On Aug. 20, BuzzFeed visited the set of Gotham in advance of the show's Season 2 premiere, so staff writer Alexis Nedd and BuzzFeed BFF video producer Jesse McLaren set up shop at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn.
1. BuzzFeed Goes Gotham! That has a nice ring to it. It sounds like a spin-off series where weirdo entertainment bloggers go nuts trying to cover a city beat that includes liquid bone drugs, clown sex, and the world's worst dating scene for anyone who doesn't want to be murdered.
2. It feels so strange that this bright, shiny building houses Gotham. Everyone looks so normal and chill with their T-shirts and tool belts, and nothing seems out of the ordinary except – HOLY CHEEKBONES, BATMAN! THAT'S JAMES FRAIN.
3. James Frain glitters. James Frain glows! He's just hanging out by craft services looking like he wants a Danish and yet he BURNS FROM THE INSIDE with the intensity of a dying star. Those are some serious #villaingoals.
4. There's an actual Gotham door that leads to the set, and stepping in from the well-lit, orange hallway into the Gotham City gloom is surreal AF. The lights are low and there are traces of smoke swirling around my feet... I feel myself physically transform into an intrepid, sassy reporter for the Gotham Times with an alliterative name and a dark past. This has all happened very quickly.
5. The first thing that pops into my head is, Wow, I am in EVERYONE'S way. There are so many people milling about that it's impossible not to be almost or literally stepping on another person. So much man (and woman) power goes into making this show, and to see it in action is hella impressive. Props to everyone behind the scenes.
6. So I know that this is a television set and Gotham is not an actual city, but it's really cool how close everything is in here. We walk through Penguin's apartment, the Galavan's dining room, and Wayne Manor in a matter of minutes. It's like everyone is a neighbor, except that's not how television works.
7. Officially speaking, the set for the cave under Wayne Manor is called "Thomas Wayne's Office." It really feels dank and cave-y, even with all the set lights and extra tools scattered around, and there's a cool seam of gold running from one end of the other. Wayne fortune: explained.
8. Also, keep an eye out next season for the rotary phone sitting on Thomas Wayne's desk. I'm not saying it's the future Batphone, but WHAT IF IT IS?
9. The Gotham people also mark their props with a little bat symbol, which is the cutest damn thing I've seen all day.
10. But seriously, we're in everyone's way. We really have to move somewhere less intrusive right now, so where on set would you find a large, empty room that a cadre of Gotham reporters could explore for a long time without getting bored?
11. IT'S GOTHAM P.D.! This place is cavernous. It's huge, with three tiers of set to hang out on and lots of little rooms to explore with amazing on-site details. They're letting us explore for as long as we want. JACKPOT!
12. Jesse had some fun in the holding cells (remember Penguin's Season 1 stint in the lockup?).
13. I found a cop with a very unwieldy hobby.
14. We even poked around the corner and took a look at Nygma's lab and Kris Kringle's office.
15. Right when I get comfortable kicking back in central booking, I see him. Towering. Suited. Intimidating. Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell) is in the building.
16. ...and he is hugging me. This is not a drill: Drew Powell is giving me a hug and he smells like a handsome library and I can barely hide how little chill I have about what is going on around my body right now. Butch gives good hug!
17. I'm actually here to do a job, which is to "interview" some cast members about Gotham and the upcoming season. Seeing as I work for BuzzFeed, I have very loosely interpreted the word "interview" to mean "teach Drew Powell how to Nae Nae, make dubsmashes, and do cool Vines with the cast." You know, for work.
18. To his credit, Drew Powell takes to the dance like a man born to Whip and be observed in the process of his Nae Nae. I am delighted with his progress.
19. Next I talk to Camren Bicondova, who plays Selina Kyle on the show. Here are three probably true facts about Camren Bicondova that I made up in my head over the course of our conversation.
• Most people don't look as flawless in person as they do on TV, but Camren does because part of her DNA is actually just magic.
• When the creators of the world were assigning cool points to everyone, there was a computer glitch and Camren ended up with 17 times the maximum allotment of human coolness.
• She is so nice that birds, squirrels, and other woodland creatures gather at her feet just to watch her dance.
20. Because I'm a cornball, I ask her a leading question about whether or not Selina and Bruce have any "bad blood" after the events of last season...all of a sudden my hand slipped and...
21. They're kicking us off the Gotham P.D. set now. Farewell, Nygma's lab. Farewell, cool staircases. Farewell, Eric and Sharon, the two fake cops I saw in a picture on the wall and who I decided arbitrarily were my favorites.
22. OK, we're moving on to Stage 2, where James Frain (Theo Galavan), Jessica Lucas (Tabitha Galavan), David Mazouz (Bruce Wayne), and Natalie Alyn Lind (Silver St. Cloud) are shooting a fancy dinner party scene.
23. While they're shooting, all of the reporters are supposed to stand to the side and be veeeery quiet, which I am totally fine with and prepared for. My phone is on silent, my heels are muffled. I'm not even chewing gum.
24. FUN FACT: Dubsmash doesn't give a FUCK if your phone is on silent, it's gonna blast shit when it feels like it. And that's how I got to watch James Frain and Jessica Lucas react in real time, on camera, to "'CAUSE BABY NOW WE GOT BAD BLOOD" blasting on set in the middle of a very dramatic take.
25. Have you ever had an entire crew of the people who make one of your favorite television shows turn around in unison to glare at you? Have you ever glimpsed murder in the eyes of people who don't know your name? I have. I still do. It's what I see whenever I close my eyes.
26. Anyway, so that happened and I felt like dying, but I manage to ~shake it off~ in time for my interview with David Mazouz, who is the most poised 14-year-old I've ever met. Seriously, David has "being a total adult" on lock, more so than I and most of my friends do. So much chill.
27. And then Jesse asks David to do a Christian Bale Batman voice and my life is complete. It's a really good impression, look!
28. I'm almost wrapped. My last interview is supposed to be with James Frain and Jessica Lucas, but at the last minute, James mysteriously disappears from set. No, really. They are looking and he cannot be found.
29. My personal theory is that he finally absconded into the ether to become a part of the night, finally giving himself to the incorporeal darkness from whence he came, but I don't tell anyone that.
30. Luckily, Natalie Alyn Lind and Jessica Lucas are hanging out between takes, so I improvised so I could talk to both of them, and Natalie is down to counter Camren's "Bad Blood" with "Blank Space." If Season 2 rumors of Silver and Bruce having a teen romance are true, then Bruce better watch himself. These girls ain't playin'.
31. Now it really is time for Jesse and me to pack up and go. We head out through the hallway of the Arkham Asylum set, which might be the creepiest way to exeunt Gotham, but it seemed fitting after a day of literally chillin' with the villains.
32. I run into Drew Powell again on my way out and get a hug and fist bump for the road. That guy is so cool.
33. And that's it. That's what it's like to be on the set of Gotham. It's a weird, wonderful, busy, spooky, friendly place, and from what I can see of their work, Season 2 is going to be face-meltingly awesome. Rise, villains, rise!