With a long list of villains lined up for Robert Pattinson’s The Batman to face off ast, it was always going to be a struggle for them all to have main roles in the latest reboot of the DC franchise. Colin Farrell has revealed in a new interview that one character who won’t have too much screen time in the movie is his iteration of the Penguin. Discussing the challenges of shooting the movie during Covid-19 restrictions, Farrell divulged that his character only appears in a handful of scenes, and he is more than happy with that.
Talking to MTV’s Josh Horowitz about filming The Batman around the numerous pandemic shutdowns and changing restrictions, Colin Farrell said, “Obviously, COVID began to grip the world while we were shooting and I left London in March  and we were still down for four or five months. And then we went back and then obviously [Bruce Wayne actor] Robert [Pattinson] got sick and that was like, ‘Fucking Batman has COVID?'”
He continued, explaining how it took around fourteen months to finally complete filming due to numerous stops and starts. “I’m only in it for five or six scenes [as Penguin], so I can’t wait to see the film ’cause it won’t be ruined by my presence,” he said. “It’s a freebie for me. I’ll get a little uncomfortable for the fucking nine minutes I have and then the rest I cannot wait to see how [writer/director Matt Reeves] brought this world to life.”
However short his appearance on screen, Farrell will be the latest in a long line of iconic actors to have played the waddling villain also known as Oswald Cobblepot in a live action production. The 60s Batman TV show brought the first appearance of the character in the form of Burgess Meredith, who was the first person to create the bird-like cackle that became synonymous with the Penguin character in all his future versions. Meredith also reprised the role in the 1966 Batman: The Movie. In Tim Burton’s Batman sequel Batman Returns, Danny DeVito proved to be a dark nightmarish version of the character. DeVito played the character with a twisted perversion that ultimately led to the more brightly colored affair that was Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, a change not for the better. The most recent take on the Penguin fell to Robin Lord Taylor when he was cast in Batman prequel series Gotham, portraying a much younger and more small-time crook with big aspirations of ruling the city.
While many have welcomed Farrell’s casting, the arrival of The Batman trailer and first sight of the facial prosthetics being used to turn Farrell into the much more unattractive Cobblepot did lead to some criticism from those who believe that in an equal Hollywood a conventionally handsome actor should not be playing an unattractive one on screen and is taking a role away from someone who would not need prosthetics. While these complaints didn’t last long, it is another sign that the industry is still being pulled to and fro when it comes to pleasing audiences. The Batman arrives in cinemas on March 4th, 2022.
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