When the Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel) comes to “Gotham” in Season 3, he’s on a mission. The psychotic genius patterned after the Lewis Carroll character is searching for his sister — named Alice, of course — and will stop at nothing to track her down.
“His purpose is to find his sister and I think he’ll move hell and high earth to find her,” Samuel tells Zap2it during a visit to the set of “Gotham” in New York City.
The issue at hand though is that Alice — who will be played by Naian Gonzalez Norvind — doesn’t want to be found. Given what Benedict says his Hatter is like though, you can’t exactly blame her.
“There are so many pieces to him,” the actor teases. “There’s a child in there and there’s also a psychopath.”
A look at his inner sanctum, a set we toured that you can see below, certainly reassured that idea about the Hatter. With a heavy influence from the “Alice in Wonderland” version of the Mad Hatter — hence the table of cakes — along with with a very creepy collection of toys and dolls, it’s not hard to find this particular villain disturbing.
Then again, maybe he’s just misunderstood.
“A helpful thing for me has always been — this is from a great acting teacher Declan Donnellan — is this beautiful way of expressing how and why people do things that other people may not do,” Samuel says. “It’s a simple sentence that says, ‘I understand you, you don’t understand me.’ I feel the Mad Hatter certainly operates in that way.”
It’s this blurred line that’s helping Samuel live in this character, which already has a long history dating back to a 1948 issue of “Batman.” “All I need to do is focus on the work, the scenes, the moments,” he says. “And less about trying to put my own imprint on this character because the character is far bigger than I am.”
As for the Hatter’s plan when he finally finds his sister and how long the character will be sticking around in Season 3, not even Samuel knows.
“Nobody tells me anything,” he admits. “I think that’s what’s kind of interesting about this show. The audience feels important to the show and I feel like the producers and creators listen to them, with their finger on the pulse.”
“Gotham” returns Monday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.