Colin Farrell is the latest actor to take on the role of Oswald Cobblepot, AKA Penguin, and his performance is receiving praise from a colleague who gave his own iconic portrayal of the character 30 years ago.
Matt Reeves’ The Batman offers a bit of a reinvention of The Penguin, doing away with the signature top hat, monocle, and umbrella. Reeves opted for a more grounded approach, making “Oz” a mobster working under Carmine Falcone.
It’s a stark contrast to the last time the character appeared in a feature film, which was 1992’s Batman Returns from Tim Burton. Danny DeVito played a version of Cobblepot that was a little closer to the comics counterpart, but that doesn’t mean the actor disapproves of Farrell’s modern reinvention.
GIVING LOVE FROM ONE PENGUIN TO ANOTHER
In a recent interview with TheWrap, DeVito gave Farrell’s approach to The Penguin a proverbial thumbs up.
“I thought Colin did a great job. Certainly a different milieu. I think it was a more edgy, serious, gangster-y Batman. But I feel like in terms of the performances, I thought Colin – who is a good buddy of mine – I think he did a great job in that. You take your hat off to anybody who sits in the makeup chair that long. I did it with The Penguin and loved it.”
Both actors had to undergo quite the transformation to become the character, but Farrell is practically unrecognizable in the role. While DeVito’s features still come across in Batman Returns despite the makeup, Farrell’s prosthetic work turned him into an almost completely different human being in The Batman. Add in his New York-inspired accent, it’s understandable if some movie-goers had no idea they were watching Colin Farrell play “Oz”.
Despite enjoying Farrell’s performance, however, DeVito told TheWrap that the realistic style of The Batman isn’t exactly his favorite.
“My feeling of comparing the two movies, I’m like a Tim Burton fan. I like the whimsical, the operatic, the disaffected Pee-wee Herman throws me off a bridge. That makes me smile. So it’s a different situation, but I did watch the movie.”
Batman Returns essentially doubled-down on the style of 1989’s Batman, but Tim Burton cranked it up to 11 in the sequel. More over the top characters, outlandish set pieces, and, of course, an army of penguins made for the perfect escalation from the first film. It’s certainly not a tone for everybody, but it pleased audiences of the time enough to rake in more than $162 million at the domestic box office.
While DeVito’s take on The Penguin worked for 1992, it’s understandable that Reeves and Farrell wanted to go a different route in 2022. If “Oz” was raised in the sewers and had a penguin-like body, it wouldn’t have worked at all with the gritty, crime-filled Gotham in The Batman. In fact, “Oz” doesn’t even like being called The Penguin, but that may change after where the character was left at the end of the film.
“Oz” was an important figure in the Falcone crime family, but he wasn’t the head man. With Falcone killed by The Riddler, there may be an opportunity for “Oz” to either step in and take control, or lead his own crew in an attempt to run Gotham’s underworld. Wherever that story ends up going, it will be getting its own spotlight, as HBO Max has ordered a series centered around The Penguin with Farrell in the lead.
There’s no word on when the series will begin production, but based off the success of The Batman, Warner Bros. Discovery may want to strike while the iron’s hot. The Batman has grossed more than $360 million domestically, and is the number one film worldwide this year.
What are your thoughts on Farrell’s performance? Are you excited to see him back in the role? Make sure to comment below, and follow us on social media to keep up to date with all the nerdy worlds you love.