Colin Farrell Explains The Penguin’s Origin Story In The Batman

Colin Farrell explains why a certain character from The Godfather was the perfect inspiration when creating The Batman’s Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot.

Colin Farrell explains the connection between a certain The Godfather character and The Batman‘s Penguin, teasing his villain’s backstory along the way. Director Reeves’ next film The Batman reboot starring Robert Robert Pattinson hits theaters in March, then hits HBO Max the following month. Inspired by comics like Batman: Year Onethe film will follow its hero’s early years as a vigilante in Gotham City, pitting him against Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman, Paul Dano’s Riddler, John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone, and Farrell’s Oswald ‘Oz’ Cobblepot, aka Penguin.

Despite its much-discussed PG-13 rating, The Batman will see a dark, gritty and corrupt Gotham brought to life on the big screen like never before. While Riddler is expected to be the film’s main antagonist, Farrell’s unrecognizable turn as the Penguin has garnered a lot of attention during the promotional campaign. Previous cinematic portrayals of the Gotham mobster put the “P” in Penguin. For example, Danny DeVito’s iteration in Return of Batman is much more flamboyant and bird-like than Farrell’s. Rather than being a joke and coming from a wealthy family, Oz is more of a foil for Bruce Wayne in the comics. Still, that doesn’t mean Penguin is necessarily taken seriously.


Related: Tim Burton Did The Joker Ride With The Penguin In Batman Returns

In a recent interview with FilmmakerFarrell explained how his penguin’s backstory drew emotional inspiration from the late John Cazale’s Fredo in The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II. According to the actor, Oz, like Fredo, had very high ambitions but never really had a chance to explore them as he was considered lesser by his crime family. In the end, Fredo proved a good Penguin connection because of his “rupture”, since Oswald is “considered as someone who was not capable” throughout his life. Read Farrell’s full quote below:

“There’s a certain amount of brokenness in Oz that I think as a benchmark, not for me performance-wise, but just emotionally, as a benchmark for Matt – I think Fredo from The Godfather was a bit of a reference… Matt was just talking about someone who had very real and very lofty ambitions, but never really had the opportunity or the chance to explore them, and was perhaps considered someone who was disabled, whether it was psychologically, intellectually – Fredo was frowned upon as less than the other brothers, and maybe Oz too, in his life, was seen as someone who was not able… And so that’s one of the things that powers Oz. “

Michael and Fredo in The Godfather II

In the first two Godfather films, Fredo Corleone is neglected by his family because he is perceived as weak and simple. Although older than Michael, the latter brother becomes the undisputed boss after the deaths of Vito and Sonny. Fredo’s insecurities lead him to betray Michael, which ultimately leads to Michael ordering the hit on his older brother. All of this implies that Penguin’s family dynamic will influence Farrell’s portrayal, with the character so desperate to prove himself that he will betray his loved ones.

Farrell said Penguin would not play a significant role in the upcoming film. However, The Batman will likely be the first film in a franchise, spawning sequels and spinoffs. For example, two HBO Max spin-offs are in development that focus on the Gotham Police Department and the origins of Penguin, where that The Godfather element will most certainly be fleshed out. Reeves will produce this series with Lauren LeFranc (Agents of SHIELD and Impulse) attached to write his scripts. Although Farrell is yet to be confirmed to be involved with the series, fans should expect The Batman to somehow set it up when the movie comes out, further teasing Farrell “broken” scoundrel.

More: Batman’s New Penguin Inspiration Reflects Burton’s Villain Genius

Source: MovieMaker

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