Let’s get one thing clear. Jada Pinkett Smith isn’t a badass, but she plays one on TV. Since 2014, the actress has been sizzling on primetime as resident baddie Fish Mooney on FOX’s Gotham.
With her colorful wigs and skintight outfits being naughty never looked so good. The mom and actress says she enjoys playing the comic book villain just as much as fans love watching her cause chaos in Gotham City.
The end of Season two saw Fish Mooney, back from the dead, evil as ever and on the loose again after escaping the clutches of Dr. Hugo Strange (BD Wong).
“It’s still on the knife-edge,” Pinkett Smith says about the premiere of Season Three. “I can’t give too much away but Fish Mooney is definitely back and wanting to take it all. She’s just wreaking havoc as usual.”
The actress spoke to EBONY.com about tapping into her inner bad girl and working with friend Queen Latifah again 20 years after their movie Set It Off.
EBONY.com: What do you enjoy about playing a villain?
Jada Pinkett Smith: The fact that I get to dance with my shadow. It’s always wonderful when you can have safe places where you can dance with the not-so-nice you in a fun way. I get to do that with this.
I get to do the things Jada would never think about doing and do it in a fun way. That’s what I like about her. She’s such a badass. She’s like, “I’m taking it all, by all means necessary.” I love that attitude.
EBONY.com: Why do you think fans love to hate Fish Mooney?
Pinkett Smith: What I hear most, for many different reasons, is she’s fun to watch. She gives people – especially women who are expected to be good all the time – an opportunity to dance with their shadows, to be the badass within that we’re not always allowed or given room to be.
EBONY.com: That line – “My name is Fish Mooney, b***h” – was that scripted or was that ad-libbed?
Pinkett Smith: Oh no. That was written. That was Bruno [Heller, the show’s creator]. He really knows how to have fun with Fish Mooney in a way that makes it fun for the audience.
EBONY.com: Do fans ask you to say that when they meet you?
Pinkett Smith: No, they don’t ask me to say it but when I go on talk shows people say, “What’s that line they have you say?” As Jada I haven’t really learned how. When I’m outside of that wig it’s hard for me to [say it]. I still feel like, should I be saying that? I even get a little uncomfortable.
If I don’t have that wig on then you’re not going to get it the way Fish is going to give it to you. When I put that wig and costume on, I’m there. I am Fish and I don’t care. But when I’m Jada, if you ask me to say some Fish Mooney stuff, it’s just not going to come out right.
EBONY.com: Your husband Will Smith was in Suicide Squad this summer. Are you comic book fans in your house?
Pinkett Smith: I’m a huge comic book fan – me and the kids. Will got asked to do Suicide Squad and then he started diving into the comic book world but he was never really a comic book guy like that.
But, thank goodness, his family is. So we’ve been holding him down in that way.
EBONY.com: Do you do any cosplaying at home?
Pinkett Smith: No. We leave Fish Mooney and Deadshot at the door before we come in the house because that would make for some real interesting moments. We always make sure Jada and Will enter the house. We leave our characters outside.
EBONY.com: You’ve just finished filming a movie, Girls Trip, with Queen Latifah. What was that like acting with her again?
Jada Pinkett Smith: It was so beautiful, because we’ve worked together a lot in the last 20 years [producing each other’s work] but we haven’t been on screen together. I realized how much I missed working with her in that way.
We had so much fun together on this movie, being able to be with someone who I love so much and laugh all day. I was like, “We’ve got to do this more often.” It was a real joy.
Season 3 of Gotham premieres on FOX on September 19, 8pm/7pm Central.