The actress looks back on her role as Poison Ivy as her newest series debuts on Apple TV+.
Ever since Uma Thurman made a splash with her recurring role on the short-lived musical series Smash, she’s been a welcome presence on TV, with notable parts on Chambers, Imposters, and The Slap. Now, several years later, she’s back on the small screen with the Apple TV+ thriller Suspicion, which will be followed closely by her turn as Arianna Huffington on Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber.
On Suspicion, led by showrunner and executive producer Rob Williams, Thurman plays American businesswoman Katherine Newman, whose son has been kidnapped from a New York City hotel.
“The conflict that the character has is the unthinkable, right? It’s the unimaginable,” Thurman, who is a mother of three, including Maya Hawke, tells ET’s Matt Cohen of putting herself in the same situation as her character. “In fact, as an actor, sometimes you borrow from your real life. I couldn’t bring myself to borrow really from my own life. It’s too horrifying to imagine being blackmailed through damage, risk, or injury to your child.”
An element adding to the frightening nature of the situation for Thurman are the rubber face masks modeled after the royal family that the kidnappers wear. “I find all masks scary, to tell you the truth,” the actress admits. “Whenever someone has a rubber face, there is something really bad going on.”
Her son's mysterious abduction is only the beginning. What soon follows is a twist-filled, trans-Atlantic game of cat and mouse as authorities chase down four British citizens who were in the building during the night in question as they try to figure out a way to prove their innocence.
“It definitely kept me guessing,” Thurman says of all the different storylines that are eventually woven together until the truth is finally revealed. “I have to give enormous credit to Rob Williams… It’s definitely a feat of narrative crochet and it was kind of astonishing to pull off.”
While speaking about the series, Thurman also reflected on another mask-filled project, Batman & Robin, which came out 25 years ago in June 1997.
In the superhero sequel helmed by Joel Schumacher, the actress played Poison Ivy alongside George Clooney as Batman, Chris O’Donnell as Robin, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger as the other main villain, Mr. Freeze.
Due to the poor reception at the time, it was the final installment in Tim Burton and Schumacher’s four-film run before the franchise got rebooted with Batman Begins in 2005. Yet, Thurman largely escaped unscathed thanks to a performance, which the New York Times wrote, “is perfect... Like Mae West, she mixes true femininity with the winking womanliness of a drag queen.”
“Oh my goodness, that’s amazing,” Thurman says of the upcoming anniversary, before adding, “I was just talking about Joel Schumacher, the director who is a friend I love so much. ... I loved Joel Schumacher.” The director died at 80 years old in June 2020.
Thurman adds, “That was a fantastic experience. I had to wear lots of rubber suits.” And lucky for her, “I did not have a rubber mask,” she continues. “I had my own face. But I had some rubber appliances on my face sometimes. That was about as much rubber as I've ever worked with, personally.”
Suspicion premieres Friday, Feb. 4 with two episodes followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday,