It’s one thing to say an actor disappears into a role. It’s entirely another for an actor to be completely unrecognizable. In the case of Colin Farrell’s transformation into Penguin for The Batman, the latter is definitely true. If you need any further proof of exactly how effective his prosthetics were, just look at Kelly Clarkson’s reaction to seeing him in character for the first time.
When the first footage of Colin Farrell in The Batman showed up, fans were shocked – and not even completely sure that it was him. After all, we’re used to seeing the Dumbo star look ruggedly handsome, not pock-marked and menacing. Even though it’s been a while since that first glimpse, it seems like Kelly Clarkson never got around to checking it out. And when Colin Farrell showed her a picture of him from the movie during a visit to her eponymous show, she was floored:
The person in question is Mike Marino, the Batman SFX specialist responsible for the actor's Penguin prosthetics. The talk show host isn’t wrong – as she told the Fantastic Beasts alum later in the interview, he looks like a completely different human. Take a look at her full reaction here:
The singer and talk show host also wasn’t the only person to be confused by Colin Farrell’s Penguin look. The Batman’s own Commissioner Gordon, Jeffrey Wright, admitted that he walked right by his co-star while on set without even realizing it was him.
During his appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, the Saving Mr. Banks actor told Clarkson it wasn’t easy to transform into the villain – it required hours of preparation, though they eventually got it down to a two-hour process. But he admitted that he was giddy the first time he saw what he was going to look like as Oswald Cobblepot – and that must have made the long hours in the makeup chair worth it.
Colin Farrell's ability to disappear inside Oswald Cobblepot’s skin may have caused some confusion, but it was ultimately a big asset. CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg said in his review of The Batman that Farrell gave one of the film’s standout performances. The fact that he looked nothing like the person we know while portraying the iconic DC baddie had to have helped him pull the role off.
Now that we can list Colin Farrell’s Oz within the pantheon of other great Penguin depictions, there’s even more good news for fans. HBO Max is planning a spin-off with the villain – and Colin Farrell is set to reprise the role. While the initial shock of seeing him in costume may have worn off by the time the series premieres, it seems likely that Matt Reeves will have some surprises in store for the upcoming origin story.
The Batman is currently playing in theaters nationwide.
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