Every so often, Hollywood rumors do indeed turn out to be true. Colin Farrell had been rumored as an unlikely sounding choice to play rotund supervillain/crime boss The Penguin in Matt Reeves upcoming The Batman, but there were certainly some among us who doubted those reports. Well, doubt no more—Reeves confirmed Farrell will portray The Penguin via Twitter late yesterday.
This is (maybe?) the last major bit of casting news on a film that has generated a mountain of it. Recently, it was revealed that Andy Serkis would be taking on the role of butler/Batman confidant Alfred Pennyworth, while the caped crusader will of course be played by a debuting Robert Pattinson. So too has there been a lot of villain casting already, with Farrell’s Penguin set to join Paul Dano as The Riddler and Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman. This is pretty standard fare for many classic Batman comic book stories, which often like to throw the dark knight against a gauntlet of his rogues gallery, but we can’t help but wonder how it will turn out on film. It’s hard to forget that multi-villain superhero movies like X-Men: The Last Stand or Spider Man 3 haven’t exactly been fondly remembered.
So too does handsome Irishman Farrell seem like a decidedly odd choice for The Penguin, a character defined by his physical deformity—you know, the one that inspires his nickname—in most iterations of the character. One has to wonder what kind of makeup or effects the crew is planning on applying to Farrell’s mug, although we don’t doubt the man’s talent—he’s played both awesome villains (Fright Night) and sympathetic sad sacks (The Lobster) in recent memory, and done both superbly.
As for the tone of the film, Reeves has stated in the past that The Batman is intended to explore more of the comic book detective side of Bruce Wayne; the fearsome intellect that earns him the title of “world’s greatest detective.” As the director put it:
“It’s very much a point-of-view-driven, noir Batman tale. It’s told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it’s going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It’s more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in the films.”
That certainly sounds like something that Batman fans will be excited to see, but we’ll be pleasantly surprised if a more cerebral Batman manages to get by studio producers and audience focus groups. The Batman is scheduled to hit theaters June 25, 2021.