Ruby Rose is ready to be the hero Gotham deserves.
The Australian actress stars as Kate Kane, also known as the titular hero on The CW’s latest DC Comics-inspired series, “Batwoman”, and she sat down with ET’s Leanne Aguilera ahead of the show’s premiere on Sunday to open up about donning the iconic cape and cowl.
While Rose admitted that it can be a bit “nerve-wracking” taking on such a beloved character in the comic canon, there’s one major benefit that she sees working in her favor, right from the start: Her Batwoman is the first iteration of the character in a live-action television show or film.
“If you’re playing Batman, you’re playing Catwoman, you’re playing an iconic role from a comic that’s already been made into live-action, you sort of have to [walk] the fine line between paying homage to someone else that’s done it, but also differentiating and finding nuances that make it unique to you,” Rose explained.
“Being able to do this with a complete clean slate, and just really relying on the comics for where I’m going to grab character bits and nuances and things she does and things she says — and then obviously the writing, because ours is going to be a mixture of comics and also [executive producers] Caroline [Dries] and Sarah [Schecter] and all the producers and writers turning this into a full-fledged show that hopefully could go for a very long time — it’s fun when you get to build a character from the ground up. And it’s nerve-wracking when people already have an expectation of what that character looks like to them. It’s like a double-edged sword, but I’m having so much fun with it.”
In addition to being the first live-action Batwoman, Rose’s Caped Crusader will also be making history in another way — as the first lesbian lead character in a superhero show. As a performer who is openly gay and identifies as a genderfluid woman, the actress admits she “gets the question a lot” about how much it means to take on such a groundbreaking role, but says it’s not as crucial to shaping her portrayal as some might think.
“I get the gravity of it, I totally understand. It’s enormous and it’s groundbreaking, and it’s all of these things — ticking all these boxes that haven’t been ticked before,” she said. “But I kind of remove myself from that external idea of it — of what it is beyond the show — and just kind of [think], I’m in the character right now, and I’m in the show right now.”
“I think the thing that Caroline and I share the same thread in is, we wish that there was a show like this when we were young. And there wasn’t,” she continued. “So for me, it’s like, when I go to work every morning — or every night, depending on our schedules — I’m reminded that this is a show that I wish existed when I was young. And that gives me the purpose to go to work and that gives me that extra drive.”
“But once I’m at work, I’m just thinking about Kate and I’m thinking about Batwoman and I’m thinking about all different kinds of things. It’s larger than that for me, but at the same time, I’m so thrilled that we’re at a place in the world where this is even a possibility. Because five years ago, 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have been.”
So is there added pressure that comes with being an LGBTQ hero? “Not really,” Rose said.
“I’m gay. I was gay yesterday, I’ll be gay tomorrow, I’ll be gay next week. And now I play a gay character,” she explained. “It kind of doesn’t feel like, ‘Okay, now I’ve got to be, like, super gay. I’ve gotta be Batwoman gay, or Kate Kane gay.’ They’re not different versions of gay… It’s a diverse cast, there’s a lot of great things about it, and I don’t feel like we even play on that aspect, definitely not more than a heterosexual show.”
While stepping into her character’s sexuality wasn’t a pivotal moment for Rose, donning the Batsuit certainly was. The actress said the first time she tried on Batwoman’s version of the cape and cowl, it felt “incredible… like a second skin.”
“It’s so fun, at Halloween or kids’ parties, or whenever you dress up as your favorite character — but it’s sort of different when it’s a real suit,” she recalled. “No one else can wear that suit, it fits only me. And you put it on, and you have the belt and gauntlets, and you have the gloves and you have the different little gadgets that I have, the batarangs, and the cowl, it’s just… You kind of think you’re gonna feel funny, and then you actually put it on and you’re like, ‘Oh, I feel like I could go and fight crime.'”
Hype for the show is certainly starting to reach superhero levels, though the actress admitted that she doesn’t pay too much attention to the social media chatter. However, there is one aspect of the show she is excited to get fan feedback on.
“I am kind of excited to see who they’re gonna root for, relationship-wise, because I know that’s a very big aspect of what people get involved in in these shows,” she said. “I watched “Arrow”, and I was like, ‘Felicity! Oliver! Felicity! Oliver!’ I’m that person. So I’m stoked to see what people like, who they’re gonna gravitate towards.”
MORE FROM ET: