To compose the character of The Penguin in “The Batman”, director Matt Reeves and actor Colin Farrell found themselves on a surprising inspiration. That of a mafioso with a key role in a very great work of cinema.
The batman : the eagerly awaited return of the bat
There were indeed appearances of Ben Affleck in the costume for Batman v superman and Justice league, but if we stick to the “classic” Batman films, we have not seen the masked vigilante since 2012 and The Dark Knight Rises, the last opus in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. Ten long years like a big parenthesis that will close in March 2022 with the release of The batman. A film that promises spectacle and change, starting with the one that plays Bruce Wayne / Batman: Robert Pattinson.
A younger superhero, less seasoned and subject to a thousand torments, in a cold and corrupt Gotham to the core. Dark, violent, ruthless, Matt Reeves’ film seems to want to brutally overturn a few tables. And to do this, he enlisted the help of at least two iconic villains. We are therefore impatiently awaiting the return of the Mystery Man and the Penguin. And as revealed in the last edition of the magazine Empire, the latter is the result of several surprising inspirations.
The Penguin inspired by the “traitor” Fredo
In the last Empire, several pages of which are devoted to The batman, Matt Reeves speaks on several topics. And in particular on the character of the Penguin, villain mythology cult Batman and already a memorable character of the big screen with the performance of Danny DeVito in Batman, the challenge. He’s back in this new movie, this time in the – largely transformed – guise of the ever-intense Colin Farrell. And surprise, the director as well as the actor evoke as inspiration the character of Fredo (John Cazale) in the first two parts of the work The Godfather.
There is a bit of John Cazale in Fredo in The Godfather. He’s a mid-level mobster and he’s got a good showmanship, but you can see he longs for more than that and has been underestimated. He is ready to take action.
Of treachery and of the belly
For a film announced as setting out to explore the depths of the souls of its protagonists and antagonists, this idea makes sense and reveals one of the challenges of The batman : it will be a question of treason (s). Who will be betrayed? Who will betray? It is still mysterious but this reference to Godfather indicates that the Penguin has its own narrative arc and that it will therefore evolve during the history of The Batman. Following Matt Reeves, Colin Farrell shifts on this inspiration :
Matt Reeves mentioned Fredo to me, because Fredo is crippled by the insignificance he lives in, in a family full of very strong, very intelligent, very capable and very violent men. This is why he ends up betraying, because he is weak, he is like broken inside, and he is in pain. There is this kind of wound deep within Oswald Cobblepot, which feeds his ambition and his desire to rise in this criminal milieu.
If this inspiration is valid for the psychological character of the Penguin, the physical side of the director evokes two other mafia inspirations, Tony Soprano’s (James Gandolfini) and that of the character played by Bob Hoskins in Blood on the Thames. We had no doubts, but here is more proof: The batman will be a real cinema movie!