Perhaps the most startling aspect of Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” to emerge when the first footage premiered online over a year ago was the transformation of Colin Farrell into the Penguin. In the new spin on the Dark Knight franchise led by Robert Pattinson in the starring role, Farrell is unrecognizable as the iconic DC villain, here given a more grounded look than, say, Danny DeVito’s ink-spewing incarnation in Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns.”
As Colin Farrell explained recently on the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Collider), putting on weight for Andrew Haigh’s AMC+ series “The North Water” didn’t exactly inspire him to want to gain the pounds all over again. And so, the Farrell you see in “The Batman” is actually fitted into a cleverly designed fat suit as opposed to the more method approach of weight gain.
“Mike Marino is a genius,” Farrell said of the makeup artist working on the film. “He’s an absolute and veritable genius. And that word gets thrown out a lot, but he is a drawing, sculpting, shaping genius. And he created this visage for the Penguin. I mean he and Matt talked about what physically the character stature would be, and I had been quite big for ‘The North Water’ and I didn’t want to naturally go big again cause I had a few little health things as a result of ‘The North Water’ and I was just like, f-ck, this acting thing ain’t this important. I know the top actors that go up and down, and God bless them, I wish them good health. But for me, I think ‘The North Water’ is the last time I’ll go up that much. So, we decided on a fat suit.”
Matt Reeves’ new film is filled with iconic Batman characters including Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), Riddler (Paul Dano), and more, but as Farrell explained, don’t expect too much screen time with the Penguin.
“I’m only in it for five or six scenes, so I can’t wait to see the film because it won’t be ruined by my presence. Really, it’s a freebie to me. I’ll get a little bit uncomfortable for the f-ing nine minutes I have, and then the rest of it, I cannot wait to see how he [Reeves] brought this world to life,” he said.
In self-effacing fashion, Farrell doesn’t want anyone to get too hyped for his performance as the Penguin, but says you should definitely be impressed with Marino’s makeup work.
“Look, I only had, as I said, five or six scenes, or seven scenes, and I wasn’t quite… I was up here early stages, looking at what I felt, what I could do, what I could bring to it. I was a bit lost. And then, when I saw what Mike did, the whole character made sense to me. I swear to God, I saw what he did, and I just went ‘OK,’ and I got really excited about it. All that to say that if anyone ever thinks what I do at ‘The Batman’ is a decent performance, I’ll gladly take 49% of the credits.”
“The Batman” opens March 4, 2022.