Despite other familiar villains such as Penguin, Riddler, Ra’s al Ghul and Mad Hatter having been played by series regulars, it’s arguably recurring guest star Cameron Monaghan who may go down as being Gotham‘s greatest scourge when it’s all said and done. You probably noticed that I had to use the actor’s name in that instance, as he’s actually played two remarkably different takes on the Joker, those being Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska.
Now that we’re waiting to see what Jeremiah has next on his agenda, it really does feel like our introduction to Jerome occurred a million years ago. If you’ll recall, he was merely a circus boy caught up in the murder investigation following his mother’s brutal slaying – and then it turned out he was the culprit.
Believe it or not though, Monaghan wasn’t so sure if viewers would take to his character. But perhaps it was when Jerome dropped the innocent facade and revealed himself to be a maniacally laughing cold-blooded killer that captured everyone’s attention, thereby giving the young actor a sense of job security for the seasons to follow.
In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Cameron reflected on his first trip to Gotham City, saying:
“No, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know for sure if I was going to do more than that one interrogation scene in that first episode I was in. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to touch the character again, so to be able to have this much fun and to give multiple iterations of that character and then to play another version of this, it’s been insane. It’s been so cool.”
In truth, I think the producers would’ve left Jerome behind had the audience not responded to him so well. But lo and behold, he came back for season 2. Granted, he was killed, but that same rabid fanbase lit the fuse on his eventual resurrection. Funny enough, he died again in season 4 – but not before passing the torch to twin brother Jeremiah.
As Monaghan continued, he spoke of what makes both of the Valeska siblings memorable:
“I’ve enjoyed them both for different reasons. It was cool with Jerome how it was so heightened and kind of cartoony and insane and I could go in any direction with it because he was just this weird ball of destructive energy. It’s nice with Jeremiah to find some glimpses of humanity within him and to bring him back and to make him colder and more chilling in his [methods].
I’m also doing something a little different with this season as we’re continuing to develop the character than where he was at last. He was very systematic and completely irrational last season. Now he’s starting to, because he’s starting to lose his sanity and he’s slipping away without even realizing that he is. He has too much of an ego to realize that he’s slipping. I get to play around more and move around more within the character and I’m having a bunch of fun with this part, too, and also where it’s going is extremely exciting and I can’t wait to hit a couple of these story weeks that are coming up.”
If you’d like to see what lies ahead for Jeremiah, then be sure to start tuning in for Gotham‘s fifth season once it premieres on Thursday, January 3rd on Fox.