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Setting the Records Straight: An Interview with Gotham's Chelsea Spack

Setting the Records Straight: An Interview with Gotham...

By Tim Beedle Monday, January 26th, 2015

In the darkened world of Gotham, the line between creepy and charming can be quite thin. No one knows this better than Kristen Kringle, the often-on-edge GCPD records room attendant who has captured Edward Nygma’s eye. Last week, Nygma tried winning her affection with—no surprise here—a riddle. That really didn’t work out so well, but it’s easy to see that Kristen isn’t quite so cold to Edward as she’d maybe like to believe. Could there be romance in the cards for Gotham’s Riddler-to-be?

While Nygma may enjoy being cryptic about such things, we much prefer answers, so we went straight to the source—Chelsea Spack, the Rutgers-trained actress who plays Kringle on Gotham. Just in time for her appearance in tonight’s new episode, “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon,” we spoke with Spack about riddles, how she feels about romancing future super-villains, and whether there may be a bit more to her character’s name than simple alliteration.




Kristen was in last week’s episode and she’s in tonight’s as well. Will we be seeing her again before the end of the season?

She’s coming back very soon. The writers are so brilliant. They like to keep us on the edge of our seats. Thankfully, they’ve really responded to the chemistry between us and our storyline is developing more and more. We’ll have to see where things go, but she’s definitely coming back very soon. There’s more to see.


Your character has a name like something from a comic book, but she’s original to the show. How would you describe her?

I love how she’s a woman of great intelligence and mystery. She takes her job really seriously, just like Edward Nygma. She’s on her way up in the world. She’s a very private person. She’s in charge of information, and I think that information is power. She works in the records room. She’s a fierce, brilliant woman that like everybody has a lot of secrets.


Do you find the fact that you’re portraying an original character rather than one from the comics is a little more freeing? Fans don’t have the same expectations for you that they have for Jim Gordon or Edward Nygma.

Yeah, I find it so exciting. It’s like a blank slate and there’s so much potential. And then working opposite a character from the comics who’s so beloved, it’s exciting. Seeing how our storyline develops is fascinating. So in a way it is freeing that it’s kind of a blank slate and we get to create and see how things pan out.


Gotham
has such a large cast and so many of the characters are flamboyant and really stand out. However, Kristen has managed to stand out despite having appeared in only a few episodes. How have you managed that?

I think that mystery is always intriguing, and she’s a mysterious woman. She works in a very private world. I think that’s something Nygma is very intrigued by. Kristen’s focused and brilliant, and she doesn’t let people get in her way. She’s a private person and I think that he responds to her intelligence and her drive. Maybe the glasses help a little bit too!

But yeah, I think she stands out partially because she’s mysterious. There’s a lot to her that isn’t so obvious, but it’s there.




How does Kristen feel about Nygma? It’s hard to tell at times!

The human heart is so complicated. If only things were black and white, it would be so much easier. All I have to say is Edward Nygma drives her crazy. He frustrates her, but there’s something about him that she is intrigued by. I think that it’s something she doesn’t want to admit, and I think she doesn’t quite understand it. You don’t want to tell the cool kids at school that you think the nerdy guy is intriguing, and I don’t think she quite understands it herself. There’s something there that she can’t put her finger on.

When I think of Nygma on the show, he’s the sort of person that would probably be pretty creepy and kind of disturbing in real life. You wouldn’t want to have to work with a guy like him. But he’s actually pretty endearing on Gotham. I know it’s partly the writing, but do you think a lot of it also has to do with Cory Michael Smith’s performance?

Absolutely! He is brilliant in that he understands that there’s so much more to a person than one thing. Instead of going with the label that he’s weird, or creepy, or nerdy, [he realizes] there’s so much underneath that.

I think that part of why Edward’s so endearing is because he cares so much. He truly cares for Kristen Kringle, and he takes things so seriously. I think that’s why he’s so beloved, because he’s created a really complex character.

Yes, I realized that of all the characters that we know will one day become super villains, he’s the one that I’m dreading the most. He’s such a fun supporting character on the show, and you see him just trying to connect with people. You kind of want him to get a happy ending, yet you know he’s not going to get one!

I know, I know! That’s the most interesting when you see what it is that causes somebody to snap. The motivations that they come up with make it more relatable. More human.

As we touched on, Kristen Kringle has a real comic book-skewing name. You’ve also mentioned secrets a few times. Could she potentially have a villainous future ahead of her?

We’re all on the edge of our seats to see how she develops. I have no knowledge of the large picture. But I have my ideas of what I think makes her tick, what her secrets are and what she hopes to achieve. I think having a name like Kristen Kringle, there’s obviously so much potential there. And of course it’s the kind of name that Edward Nygma would find incredibly endearing, amusing and attractive. We’re just excited to see all the ways that Kristen can unfold and how she can develop.

So, how do you feel about riddles in real life? Would the bullet in the cupcake thing have worked for you?

I love riddles! I love subtext and how you can say something to a person when what you’re really saying is completely different. I think that riddles are a way of expressing two things at one time and playing with somebody’s mind, while also exercising your intelligence to communicate. I think it’s so awesome and intriguing. I love riddles.


Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on Fox.