Colin Farrell ‘Fought Valiantly for a Cigar’ as Penguin in ‘The Batman’ Despite Studio’s Smoking Ban

Farrell, who plays Batman villain The Penguin, was not happy that Warner Bros. kept the character from smoking his trademark cigars.
THE BATMAN, Colin Farrell, as Oswald Cobblepot / the Penguin, 2022.  © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection
Colin Farrell in "The Batman"
Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

While Paul Dano’s take on The Riddler will be the Dark Knight’s primary foe in “The Batman,” at least one more iconic Batman villain will make an appearance in the film. Colin Farrell is playing The Penguin, and early footage from the film shows the “In Bruges” star looking unrecognizable under layers of prosthetics. But while Farrell looks very different than the way movie fans are used to seeing him, the character of The Penguin will look different as well. The Penguin is in part best known for smoking cigars in the Batman comic books, but Farrell’s portrayal of him does not smoke. But that was not for lack of trying on the actor’s part, despite Warner Bros.’ ban on smoking in a PG-13 movie. (Disney similarly disallowed Emma Stone from smoking to play Cruella in its recent live-action movie.)

In a recent interview with the YouTube channel “Jake’s Takes,” Farrell revealed that he repeatedly asked Warner Bros. to let his character smoke cigars, but the studio would not relent. “Big studios make big decisions around such things as the presence of cigarettes in films,” he said. “I fought valiantly for a cigar. At one stage I said, ‘I can have it unlit! Just let me have it unlit.’ They were like, ‘No.’ [As if] a bunch of 12-year-olds are going to start smoking Cuban cigars because [the Penguin is smoking cigars in a movie].”

While Farrell is disappointed that his Penguin will not smoke cigars, the character’s appearance in the upcoming film is so brief that he may not have had time to finish one. While The Penguin will play an important role in Warner Bros.’ Batman universe moving forward, Farrell only appears in “The Batman” for roughly nine minutes. “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,” the actor joked.

But fans of Farrell’s performance will not have long to wait, as an HBO Max spinoff series about Farrell’s Penguin is already in the works. According to Farrell, the series, which seems to be an origin story along the lines of “Scarface,” will “get into what made him the man he is. And also, it will pick up where this film finished off.”

“The Batman” hits theaters on March 4.
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