Cameron Monaghan knows the fifth and final season of Gotham has been insane — and it’s not over yet. The TV and film star, whose new movie, Anthem of a Teenage Prophet, hits theaters Friday, chatted with Yahoo Entertainment about his wild turn as his evil Joker-type character, Jeremiah, and promised more craziness to come.
“I can tease that Jeremiah has kind of gained confidence and is growing in his narcissism and his flamboyance,” he said over the phone this week. “He’s kind of gaining this ego, and it’s affecting his behavior. He’s really started to enjoy himself, and it creates these really fun, meaty scenes between him and Bruce.”
Monaghan continued, “I will also say while the arc of the entire season is really fun, I will specifically say the last episode is a blast. I’m glad it hasn’t been spoiled yet, and I’m not going to spoil it now, but it is so cool, and I’m extremely grateful that I got the chance to be able to do it. I’m so stoked for people to see it — I’m stoked to see it myself!”
Monaghan was initially introduced at the end of Gotham’s first season as Jerome Valeska, and was eventually killed off (twice!), but not before he turned his twin brother, Jeremiah, whom the actor is now portraying, into an evil being. And if playing dual characters wasn’t enough — spoiler alert — there is a third character who has yet to be introduced. The Shameless star joins an elite group of actors who have taken on the role of the villainous icon, like Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and now Joaquin Phoenix, but there’s one person who Monaghan drew the most inspiration from.
“Mark Hamill was a huge inspiration for me, because he was the Joker I grew up with as a kid,” Monaghan revealed. (The Star Wars legend voiced the character in Batman: The Animated Series, starting in 1992.) “That was, to me, the voice of the Joker. That laugh is so, so, so distinct.”
He continued, “Obviously, Heath Ledger’s performance completely shattered the mold for comic book performances in general. It was something I remember as a kid, walking out of the theater and being completely blown away by. I wanted the chance just to be able to do something like that. Those were both influences, probably more unconsciously than consciously. I feel like while Gotham is sometimes very dark and very violent, it has a more heightened, exaggerated world. It is slightly cartoon-y and comic-book-y. A Joker more like Mark Hamill’s is more accurate and reflective of the world that Gotham takes place in. Over the course of playing these characters and moving on from Jerome to Jeremiah, I find that I continue to find influence in a lot of things well beyond just Joker performances — like David Bowie or Tim Curry. I take influences from sources outside of [past Jokers]. I want it to feel fresh and constantly evolving and changing.”
As for Phoenix’s upcoming take on the character, Monaghan declared he’s “really interested” to see the performance.
“I think that he’s a fantastically talented actor, and I’d be curious to see what exactly the tone of the film is going to be,” he explained. “I think they have very different goals than what Gotham does. I think they are going to try to tell a more smaller scale and intimate story, as opposed to Gotham, which is a sprawling story. That being said, I’m very excited to see what he does with it. He’s an interesting actor and always does something unique.”
As for Monaghan’s versatility, he’s enjoying jumping between film and TV right now.
“I don’t find that there’s much differentiation between the two anymore. Now with premium cable, it doesn’t feel like such a jump back and forth, and a lot of the prestige projects are on television right now,” he said. “I really do love with film that you have a finite ending point and you have two hours to define these characters. As much as it is an amazing thing to be on Shameless for 10 years and grow with that character, it’s also very nice to be able to tell these succinct stories. It’s not a huge transition between both, but I definitely really enjoy working on film.”
In his latest film, Anthem of a Teenage Prophet, Monaghan plays Luke, a teenager who foresees the death of his best friend and is dubbed “The Prophet of Death” and a freak by the entire town.
“I felt that Luke went through a very interesting arc of self-discovery,” Monaghan said, describing what drew him to this project. “He’s a quiet, intelligent, smart, insightful caring kid, but doesn’t really know how to show that yet. He’s just a kid that hasn’t really found his place yet, all he knows is that he wants to be an artist. “
“I felt [the film] was very honest with how it dealt with coming of age — I find that most young adult films or movies for teens or about teens simply aren’t,” he added. “The script didn’t pander, and it was honest, and I felt like I related a lot to the struggle that he was going through and what the story was.”
Anthem of a Teenage Prophet will be released in theaters and on demand on Jan. 11.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: