really want a reunion with her ex, or does she just want to get revenge? Or possibly just enjoy controlling him? Some combination of the above?
“If you ask Barbara if she’s crazy, she would say no,” Erin reflected. “She thinks she’s going to get Jim back, and I think what that is about is she is inhabiting this new life, this dark place, where she’s totally free. I mean, she’s killed her parents. There’s nothing more you can do in life that releases you from some sort of restraint, which is what your parents want for you.
“She is wanting from this new happy dark place, to bring Jim into that because she’s like, look at what we could be. We used to be this great couple,” she continued. “She wants to bring him into this dark place, because they could have this fabulous time.”
But Tabitha will probably have something to say about that, as these two villainesses continue to carve their way through Gotham City.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on FOX.