In Season Three of Batwoman, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) must lead the Bat Team in stopping the next wave of villains created by the weapons lost in the Gotham River during the finale of Season Two.
Not only that but Ryan discovers some dark secrets from her past, including a potential new family which includes the millionaire mother and CEO of Jeturian industries, Jada Jet (Robin Givens) and brother Marquis Jet (Nick Creegan). However, a traditional family they are not! Not only do we discover that Jada spent $2m to hide Ryan’s birth but a Joker attack when he was young has left Marquis with psychopathic tendencies. Now, after years in the shadow of his powerful mother, and discovering he had a sister all along, Marquis is pushed too far and soon he starts finding the unimaginable funny…
We spoke to Batwoman’s Joker himself, Nick Creegan, about being a Batman fan and the good work Batwoman is doing to shine a light on mental health…
Warning: There are spoilers until episode seven of Batwoman.
How did you first get involved with Batwoman?
For Batwoman particularly, I just got a self-tape audition sent to me. It was as Marquis Jet and I kind of just did it routinely. I wasn’t looking at it as anything different than what it was. We get lots of auditions all the time. They don’t necessarily mean we’re gonna get the job, but I was excited about it. So when I did audition, I thought Marquis Jet was a little crazy in the sense of his demeanour, but I never imagined that he would be turning into their version of the Joker!
Was it daunting taking on such an iconic role?
Initially I was fearful. I was shocked and then that shock turned into anxiety because I was like ‘wait, I have to step into the shoes of people like Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix’. At first I was a little nervous and then I got really excited because I turned on The Dark Knight later that night and I’m saying to myself, ‘wow, I have the opportunity to cement myself in this small knit community of actors who have portrayed this role in their own way before’. So I was very, very excited.
Did you look at other iterations of the Joker before preparing for the role?
I definitely looked at other iterations! Some of my favourite films were Joker movies like The Dark Knight and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, two of my actual favourite movies and performances. So I watched them but I also realised that this was going to be very original and somewhat of a first of its kind. So I tried to make sure that while I studied how they did it, I wanted to make it much my own and put my own spin on it. So everything that I’ve seen of myself on screen does remind me that I did put my stamp on it myself.
What did you want to do with your version of the Joker?
I wanted to make sure that he was the type of character where people love to hate him. Very charismatic, with some swagger and style in the way that he carries himself. But also that maniacal nature so even when people might say ‘oh, this guy’s kind of cool’, he does something to say ‘okay, something’s really off with him!’ It’s hard to watch him but I don’t want to stop watching him.
I wanted to have a tug of war between the audience when it comes to him. I didn’t want him to just be unlikable. I wanted him to be likeable, in a sense.
So that was part of it. The other part was I wanted people to have empathy for him. I wanted to make sure people knew that there’s a method to this madness. It’s not like he just decided one day he wants to be clinically insane. He got buzzed with the Joker’s Joy Buzzer and there was a reason for that. Then his mother wasn’t there a lot of the time because of her job and he lacked a lot of the natural love that many kids get. So I wanted people to feel empathy when they watched him and to know that mental health is something that they need to pay attention to.
How would you describe Marquis’ relationship with his mother?
She clearly loves her son. But at the same time, she’s doing things that are just not conducive to a loving relationship with her son. I think she coddled him for a long time and she was not there very much. She cared more about her public image and her power and running Jeturian industries. So while she wasn’t there to do normal things, like maybe have an actual dinner or help him with his homework, she does these grand gestures of giving him a VP role. Doing all of these things to try to make up for the fact that she just wasn’t there, per se.
I think people who watch this, unfortunately, can also relate to that. Hopefully this helps change people’s perspective on how they should be treating their children. Or children in that position hopefully they can say ‘maybe I should have a conversation with my family as opposed to acting out the way Marquis does’, because that’s clearly not the way to go about things! So I think his relationship with his mother, there’s love on both sides, but they have such a toxic relationship that it makes you wonder if they’ll ever actually reconcile…
And what about his relationship with Ryan?
The beautiful thing with Ryan and Marquis is that they are siblings. I think that was the only thing that the Joker and Batman didn’t have. Because they act as if they’re like a married couple that hates each other but loves each other or they are siblings, so I think it’s synonymous with what Ryan and Marquis are dealing with.
I don’t think Marquis would have a reason to act out if he wasn’t yearning for his sister’s love deep down inside and I think Ryan feels the same exact way. At the end of the day, I think it’s all about trying to fill this void that has been there on both of their parts for all these years.
Marquis has a distinct look as he turns into Joker, what do you think of his style?
Jared Leto’s version of the Joker comes to mind in terms of his style, because he was the only Joker that didn’t have one plain suit the whole time. Whether it be orange, or burgundy, whatever it might be. So I looked at his and I was like, well, he’s wearing all of these cool, high fashion streetwear items. I wonder if we could add some of that to this Joker, since he’s going to be so different and he’s not even going to be wearing the face paint.
So I worked with the costume department on getting a fit together. I told them we should add in certain things that I would actually wear in regular life because it would just make me that much more in the character. So he’s wearing Doc Martens in certain episodes, leather jackets… I think the costume department was incredible in terms of their collaborative process with me. They really asked me what I would like him to wear and it was very much of a collaborative effort. I’m very happy with what we came up with.
So… how did you develop that laugh?
Well, to be completely honest, the laugh that you hear is really much of my own laugh! I’ve had this wild laugh ever since I was a kid. The type of laugh where if you’re in the movie theatres, you actually really laugh and people look at you and start laughing at you and not the movie. So that’s always been me.
I was thinking about the laugh. Obviously, this has to be iconic. This has to be much of his DNA. I want people to think of me when they hear this laugh. I said ‘well, let me just try my own laugh’. And I did and they loved it! They didn’t know that it was my actual laugh, but I just went with that and added a little bit more oomph to it. I knew it’d come in handy one day!
What’s it like being part of DC?
It’s awesome. It’s like a childhood dream come true. When you’re a kid, and you’re watching the Batman Animated Series like me and you grow up on superheroes and these villains, of course you fantasise about being in this world, and wonder what it’s like to live in Gotham City. So being able to do that… the inner child in me is the first person who’s very excited knowing that these dreams are being realised!
The second part of it is I’m really excited to know that kids and adults are able to one day dress up as Marquis Jet and this version of the Joker for Halloween or Comic Con. To know that I was able to help them have fun and be part of their cosplay journey or their fandom journey, is really meaningful to me. So it means a lot to be a part of this world because there are great shows on TV. Like I love Succession, I love others things like that, but they don’t have this type of deep-rooted DNA of fandom that’s been going for generations like DC or Marvel does. It’s been an honour to be a part of this world.
Batwoman has always delved into important subjects like race and mental health, what do you think it is about this show that makes it a good platform to discuss such things?
I think the cool thing with what DC has done in the TV realm, and even in the movie realm, is they disguise topics in a digestible way that fans and viewers can watch and be excited about but also be introspective.
I love the fact that, especially in Batwoman, issues of race and things of that nature were in Season Two, and then this season, there are overarching conversations about LGBTQ rights and relationships, love and things of that nature, and with my character, mental health being the main focus. So I think DC has done an amazing job at that. It’s just cool to know that you work for a place that wants these topics to be at the forefront.
What do you want for audiences to take away from Batwoman?
We really do this for them. We put our voices up and really go full throttle so that the fans can get the best viewing experience possible. So we really appreciate people who actually enjoy the series and want to watch it because if they didn’t watch it, then there’ll be no point in doing any of this. So I just want them to know that it’s really for them and it’s really appreciated when they get to enjoy our art.
Batwoman is showing now on The CW for those in the US and on E4 in the UK. Catch up with Batwoman on All4.