Interview: Camren Bicondova On ‘Gotham’, Catwoman, And Why Julie Newmar Is Awesome

To this point, Camren Bicondova has mostly been notable as a dancer. But that’s about to change, quite a bit, with Gotham, her first major television role. Camren met us at her hotel, after about five hours of media appearances in the area; we were the last leg of the tour before heading to the airport. But despite hitting two cities in as many days, she didn’t show any signs of slowing down, and spoke with us about comics, Catwoman, and doing her own stunts.

Were you familiar with the comics at all before you got the role?

I was familiar with it in general but I didn’t know the details of it until I started researching for the role. I think I was missing out, actually, it’s really awesome. (laughs)

Catwoman’s been depicted in so many different ways in the comics, was there one that you liked the most?

When I was reading the comics, I liked how it went back in time and showed that she steals jewels, because she feels — or at least this is what I got from it, correct me if I’m wrong — when she was in the orphanage, she’d have to steal for the head of it, and never get to keep it for herself. That’s what I liked from it, how she steals, in Gotham she steals to survive, but as an adult, I liked how it became a power thing and all about self-confidence.

How much did you find yourself drawing from the comics when you were playing Selina?

I drew a lot from it, mostly movement-wise, actually. You would think that the whole movement from the TV shows would help, but I liked looking at the images. I also am going with my instincts, but I get to ask the writers questions, I get to ask Danny [Cannon, the pilot’s director] and Bruno [Heller, Gotham‘s showrunner] questions, and mix them all together.

Did you do any other preparation?

I watched the original Batman series with Adam West, and I watched Julie Newmar and Lee Meriweather and Eartha Kitt…

Who’s your favorite, if you don’t mind the interruption?

I like Julie Newmar! She’s awesome!

What most appealed to you about her, in particular?

Everything! She’s just awesome! OK, there’s this one scene, where she’s trying to persuade Batman into doing… something, he says to her “You’re a very attractive woman, Catwoman”, and she leaned over the couch like a cat and said “I know.” And I just thought that was the best thing ever! I love her, I want to meet her! She was actually at San Diego Comic-Con, but the thing was, she was there the day before the cast of Gotham got there, so I didn’t get to meet her!

Are you doing any of your own stunts in the course of the series? It seems physically demanding.

I’m doing some stunts. I can’t do all of them, but the ones I’m allowed and able to do, I enjoy. I took some parkour classes before we started filming, so that helped!

How much of the set is practical, something you can use and get your hands on?

In the pilot, we actually filmed a lot on location! There obviously had to be some effects, because we’re not going to go into freezing water, because liability issues, but most of it is pretty practical. The set dressers are amazing! Sometimes we take pictures of something that we’ve filmed on, and they just make it on the soundstage.

How useful was your dance background, getting into Selina’s mindset?

It was really useful! Since she does move like a cat, I was able to use my dance, and use it in that aspect… it’s really helpful! (laughs)

This is your first scripted TV show, after working on America’s Best Dance Crew. What are some differences working on a scripted show versus a reality show?

Ooooooh, that’s a good question! (laughs) The one difference that comes to mind is that for America’s Best Dance Crew, we were secluded for about three months. We weren’t necessarily allowed to go anywhere without permission, which was good because security reasons. But Gotham, it’s a bigger timeframe. For the episodes, we’re planning to be in New York for eight to ten months, and I get to go to the gym, get groceries and stuff like that. Enjoyment-wise, though, they’re both the same.

You’ll be able to see Bicondova in action starting September 22nd, on Fox.