Actor Robin Lord Taylor says he has some "big webbed feet to fill" playing Penguin in the TV series Gotham.
In the origin story of Batman and the villains who rose to fight him, now screening on TV2, Taylor plays Oswald "Penguin" Cobblepot who has already been brilliantly brought to life by Danny DeVito in Batman Returns (1992) and Burgess Meredith in the 1960s TV series Batman.
It's Taylor's first major TV role and his challenge was to make the character his own. That was easier said than done.
Meredith put his stamp on the character with a signature laugh in the form of a bird squawking and DeVito brought a more sinister edge to the villain.
"In Tim Burton's Batman Returns, the Penguin is actually raised by penguins but we go about it in a bit more realistic way and stick closer to the comics," Taylor said.
"Danny DeVito's performance was fabulous and Burgess Meredith is fantastic and these two amazing actors brought different things to the character in their own way. So, I know I have some big webbed feet to fill."
Taylor had to develop a distinctive waddle, one that was far removed from Charlie Chaplin's character, The Tramp.
The reason behind Penguin's gait becomes clear as the series unfolds and Taylor said that was the starting point, for himself and co-creator Danny Cannon, to develop a walk with a difference.
"We do establish that he suffers an injury, which explains his peculiar gait and it's an actual physical injury and it makes a lot of sense," Taylor said.
"It's not some silly Charlie Chaplin thing. We worked on the walk together and it's realistic in the world we are creating."
Until being cast in Gotham, Taylor had drifted between TV series, movies and stage productions to keep his acting dream alive.
His list of screen credits include TV roles in The Walking Dead, Law & Order: Special Victims, The Good Wife, Person of Interest and Life on Mars.
But nothing compares to Gotham and playing Penguin for the Iowa-raised actor.
"I've auditioned for everything from commercials to small plays just to get something to maintain my health insurance," he said. "Up until now it's all been guest starring stuff where you work for a couple of days but this is my first series regular part and I'm still processing it."
Besides finding out how Oswald Cobblepot becomes Penguin and the origins of villains such as the Riddler, Poison Ivy and Catwoman, there's the back story to orphan Bruce Wayne (played by David Mazouz).
The hunt for the man who killed Wayne's parents is led by detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) who is also trying to rid Gotham City Police of corruption.
Gotham is a break for Taylor who said he could have easily passed up acting years ago because of the struggle to make ends meet.
"You spend so much time being unemployed and then you have one audition for the day and then you're like, 'okay what else do I do with my time'," he said. "The drain of it all is the downtime and staying motivated and not running back to my parents' house in Iowa and saying 'stuff it'."