“Gotham” star Robin Lord Taylor’s favorite episode on the show was particularly difficult to shoot. It’s not because Taylor did not have the acting chops to film the scene, but because the scene actually hits so close to home.
Penguin’s biological father Elijah Van Dahl (Paul Reubens) was accidentally murdered by his wife in Season 2, after he drank the poisoned beverage that was intended for his son.
While they were filming that scene, Taylor revealed to Comic Book that his own father had just passed away.
“So that scene where Paul died, my actual dad died and we kept shooting that day anyways,” he explained. “So I was acting my actual reality. So production asked what I wanted to do and it was Paul’s last day. My mom was with my sister and I couldn’t make it to Iowa, and it was a strange confluence of events where your reality is what your character is going through.”
Some of those scenes, according to Taylor, were actually happening in his own life. “It was my favorite and will always be my favorite episode. Although I will never watch it,” he added.
Taylor’s connection to Penguin actually goes deeper than that. Before he came to power, Penguin was bullied heavily because of his look and his funny walk.
The actor told Fuse he was able to relate because it’s the same thing he experienced as a child. “That was my human link to the character. I learned that and I was like, ‘This is something I want to show and root him down to reality,’” he said. “Growing up overweight and gay in small-town Iowa in the ‘80s and ‘90s - it was much different than it is now - and I know exactly what that feels like.”
In the show, Penguin has just been elected as the new mayor of Gotham City. Taylor told Yahoo! TV that Penguin is really sincere about his promise to “make Gotham safe again.”
“Penguin is all about there [being] an order to everything,” he said. “He’s not interested in tearing things down. He’s not interested in anarchy at all.”
“Gotham” airs every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.