With all the current upheaval at DC Studios, it feels as if there’s only one sure thing for the DCU in the years ahead: Matt Reeves‘ “The Batman” films and their HBO Max spinoff shows. Don’t expect Reeves’ sequel to last year’s hit for a few years, but “The Penguin” with Colin Farrell enters production next month. And Farrell can’t wait for it to start, as he feels his brief scenes as crime boss Oswald Copplepot is “just the tip of the iceberg” in terms of what he can do with the character.
Variety reports that at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala last night, Farrell talked about the origins of the upcoming HBO Max series. And much of Farrell’s inspiration to create “The Penguin” came from the makeup artists on “The Batman,” who gave the crime boss his scarred, signature look. “The only thing I had an idea was that I wasn’t nearly getting to explore the character as much as I wanted to,” Farrell said on the red carpet. “Because there was all this extraordinary work done by [makeup artists] Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine and his team, and I just thought it was the tip of the iceberg, pardon the pun, that we were getting to do the six or seven scenes that we did in the film. I was grateful for them, but I wanted more.”
After he “had a bit of a thought about it,” Farrell went to producer Dylan Clark, who also liked the idea of exploring Copplepot in a show format. But Marino and Fontaine’s makeup work remains Farrell’s main inspiration for the series. “Honest to god, any thought I had about an extended series was to do with Mike Marino’s work,” Farrell continued. “I just knew there was so much to do with it — age it up, age it down. He’s just such a genius, Mike, so it was his work that was the inspiration, really.” A funny anecdote to reference Marino’s skills as a makeup artist: during Farrell’s first makeup test as The Penguin, he wore the costume out to a local Starbucks in Ireland. “They’re cool about it in Ireland. People don’t be looking,” Farrell joked. “People don’t be paying as much attention as you think!”
Production for “The Penguin,” should last half a year, so a safe bet for a premiere date on HBO Max would be early 2024. The show takes place one week after the events of “The Batman,” with The Penguin looking to wrest control of Gotham’s underworld after the city’s cataclysmic flooding at the hands of The Riddler. Craig Zobel directs the show’s first two episodes and also serves as executive producer on the series. Regarding casting news, Cristin Milioti is on board to play Sofia Falcone, daughter of John Turturro‘s Carmine Falcone. There are up to two other HBO Max spinoff series for “The Batman” also in development: one that centers on Arkham Asylum’s rogue gallery and the other on the GCPD police procedural.
But with Farrell’s performance being one of the major highlights of “The Batman,” DC fans anticipate “The Penguin” more than anything else right now; except, perhaps, Reeves’ next installment in the film series. Expect more news on “The Penguin” when the show starts production in February.