Why Gotham's Cameron Monaghan Likes Jerome's Crazy Makeup So Much

gotham season 4 jerome arkham
(Image credit: Image courtesy of Fox)

Jerome Valeska has been one of the wildest and most unpredictable characters on Gotham to date, so much so that many fans still can't help but believe that he's the Joker. Jerome has gone through a lot of changes over the years, including death, coming back, having his face cut off, and then stapling it back on. Due to all the changes in Jerome's appearance, actor Cameron Monaghan has to wear some pretty intense makeup to play the character. Monaghan spoke with CinemaBlend's own Nick Venable about Gotham. He teased a new look coming for Jerome and had this to say about the Jerome makeup we've come to expect:

It's fun. I think that there's something really amazing about being able to physically transform and become somewhat horrifying to look at with this character. It can add freedom within the performance to embrace and be more broad in voice and behavior and all these things that, I think, would be more difficult if he was a guy who looked exactly like me, and I wasn't wearing any sort of crazy outfit, or if I didn't have any makeup on.

The crazy makeup for Jerome evidently helps Cameron Monaghan get into character for Gotham. Jerome obviously looks about as bonkers as anybody in Arkham, and he's never exactly dressed in conventional clothing. Monaghan can go over-the-top to play this character in a way that he really can't for other roles, and his look as Jerome makes the whole process more fun. Throw in the insane laugh that Monaghan has mastered, and it's easy to see why Gotham fans compare him to the Joker. Jerome is easily one of the most iconic Gotham villains so far.

Despite the fact that Jerome in Season 4 has the accumulated injuries and scars of the earlier years of the show, Cameron Monaghan revealed that the makeup in Season 3 was actually a lot more difficult. Jerome stapling his face back on posed some challenges. His face stapled on looked complicated enough; when it began bleeding and peeling off and sliding as we might expect of a stapled face, the makeup job got even more complex. He described the change for Season 4:

Now he's all sealed up in the fourth season. So we have one consistent look, and that look is still complex, and it still takes a couple of hours every morning to apply, and then 35 minutes or whatever to take it off at the end of every day. So it's not easy, per se, but I like having something like that for a character as unique and broad as this guy, to kind of help me access the character.

Judging by Cameron Monaghan's comments, it sounds like the Jerome we know and love won't go through a lot of facial changes during his arc in Season 4. His time in Arkham seems to have given him the time to heal as much as one can with a stapled-on face, and not even Jerome is crazy enough to necessarily damage his own face for no particular reason. Besides, Jerome is bonkers enough without a face falling off. It still takes a while for the makeup to be applied and then removed, but Monaghan doesn't come across as bothered.

All of this said, Cameron Monaghan also seems to hint that he could play a second role in addition to Jerome in Season 4, which was recently teased by actress Morena Baccarin. Whether or not we'll see Monaghan as another character in addition to Jerome, we will apparently see Jerome looking different. Monaghan described what's to come without delving into spoilers:

We also have a new makeup look on the show, that I won't say exactly what it is. But that's gonna be exciting in its own sense. That's really, really cool. It allowed me a new freedom in my own way, and it's completely evolved. And I can't wait for people to see what that looks like, and say, 'Man, that's freakin' cool.'

We'll have to wait and see what's in store next for Jerome (and Cameron Monaghan) on Gotham. New episodes air on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. The show may be adapting a huge Batman comic storyline for the end of the season, so be sure to tune in. For more TV options now and in the not-too-distant future, take a look at our midseason TV premiere guide and our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.