casting couch

Jada Pinkett Smith Auditioned for Gotham With a Man on a Leash

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Jada Pinkett Smith attends the 2nd Annual Paleyfest New York Presents:
Photo: Nomi Ellenson/2014 Nomi Ellenson

While much of the Gotham panel at PaleyFest Saturday centered on executive producer Danny Cannon hemming and hawing on what he could and couldn’t tease (Fox ordered a full season for the show last week), Jada Pinkett Smith, who plays the devilish Fish Mooney, served up the juiciest detail of the night. The first time she met Cannon for an audition, Pinkett Smith said she showed up dressed in a long, flowing gown, with her short, black Mooney wig and a young man on a leash in tow. He was shirtless and had LIAR scrawled across his forehead in lipstick. “I said, ‘Forget it, instead of talking about who Fish Mooney is, let me just show you,’” said Pinkett Smith. “I went Method.” Thus, a monster was born.

Robin Lord Taylor, who plays Oswald Cobblepot, i.e. the Penguin, has a trick for remembering his character’s awkward gait. Taylor recalled a wide-shot scene in which Cobblepot returns to Gotham when the actor forgot to limp: “We did the whole thing, and we move along and then I go back to the holding area, and I’m like, ’I forgot to limp!’ And I freaked out! I completely freaked out,” he told Vulture before the panel. “I immediately had someone go over to the director and the continuity person, and they were like, ’It’s okay, we’ll deal with it. It should be fine.’ But then I felt like such a dumb idiot.” Then a wardrobe assistant suggested he use an old acting trick to remind him to waddle: A bottle cap in his right shoe — on the sole, near his heel. “Since then, it’s still in my shoe,” Taylor added during the panel. “It just brings that pain, and it’s a reminder.”

Pinkett Smith Brought Man on Leash to Audition