‘Batwoman’ Asked Villain Rachel Skarsten ‘Can You Be Crazier?’

All the villains of Gotham City are flamboyant. Batman faces The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn and many more. Now Kate Kane is picking up the mantle as Batwoman to save Gotham City and she has all new flamboyant villains to face. Rachel Skarsten plays Batwoman (Ruby Rose)’s primary adversary Alice.

Alice and Batwoman
Rachel Skarsten as Alice and Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman | Kimberley French/The CW

Alice believes she is Alice from Alice in Wonderland and she seems to take after the Mad Hatter. Skarsten spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet before Batwoman’s panel for the Television Critics Association this summer. We’ll have more with Skarsten and the cast of Batwoman at Showbiz Cheat Sheet. Batwoman premieres Sunday, October 6 at 8 p.m. on The CW.

When ‘Batwoman’ gave Rachel Skarsten permission to go crazier

When Rachel Skarsten made a video audition for Batwoman, she was worried she went too far.

“I actually made a tape,” Skarsten said. “I was in Toronto. I was with a friend of mine when I got the audition and there was such little context to it that I just, and I was with my friend and we were sitting in my house so I just kind of had fun with it. I remember sending it off being like well, I don’t know how that went. Then they called the next day and they were like oh, we want you to come in and meet the creator.”

When Skarsten met Batwoman show runner Caroline Dries, she learned she hadn’t gone far enough yet!

Rachel Skarsten in Batwoman | Jeffery Garland/The CW

“Honestly, I wore this big faux fur jacket and I was a bit nuts in my audition,” Skarsten said. “Then I went in and I still didn’t really know who I was playing or anything like that. I did it and then I remember Caroline said to me, ‘Can you be crazier?’ And I was like, ‘Lady, you’ve come to the right place. Can I be crazier? Yeah. Only my dream come true.’”

What’s even crazier in ‘Batwoman’?

Alice was a rare opportunity for Rachel Skarsten. Most roles require things like subtlety.

“I was like nuts. I was going all over the room, laughing hysterically. Then we played around with it a lot but it wasn’t hard. It was actually so much fun because as an actor, normally, you’re going in and it’s a pretty back and forth or you’re crying or you’re doing something like that. Never do you go into a room and they’re like, ‘Hey, can you just make a meal out of this?’  So I actually feel that I get to be so incredibly creative with Alice and that is really cool.”

Rachel Skarsten, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 8/4/19

There is a line that’s still too far

The Batwoman audition was very rewarding for Rachel Skarsten. Now that she’s playing Alice every week, she’s careful not to go too far.

“That’s the problem with playing crazy,” Skarsten said. “You can go too far. Alice has a very specific purpose in her mayhem.”

(L-R): Ruby Rose as Kate Kane and Rachel Skarsten as Alice in Batwoman | Katie Yu/The CW

That purpose involves Batwoman and Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy), a Crow Security agent and former girlfriend of Kate Kane. 

“I think that there are no real rules for her so anyone outside these two characters in the show that she has a very strong attention for, it’s all collateral,” Skarsten said. “But for those two, I think that there are boundaries and lines that she would not cross as to not harm them because she has a very specific intention and purpose for them.”

Alice is the most dangerous kind of unstable

Although the Alice in Wonderland motif makes her pretty flamboyant, Skarsten says the moments of humanity make Alice all the more unpredictable.

“I think for me, the craziest characters, craziest people are the ones in which you never really know what they’re going to do,” Skarsten said. “Sometimes you think that they’re totally normal. Have you ever met someone and they’re like a great person and this is awesome and they do something so wacky and douchey to you and you’re like oh my gosh, I didn’t see that coming. That’s crazy to me.”

Rachel Skarsten in Batwoman
Rachel Skarsten iin Batwoman | Kimberley French/The CW

Alice gives Skarsten that opportunity.

“I really loved playing Alice where in lots of instances you think oh, you’re just a normal person and then boom, she kills someone,” Skarsten said. “That kind of reaction is what I’ve been trying to play. I think the craziness needs to be grounded in reality and in a real person. So we’ll see how I do. I’m sure the audience will tell me.”