Robin Lord Taylor on Leaving 'Gotham' Behind for 'Mandela Effect' and 'You' Season 2 (Exclusive)

Robin Lord Taylor
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Fresh off his breakout role as the Penguin on 'Gotham,' the actor is ready to try something new.

Fresh off his breakout role as Oswald Cobblepot on five seasons of Gotham, Robin Lord Taylor is more than ready to try something new as an actor. While he says there were still more stories to explore on the FOX drama -- calling the ending premature -- “it's just so nice to be able to also step into different characters and play someone who approaches life with gentleness and acceptance and openness,” Taylor tells ET, referring to his new movie, The Mandela Effect.

Written and directed by David Guy Levy (Would You Rather), the psychological thriller follows a grief-stricken man (Charlie Hofheimer) who becomes obsessed with facts and events that have been collectively misremembered by thousands of people leading him to question his own reality. “It’s a story of a family that suffers real, genuine loss,” Taylor says. 

In the film, he plays the man’s sympathetic brother. Notably, the character notably doesn’t kill anyone nor does he have to die, the actor points out with a laugh, referring to his years as one of Gotham’s main villains as well as past roles on shows like The Walking Dead, in which he was killed off.  

Though, Taylor’s quick to point out that he’s grateful for the series. “It afforded me the opportunity to take projects that were interesting and exciting while not worrying about about paying my mortgage… I feel so fortunate in that way,” he says. “But, again, I want to do all different kinds of things.”

In addition to The Mandela Effect, the actor gets to explore a completely new character on season two of You, which returns to Netflix on Dec. 26. 

The hit series sees serial killer Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) leaving New York City behind for Los Angeles, where he unexpectedly comes across a whole new obsession. On the new season, Taylor plays Will, who was described as “a thoughtful, personable, and highly intelligent guy who marches to the beat of his own drummer” when his role was first announced

“He's incredibly good at reading people,” Taylor says of the mysterious part. “He has an intuitiveness and empathy about him that I think he uses very effectively.” There’s also softness to Will that lets him connect with others, he adds.  

The actor’s appearance on the show will look notably different not that he was finally able to shed the distinct jet-black dye-job he sported for Gotham and he's also seen wearing in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. “I literally buzzed off all of that black hair like a couple of weeks before You started,” Taylor says of the dramatic change, which afforded him some anonymity from fans familiar with former TV persona. 

But that will soon change once the series returns. You, like Gotham, comes with its own intense fandom. “From what I hear, the show is pretty popular and people are pretty obsessed with it,” Taylor chuckles. “So, I would say I'm completely in denial about the entire thing.”

Meanwhile, when it came to working on You, much like The Mandela Effect, the actor just threw himself into the experience. “I loved it,” Taylor says. “ It’s just so different, you know, physically and emotionally from everything I’ve been doing for the past five years.”

The Mandela Effect is now in select theaters and VOD.