Robin Lord Taylor: Growing up overweight and gay prepared me to play The Penguin

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Robin Lord Taylor was the breakout star of Batman prequel/spin-off series Gotham from the very first episode, but it turns out that growing up gay was partly behind his success.

Speaking to Fuse, the actor said that he tapped into his own time as an overweight, gay teenager to connect to classic villain The Penguin, who’s portrayed in the show as a bit of a social outcast.


“With The Penguin specifically, we’re very fortunate in that we have about 70 years of mythology to draw upon and do research with and that’s what I did when I got the role of The Penguin.

“That’s when I learned he was bullied as a child, he was always treated as an outsider. 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.’

“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.”

Gotham just started its third series, but launched back in 2014, and drew attention at the time for featuring a prominent lesbian relationship between two main characters, one of whom was a police detective.

Taylor isn’t the only LGBT actor in the DC universe right now. Ezra Miller, who identifies as queer, will play speedster The Flash in his own solo film and Justice League, after debuting in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

That film inspired even more LGBT love of course – it earned its very own gay porn parody.