GOTHAM: Michelle Veintimilla in the “Rise of the Villains: Scarification” episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, Oct. 19 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Exclusive Interview: Michelle Veintimilla Talks GOTHAM & “Firefly”

FOX’s Season 2 of Gotham is on fire… Literally.   The show has introduced many classic villains from the legendary DC Comics to live action and has done a great job with them. The latest comes in the form of actress Michelle Veintimilla who plays super-villain / vigilante, “Firefly. ”

Z2cnBIyfI had a chance to interview Veintimilla and she gave me a bit of the insight of what it’s like to be part of Gotham. Plus, she shared her thoughts on the character and much more!

Here’s how it went.

Louis Love: I love what you’re doing, I love your presence on the show. Were you a fan of comics before getting this gig?

Michelle Veintimilla: Honestly, it’s not that I wasn’t a fan, but I didn’t really read the comics growing up. The comic, the DC Comic world, became a really big zinger in the 50s. That’s when my parents grew up, so they were really into it. When I was auditioning for it they clued me in on a ton of it. When I finally got the role, I did a lot of research and all that stuff. I love it now. I’m hooked.

Louis Love: You’re definitely doing it like a veteran by doing a good job. Can you explain a little bit about the relationship between Bridget, Firefly, and Selina Kyle-Catwoman?

Michelle Veintimilla: Yeah, they knew each other when they were young girls. They were both orphans and they knew each other when they were little. They sort of parted ways. When they re-encounter each other in these episodes they’re really surprised where the other one has ended up. I’m really taken by Selina’s independence and her strengths as a young woman in Gotham City. She’s really surprised to see me in such a vulnerable place and squashed by my brothers. She sees that in me and decides to help me out. Selina sort of marches to the beat of her own drum and does her own thing on the series. I think it was cool for her to have another female companion. They help each other out in that way.

Louis Love: Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that you would team up with Catwoman?

Michelle Veintimilla: No, I didn’t. It’s been so awesome. Camren, who plays Selina, is an incredible young woman on and off camera. She taught me a lot, especially since this was my first pretty big TV job. It’s the first time that I played a character to this extent. She taught me a lot about being on set. Her character teaches Bridget a lot. She teaches her, she encourages her to find her strengths, her voice, and puts all the skills she has to good use.

Louis Love: Speaking of, you touched upon that this is your first big job. This is the first time we see Firefly. How involved were you in molding this character to live-action? How did you come about creating her personality?

gotham_s02e06_michelle_veintimilla_stillMichelle Veintimilla: Well, when I found out I was playing Firefly, I immediately read up on the different incarnations of it. I think there are a few different ones. When I finally got the script and I got to set. I got to speak with the writers and the showrunners. They told me that they were doing their own take on it. They wanted it to be a fierce female. I was really nervous and daunted by it, but they gave me a lot of liberty.
I think her story, like me, Michelle’s story, is very similar to Bridget’s in that she, Bridget, is doing all these things for the first time. She’s learning how to … She’s dealing with fire for the first time. She’s seen it, but she’s never actually done it. This is my first big TV job and I’d never been on a set like that before. “Gotham” is such a huge show and such a big set. I was really nervous. I think in a lot of ways it was easy to connect with Bridget because I was doing a lot of things for the first time like she was.

Louis Love: How much of it is you in the suit? Doing your own stunts? Is that you?

Michelle Veintimilla: Yeah, it’s me. I do all my own stunts, all but one. You’ll know which one it is when you see it.

Louis Love: Also, how much of it it is real fire that you’re working with?

Michelle Veintimilla: I handled real fire on set. I have a real flamethrower on my back that throws real fire. My costume was actually completely fire-retardant since I was surrounded by real fire a lot. I was throwing real fire, interacting with it, and there were other people on set. I get tackled a ton with the flamethrower. I had to learn how to use it and the props guys are really great. They taught me and they practiced a ton before we actually went to shoot to make sure I didn’t kill anybody. Nobody got hurt and it ended up going well.

Louis Love: Well, that’s good. It could get rough there in Gotham City. I love the costume, the evolution of it ( that we see on the show ). How hard is it working with it on?

Michelle Veintimilla: It wasn’t hard, but it was very hot. I think I wore 4 layers of fire-retardant fabric. I have tights on and then I had a sweatsuit that was fire-retardant. Then another suit over that and then the actual costume, which was also fire-retardant. We shot these episodes in, like, August. It was really, really hot. That’s the only problem with it, but other than that it was a lot of fun.

Louis Love: One thing on my bucket list is to actually one day check out the set with my own eyes. Could you talk a little bit about the set? It looks incredible through the television. How does “Gotham” look like in person?

Michelle Veintimilla: It looks a lot like the way it looks on television. It’s actually incredible the way they build the sets. The 2 episodes that I shot with them so far, we shot in every borough of New York. I shot in the Bronx. I shot in Washington Heights, Queens, and in Brooklyn. The studios are in Brooklyn and that’s where a lot of the stages are from the set. They build the sets on the stages. It looks very similar to the way it looks on-screen. It’s really elaborate. The crew has done an amazing job of building the sets. The lighting and the costumes. They all come together really well.

Louis Love: You said you filmed 2 episodes so far. Do you think Firefly is going to be more involved in this season, or maybe the next one?

Michelle Veintimilla: Yeah, I think she’ll definitely be more involved, especially since these 2 episodes are just her origin story. They track the story before she becomes the actual villain. If the fans are into it and it all works out, she will come back as a full-fledged villain.

Louis Love: Do you think she ( Firefly ) influences the style of hero or anti-hero Bruce Wayne becomes?

Michelle Veintimilla: I think Bruce Wayne is probably aware of what’s going on, or will become aware. I think for sure. I think it will influence him. I think all of Gotham City is really afraid of what’s going on because buildings are being set on fire and they don’t know at first who’s done it. I think this next episode is all about our protagonist, James Gordon, trying to track it down and figure out who it is. They find out it’s a female. It adds another cool little twist on it because I don’t think they expect it to be a female to be starting all these fires.

Louis Love: And a Latina female as well!

Michelle Veintimilla: Yeah, a Latina female! I feel really honored and lucky to get to represent the community as well.

Louis Love: Awesome! Do you speak Spanish as well?

Michelle Veintimilla: I do. My family came from Ecuador and we grew up on Long Island.

Louis Love: Okay, great! Thanks for spending your time here with Nuke the Fridge. Next time. please, try to burn that “Penguin” guy!

Michelle Veintimilla: I know. I’ll try. I’ll see what I can do!

Make sure to check out Gotham on FOX.

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