Warner Bros. surprised comic book movie fans November 5 with the announcement Colin Farrell was joining the cast of Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” as the villainous Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin. The character was made famous on the big screen by Danny DeVito in Tim Burton’s 1992 superhero film “Batman Returns.” Robin Lord Taylor also memorably played the Penguin on Fox’s television drama “Gotham.” DeVito starred opposite Farrell in Burton’s live-action “Dumbo” earlier this year, so it’s not surprising the former Penguin is giving his enthusiastic blessing to the new Penguin.
“Colin’s a great actor,” DeVito recently told ScreenRant while promoting “Jumanji: The Next Level.” “He’s a good friend of mine. I’ve known him for many years and I think he’s going to do a great job as the Penguin. It’s going to be really interesting to see his take on it.”
Farrell was on nobody’s radar for the Penguin role in “The Batman.” Reports first pegged Jonah Hill as being offered the villain character, although rumor has it Hill was more interested in playing the Riddler than the Penguin. When talks with Hill fell through, Paul Dano boarded the Warner Bros. tentpole as the Riddler and Farrell was chosen as the Penguin. Farrell’s casting suggests Reeves’ iteration of Oswald Cobblepot will be far from either DeVito or Taylor’s portrayals.
Farrell’s casting makes him part of an impressive ensemble for “The Batman” that not only includes Paul Dano but also Robert Pattinson as Batman, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, and Andy Serkis as Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth. Reeves has mostly stayed quiet on “The Batman” and Warner Bros. has yet to disclose any information about the film’s plot. Early reports say “The Batman” is not an origin story like Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins.”
DeVito’s oversized take on the Penguin in “Batman Returns” earned him a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The extensive makeup work used for the character’s transformation helped “Batman Returns” land an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Makeup.
Warner Bros has already set a June 25, 2021 release date for “The Batman.” DeVito’s supporting turn in “Jumanji: The Next Level” hits the big screen December 13.