It’s the 30th Anniversary of Batman Returns, and director Tim Burton has been giving interviews to commemorate the occasion. In one of his most recent ones, with Empire Magazine, Burton explained that Danny DeVito got a little too into the character of Oswald Cobblepot, better known as villain The Penguin.
“People would walk by him in the make-up chair and he’d try to bite them,” Burton said. “But you know, seriously, you’re sitting there for fucking eight hours and you’re looking at yourself turning into this giant slug. It’s gonna be hard not to, in a funny way.” It does sound enough to start addling the mind, to be fair.
It was DeVito’s close friend Jack Nicholson (who famously played the Joker) who suggested his vertically-challenged friend for the role. DeVito’s supremely creepy and unpredictable performance was probably enhanced by the frustrations of spending four-and-a-half hours in the make up chair at the start of each day. While he had a very different look, Colin Farrell was unrecognisable as The Penguin in this year’s The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves.
DeVito told Forbes last year; “I feel like it’s not out of the question that The Penguin will return someday, but this is all up to Tim, whether or not Tim wants to do this. I would say that could be in the cards because we ain’t dead yet (laughs). We could do a continuation of what we had in the past because that was truly a brilliant movie. They afforded me that opportunity and I feel very grateful and would I like to revisit it? Why not! It was a really great moment in time for me.”
Batman Returns is widely considered amongst the best Batman movies, thanks to DeVito’s Penguin, as well as Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. Michael Keaton, who played Batman in the Burton movies, is returning to the role in HBO Max’s Batgirl shortly. Therefore, some of the Burton villains returning is not beyond the realm of possibility.
While we wait for Keaton’s return, check out our guide to the best Batman actors.