Rachel Skarsten of Batwoman on the season finale and what’s next for Alice


One of the things that defines the Arrowverse series Batwoman apart from his bad guy. Alice, played by Rachel Skarsten, has been fascinating and unpredictable since its introduction. Alice is as likely to kill someone as she is to save them, and as the lost twin sister of Batwoman’s alter-ego, Kate Kane, she has been both an opponent and an ally of the super hero. Throughout the series, Skarsten gave a complex and nuanced performance, and as a result, Alice quickly became a fan-favorite character.

While the season finale is about to hit the small screen and Alice has already confirmed her return for season 2, Skarsten spoke to CBR about the development of her unstable character, what we can expect from her. ‘Alice next season and if she thinks Alice can be bought out.

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CBR: How did you create and build his character?

Rachel Skarsten: It’s funny because when I did the initial audition, I really didn’t know who I was auditioning for. It was a different name. It was [an audition scene] that they just invented…. And they gave me no context beyond what it was for Batwoman what the Joker is for Batman. And so my first reflex was not to try to reproduce what the brilliant actors who played The Joker did. And I was just doing it with an actor friend, and so we just had fun, we did two takes [for an audition tape], we sent them back. And they liked it very much.

And then I worked with [showrunner] Caroline [Dries] a bunch, and you know, we got smaller and smaller. But one of the things I feel is Alice – I always feel that the characters find me, I don’t necessarily find them. And when I got the part, I was so excited and I said to all my friends and I explained Alice to them, and each one of them was like, “This part is perfect for you. “And I was so touched by that, but at the same time, I said to myself,” She’s a psychopathic killer, so it’s weird. “

But I think my main thing for Alice was that, for me, the craziest characters, or the craziest human beings, are those who have a facade of normality and can be very grounded and perfectly, perfectly normal when you speak one minute, then the next, they turn you around in a completely different tone, be it anger, sadness, or happiness. And so you’re still just a little bit offbeat. And the writers write it down so well for me to do it. But it was kind of crazy to me that I wanted to find Alice’s place, and I hope I was able to do it.

Throughout the season, whether she wants to reconcile with them or want to kill them, Alice’s only constant trait is this obsession with her family, especially her twin sister, Kate. How do you keep it fresh and interesting?

I think the thing for Alice is that it’s still her central focus and obsession, but the overall focus is changing. So at the beginning, you know, she was obsessed with bringing Kate to be with her and that they would be reunited … and that they would lead Gotham together. And she was obsessed with it. Well, of course, Kate leaves her with Arkham, and I felt at that point that her obsession changed, and she was still obsessed with Kate but it had become an obsession with destroying her. And so I didn’t feel like I had to play the same tone in terms of how this obsession plays out for Alice, just the fact that she is, in fact, there.

You also played Beth this season. How was it to build the right version of your character?

So, we get the scripts a few days before we start shooting and I usually try to read it the night before, because I like to stay focused on the script we’re currently working on. And Cam[rus Johnson], who plays Luke [Fox], he reads them earlier. He called me and said, “They wrote Beth. She’s you, except a lot smarter because she’s an astrophysicist. And I was like, “Thank you, man. But it was a real challenge for me and a real concern for me, because not only was I playing the two characters in the series, but I was actually going to have them in a scene together. And to suspend reality enough for an audience when you act against yourself, to make it appear that they are, in fact, two separate human beings, I have never done this before and I was very nervous about it .

So obviously my voice is pretty much my usual voice for Alice, so I knew I couldn’t count on my voice to change it. The costumes were different, but that’s not enough. But one of the things in construction [Beth] on which I worked a lot was his physicality because I just feel that a lot of human interactions are non-verbal. And Lucille Ball is one of my favorite actresses of all time, I felt [she] did physics so well, albeit in comedy, but it just adds, in my opinion, so many layers to a character. And so it was quite easy to have a very different physicality for Beth and for Alice, and I think it worked well, especially in this scene, differentiating them.

So, unfortunately, the season ended quite unexpectedly. Were you disappointed to find that you couldn’t play the rest of the season as planned?

I think I kind of had the end of the stick on this because it [finale] episode has Alice up to so many interesting things. And while it wasn’t the planned cliffhanger of the season, this episode hatched a fantastic cliffhanger at the end, so it lends itself very well to being a season finale. And I was really excited to be able to be part of it.

There is also another really important thing that happens to Alice, a decision that really changes the trajectory she takes outside of the cliffhanger. So to be honest, it looked a lot like a good candidate for a season finale for Alice. But, of course, I would have liked to see all the intrigue ending as planned by Caroline, because I became a big fan of Caroline’s imagination.

Can you tease everything we could expect from Alice next season?

I can. … Obviously, we really explored the backdrop of what happened to Beth after the accident, and how she got through her psychological break and when that break occurs. So she burns the Queen of Hearts, and it stops there. But there’s still the whole story, which Caroline is going to deepen next season, for Alice with how did she become Alice, how did she become the gang leader? It is one thing to stand up to a grandmother, but it is another thing to have the physical ability, the fighting ability that she does and all that.

And then we also teased him a little bit this season with Safiyah and Coryana, and we’re going to deepen that relationship for Alice. She’s really the only person I think Alice is really scared of, so it’s going to be very interesting too.

Lots of bad guys from Arrowverse are around a season and then they’re done. Do you expect to be able to continue to appear on Batwoman long term?

… I think the best bad guys obviously have many layers and many possibilities, and Batwoman did it so beautifully, I think, for me. I am truly grateful. You know, my story is not just about promoting the hero’s story, it’s really his own kind of story that’s also told. You never know as an actor how long they will keep you. I know I will be there for the second season, and how long they will keep me after that is in their discussion.

I do not know. It’s hard to say because there are also, in the comics, there are different versions of [Alice]. In one version, I think she dies, in another, she becomes Red Alice and she sort of oscillates between good and evil. And that’s really how they choose it. But to be honest, although I would love to stay on the show, I’m also a big fan of playing a character that best serves the overall storyline. This is one of the reasons why I like The walking dead, for example, because they’re fearless and kill people their fans really liked, and that raises the stakes for the show. And I felt like we did this with Elizabeth [Anweis]Character, Catherine Hamilton. And, that’s just every fight scene, every just that high-stakes game. So I’m open to anything that best serves the show…

Many fans still remember you as Dinah Lance on Birds of prey. What did it mean for you to return to the DC universe now Batwoman?

It was a very nice homecoming. You know, when I was Birds of prey, I was not at all prepared for this experience. I just did theater for fun … and I was screened in the very adult world. And I moved to Los Angeles from Toronto, I was away from my family, working long hours and trying to go to school and everything. And everyone was so adorable on this show, and I have fond memories of it.

But when I left Birds of prey, I wanted to go to university. And so I left, I went to school, and I remember so many people who told me in the trade, if you leave for four years and you don’t act, if you want to come back, you don’t never go back to this point. It’s going to be really hard to go back to doing something like this.

So it was kind of a personal victory, to come back to Warner Bros., come back to work with the whole family at Warner Bros. and DC and have that kind of second chance to start over. And it’s really just a nice full circle experience for me. And all the more so that the head of Warner Bros., Peter Roth, is the same head of Warner Bros. who was there when I booked Birds of prey. And it was so nice to be able to come back to this family because it’s really a very good family.

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Lots of people were really excited to see Ashley Scott’s hunter in this season’s Arrowverse crossover, “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. Any chance you know about her or the other characters in Birds of prey could invite Batwoman, maybe like someone Alice knows?

I hope. Ashley Scott, I will say she was like a big sister when I filmed Birds of prey. I just feel compelled to tell everyone I talk to to anyone raising Ashley Scott what a friend she is. I remember a case where I liked this pair of pants she wore – I mean, she was 25, I was 16, so it was the coolest thing I ever had met – and I came the next day and my trailer was the same pair of pants my size she bought me. She’s just the kind of person she is.

So when she was going to come and be in “crisis,” I really wanted her to be Batwoman. She is in Radiance, but I had the opportunity to spend time with her in Vancouver and it felt like time hadn’t passed at all, and it was so nice to be with her. So yes, I’m campaigning for her to come back. And Dina [Meyer] I love Dina too.

Last question: in your opinion, is Alice refundable?

Yes, that’s a good question. I do not know. But the way I played it, so the way I see it, is absolutely. Do I want it redeemed? No, because she is so much more fun playing evil. But of course. I think that’s what makes it so interesting. I think that’s what makes people take root for her is that – of course, it’s taken to the extreme, the dark side of it – but we all have good and bad in we. And I think whenever you look at a bad character, and you see the possibility of redemption, you can relate to it and root it because we root ourselves, you know? And so, 100%, that’s always how I see Alice and how I want to represent her.

Created by Caroline Dries and developed by Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Batwoman stars Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Elizabeth Anweis and Nicole Kang. The series airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET / PT on The CW.

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