In our Exclusive Part III, DC Fans get another insight on the upcoming fan film, Nightwing “Prodigal”. Last week we had our second interview with Kylee Bush (Poison Ivy), while this week we go one on one with Florence Reiher who plays Oracle.
In the lead up to the film’s release (April 2014) DC Comics News will be publicising an exclusive interview with each of the main cast members and their corresponding characters.
The trailer is up on YouTube and is now at 191,402 hits. You can watch it here.
1. Florence, Thanks for making time to talk to DC Comics News. Can you give us a bio on yourself?
Of course! I was born in Montreal, Québec, and I was raised in Vancouver, BC. At a young age, I realized I liked to entertain, whether it was putting on some sort of variety show for my family or making people laugh in class. I grew up with artistic parents and did gymnastics & dance as a kid, so I’ve been surrounded by art since I was little. Early on in high school I joined the improv team, enrolled in drama classes and took part in school musicals and plays, so ever since then, my love for the arts has just continued to grow exponentially. I went to University for acting after graduating high school, without really giving it a second thought, so it became very clear to me that this is my true passion. I have diverse interests in the world of art, as I love music and writing, too. In my youth, I taught myself how to play guitar and piano and I’ve always enjoyed singing and composing. I’ve also been writing screenplays and scripts for a long time now. There are so many different avenues down which I would like to venture in the creative universe, so I really hope that I will get to explore all those fields at some point or another in my career.
2. How did you get into film and in particular film relating to the DC World?
I’ve always had a fascination with the medium of television and film, so when I got into acting, I immediately began to learn about it and grow fond of it. I didn’t have much experience with film until I attended University where I got to experiment with on-camera classes and student film projects, so that gave me a lot of motivation to continue exploring this art form. In regards to get into film relating to the DC world, I met Brady Roberts, Nightwing himself, at a casting director workshop; he told me about the webseries and suggested I audition, and the rest is history. Now that I’ve had a taste of this type of work, it’s only made me want to do more. The comic book world has so much to offer and I would love to pursue television and film work inspired by comic books or by stories of a similar nature.
3. If you could star in any type of Hollywood film, what would it be and why?
That’s a tough one. There are definitely so many genres that I want to tackle in my career that narrowing it down is difficult. Ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to be in a romantic comedy — I’m a sucker for those. I’ve also always wanted to do an action adventure film because the intense journey the audience is brought on is such a thrill and I would be so stoked to kick ass on screen. I’ve never done work in the style of horror/thriller, so that’s something that I’m really interested in trying out at some point. Honestly, I just want to delve into as many genres possible to help me grow as an actor and to become a diversified artist.
4. What is the connection you established with the character of Oracle, and what do you do to get into character pre shooting?
When I first read the script, I immediately identified with Oracle’s pert attitude and swift wit. Like myself, she speaks in a manner that is frank and to the point. She possesses admirable qualities, like her tech-savvy intelligence and dedicated perseverance. I was able to connect with this character due to the respect I have for her. Despite her misfortunes and what she’s been through, she’s made for herself an outcome where she is still able to use her strengths and abilities for a greater good. Calling on Oracle’s past and remembering the truth of what she’s lived helped me get into character; and with the help of our amazing make-up artist and wardrobe styling, looking into a mirror allowed me to see Oracle staring back.
5. There have been slightly different back stories etc with the character of Oracle, is there anyone in particular that relates to you and the film best?
I felt a strong relation to the back story involving a young Barbara Gordon fully submerging herself in the vigilante world, becoming obsessed with Batman. This obsession was so strong that it led her to study martial arts and to later adopt the alias of Batgirl. I felt that her wide-eyed, prodigious approach to her dream was easy to relate to since I believe we all experience that feeling of hope one gets when thinking of their deepest aspirations. Even more so, the tragedy that ensued later (The Joker shooting and paralyzing her) made her even more relatable as a character because she had suffered a tremendous calamity and was then forced to cope with the reality of it. This aspect of Oracle’s story was important for me to keep in mind, seeing as, with all her strength and mighty spunk, Oracle overcame this hardship, and took all that energy and put it back into helping solve crime in the city of Gotham. Surviving such adversities and coming out on top is a very commendable human quality.
6. Oracle and Batman in a few different story arcs have had a special bond given their background, can you explain to us the connection between Oracle and Nightwing?
The relationship between Oracle and Nightwing is a complicated one. Together, they used to be a couple but have since broken up. They are both headstrong, stubborn and confident characters, so they naturally butt heads. This makes for sarcastic exchanges and light, witty banter, but there are clearly some unsaid sentiments between the two of them. Especially since Dick Grayson begins to show interest in Theresa Thompkins, a newly created character for the Nightwing webseries, Oracle can’t help but feel bitter and resentful towards the both of them. Oracle’s hard exterior aside, she still cares for Dick Grayson, not only because it’s part of her job but because they have an extensive history. Having worked with each other for a long time, she can’t help but feel protective about him.
7. Given Batman is missing or gone, how did this affect or mould the role you played of Oracle?
Oracle is in the dark as to why Batman disappeared, so it does more than just worry her. She’s a skilled hacker; as a result, she’s used to knowing every little detail and being in control of information. Because she’s lacking data on his disappearance and is unable to locate his whereabouts, she feels a loss of control and a failure in her duties. Of course, a job still has to be done and she must refocus her energy to what she can control — she’s a professional. As an actor, these clues inform me that she has to keep it together as much as she can on the outside even though she feels helpless and fearful on the inside. It really added layers to the character and gave me more to work with.
8. Given Oracle is a computer genius, can you share with the fans the extent of your technical skills?
I’m all about PCs! I love my trusty desktop computer. I have nowhere near the acumen that Oracle possesses with computers, nor do I exhibit the same kind of dominance in the technical field, but I know my way around a computer. I grew up with a brother whose talents lie within the world of technology, as he now works as an electrical engineer, so I learned a lot from watching him work with computers and mechanics. Speed is definitely a skill in my tool box; I’m a quick learner and a fast solution-finder. Since technology is growing at such a rapid rate, I think there’s this pressure to keep up with it and adapt accordingly, so coinciding with Oracle’s skills, I have an agility that allows me to stay up to speed.
9. Can you share with us other work you have done in the past and any upcoming projects for the fans?
I’ve done some projects in the past and have things coming in the future, but you will just have to wait and see. If you’d like to stay updated you can like my facebook page, and you can also check out my youtube channel where I post fun videos!
DC Comics News would like to thank Florence for her time, we enjoyed the interview!