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Colin Farrell as Penguin in The Batman

Colin Farrell has played many different roles over the years, but usually you can tell right off the bat when he shows up. For The Batman, it was initially unclear if the first trailer for the upcoming DC Comics movie showed a quick glimpse of his version of Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin, or if that was someone else. Yes, he’s that unrecognizable in the role, and one of Farrell’s costars has a hilarious story about not realizing he was talking to the Penguin actor on The Batman’s set.

Along with confirming that he’s playing Gotham City mayor Don Mitchell in The Batman, The Strain and Black Sails star Rupert Penry-Jones talked about what his first interaction what Colin Farrell while working on The Batman was like during his appearance on This Morning. As Penry-Jones recalled:

I arrived on set and there was this guy walking around who was being so over confident. I had no idea who he was. He was being really friendly, he was telling all these stories, I was like, 'Who is this guy?' I thought he might've been a supporting actor [an extra to you and me]. He kept on talking to me, just really friendly, really nice, and I started noticing things about his costume. He had a brace on his leg and these weird scars on his face, and I thought, 'This is quite a lot of effort they've gone to for a supporting artist...' and suddenly I realized, 'Wait a minute this guy must be playing the Penguin, oh my God that's Colin Farrell!'

Although Colin Farrell gained some weight to play The Penguin, it’s the prosthetics that have drastically altered his appearance; a testament to The Batman’s makeup team. And Rupert Penry-Jones isn’t the only Batman actor who was thrown off by Farrell’s Penguin look. Jeffrey Wright, who plays James Gordon, recalled back in August 2020, shortly after The Batman’s trailer premiered at DC FanDome, about the time he passed by Farrell on set and did a double-take upon realizing it was him. Farrell’s Penguin might not look quite as outlandish as Danny DeVito’s version from Batman Returns, but it’s still a remarkable transformation.

The Batman marks The Penguin’s return to live-action film after a three-decade absence, though Robin Lord Taylor played a younger version of the character on the Fox series Gotham. With Paul Dano’s Riddler occupying the main antagonist position in The Batman, Colin Farrell’s Oswald Cobblepot is involved in the proceedings as a rising crime lord who doesn’t like being called The Penguin. It remains to be seen just how much Penguin will be featured in The Batman, although with two sequels already in development, plus an HBO Max prequel series centering on the Gotham City Police Department, it’s easy enough to envision Farrell reprising the role.

Along with the aforementioned actors, The Batman’s cast includes Robert Pattinson as the eponymous protagonist, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Coulson and Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál. In addition to directing, Matt Reeves co-wrote the script with Mattson Tomlin. Like the Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker, The Batman takes place in a separate reality from the DC Extended Universe, so don’t expect this Bat-franchise to get looped into any major crossovers.

The Batman is currently slated to cast its shadow in theaters on March 4, 2022, although we’ll be sure to let you know if the movie is delayed again. Don’t forget to keep track of other upcoming DC cinematic fare with our DC movies guide.

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