The only way to test any make-up and prosthetics job is to see if the general public still recognise you. Colin Farrell did so with his Penguin get-up for The Batman, and found that he’d become a regular person.
“The first day we tried the whole thing out, we took it for a drive, a spin metaphorically speaking. We did it in Burbank. It took about six or eight hours. It was a team of ten or 15 people. And it was really fun,” Farrell tells Collider. “I went into Starbucks and ordered myself a very un-Oswald drink, an oat milk latté with two stevia sweeteners. I got a couple of stares but only because it’s such an imposing look.”
The actor credits Mike Marino, one of The Batman’s special effects and make-up designers, for crafting a lot of the Penguin’s DCEU persona. Even just going by clips in trailers, the transformation is breath-taking, with Farrell disappearing into Oswald Cobblepot, a notorious crook among Gotham’s underworld. Going unnoticed in Starbucks is one way to make sure you’re getting the feel of the character right.
However, Farrell is going up against one of the great Batman villain depictions of all time, Danny DeVito in Batman Returns. Makeup is only half the battle, DeVito’s Penguin bit off people’s noses – there’s a high bar for weirdness here.
Matt Reeves directed The Batman, from a script he co-wrote with Peter Craig. Farrell is joined in the cast by Robert Pattinson, who’s portraying the Dark Knight himself, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, and Andy Serkis. Farrell is due to reprise the role of Penguin in a HBO Max spin-off TV series, and Reeves has said The Batman 2 is in early discussions.
We can’t tell you when you might expect another A-lister at your local Starbucks, Insomnia, or Caffe Nero, but The Batman opens in theatres March 4.