Rachel Skarsten stars in Batwoman on The CW as Alice, Batwoman’s greatest antagonist. This Sunday, April 26th at 8/7c Batwoman returns with an all-new episode that puts Alice in a whole new world, literally, as she finds herself locked inside Gotham City’s home for the criminally insane, Arkham Asylum.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke with Skarsten about this week’s episode and her deep rooted love for all things related to the caped crusader.
MW: Hi Rachel, new episode of Batwoman coming this weekend and I’m curious to know, were you a fan of Batwoman and the whole Batman universe growing up, is that what led you to being part of the show?
RS: I wasn’t a Batwoman fan per se. I was a huge Batman fan. I think that’s the only time actually that I’ve ever blacked out when I met a celebrity was when I met Adam West. Because as a little girl Adam West’s Batman was everything. I would wake up early to watch the re-runs, I had Batman pajamas, I still have in my car box my Batmobile; I was obsessed with Batman.
When I was 16, I did a show called Birds Of Prey. I feel like Batman has followed me through my life. I don’t know how intentional it was to be on Batwoman, but I think it was definitely meant to be.
MW: What was that moment like the first time you saw a script and it just said the word “Bat?” Did you lose your mind?
RS: I think when I really lost my mind, it was when we were filming. Actually, I wasn’t even filming that day. I just happened to be at the art gallery in downtown Vancouver and it was close to the hotel that we were staying on the pilot. I was actually walking to a store and they had all the trucks and the lights and the Bat signal. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in this show.’ It really hit me then. That was very cool.
MW: That’s awesome. Now that you’re on the show, part of the universe, how much fun is it for you to get to play a character like Alice who’s just a total wild card?
RS: I feel, and this is no shade to the other characters, but I really feel that I got the best character. I love Alice. She’s very… there’s a real human side to her and so she’s very grounded in that which I think is important. She’s just so wacky and out there, all the sort of facial expressions. My mom would be like, ‘Don’t roll your eyes at people.’ Now it’s to my benefit. I get to use all the weapons in my arsenal. It’s great.
MW: You just get to unlearn everything your mom taught you growing up basically.
RS: [Laughs] Totally.
MW: This week’s episode is titled “The Narrow Escape.” Can you tell us about what we’re going to see in this next chapter of the show?
RS: This episode was really fun. It sort of starts for me a really fun chapter for Alice because she finds herself in Arkham. Which if you know anything about the Batman universe it’s this notorious prison for the criminally insane. I really like it because we see she kind of crashes into all of these other villains from the universe and I think any fan of the comics is going to be so excited to see some of the people that she meets there. It’s also just interesting to see how she deals with being in a completely different environment. It’s one that’s not in her control in the way that being outside of Arkham was. That was really fun to do.
MW: Yeah for me that’s one of the coolest things in all the superhero universes is when the characters come together, and you see how they interact with each other. That’s a unique thing because a lot of other shows don’t have that.
RS: No, and especially for a character like Alice because she has interacted with a lot of other characters on the show. Aside from Batwoman they’re sort of civilians and don’t really match her level of insanity, her special level of insanity. But then you find her in Arkham and there’s people who really outdo her. It’s an interesting place for Alice to be in and it was really fun for me getting to do scenes with these other actors who were just taking it so far. To play off of that, I had a lot of fun.
MW: You were actually the subdued one in a scene for once.
RS: I was. I was chill dude. I was just with my butterfly knives chilling out.
MW: We touched on it a little bit earlier but with everything going on in the world right now, what does it mean to you to be able to be on this show and provide people an outlet, an escape, and get some entertainment?
RS: That’s such a lovely question and I’ve seen a lot of things about when the world finds itself in this circumstance how people turn to artists. I feel it is the great responsibility of an artist to be with people in dark times and to either reflect how they’re feeling or to uplift their spirits. Just to be on the show that people enjoy and be a part of making them smile even for an hour is an honor. Really and truly.
MW: And last question for you today, Paul Wesley directed this episode can you talk about what that experience was like?
RS: Paul was on The Vampire Diaries. I think I was the one person in the universe who did not watch The Vampire Diaries. Of course, I knew who he was but it’s always interesting meeting someone like that because you sort of think you know what to expect but you don’t at the same time. He totally exceeded even my highest expectations. He’s so lovely, such a beautiful creative. He was an actor, so he approaches directing from such an actor’s perspective. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t say enough nice things about Paul. How much time do you have? [laughs]
MW: A few more minutes.
RS: Alright well Paul also… no, I really, really loved working with him. It was one of the episodes that I just wish I had been there all day.
MW: Awesome, I can’t wait to see how that translates Sunday night. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today and all the best!
RS: Thanks, Matt! Same to you!
Tune in for new episodes of Batwoman, Sunday nights at 8/7c on The CW. Check your local listings for more information.