Colin Farrell says he shares 'The Batman' role with make-up designer (exclusive)

·Contributor
·4-min read

Watch: Colin Farrell shares Penguin role with make-up designer

Colin Farrell considers his performance as the Penguin in The Batman — in cinemas and IMAX from 4 March — to be a 50/50 split between himself and make-up designer Mike Marino.

The 45-year-old actor said he spent several hours in the make-up chair every day to transform into underworld figure Oswald Cobblepot and that the make-up "almost took on a life of its own".

He told Yahoo Entertainment UK: "I don't feel like I own this character 100%. Usually you go to work as an actor and you feel like you own the character pretty much. Certainly, after a short while, you should.

Read more: Danny DeVito gave Colin Farrell green light for Penguin role

"You feel like it's yours and, yes, you'll listen to directions and suggestions and stay open to that stuff. But with this, I never felt like I fully owned it. I felt that I very much shared it 50/50 with Mike Marino, truly, because I didn't have to do much."

Colin Farrell underwent a dramatic make-up transformation to play Penguin in 'The Batman'. (Jamie Hawkesworth/DC Comics/Warner Bros/Cindy Ord/WireImage)
Colin Farrell underwent a dramatic make-up transformation to play Penguin in 'The Batman'. (Jamie Hawkesworth/DC Comics/Warner Bros/Cindy Ord/WireImage)

Farrell said his own face is "nowhere to be found" in the final image of Penguin, who is depicted as a relatively junior member of the Gotham crime world in the film.

Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman follows a relatively young Caped Crusader — played by Robert Pattinson — as he works his way through the murky shadows of Gotham in an attempt to track down serial killer the Riddler (Paul Dano).

Read more: The Batman producer discusses Robert Pattinson casting

But it has been Farrell's character who has caught the eye throughout the run-up to the film's release, from the moment he was glimpsed in the first trailer.

"It was one of the strangest experiences I've had in 20 years, and I've had some pretty strange experiences doing this job," said Farrell.

Colin Farrell is completely unrecognisable as Penguin in 'The Batman'. (Jonathan Olley/DC Comics/Warner Bros)
Colin Farrell is completely unrecognisable as Penguin in 'The Batman'. (Jonathan Olley/DC Comics/Warner Bros)

He added: "To be just buried deep under all of that make-up, there was an incredible sense of creative freedom that I was gifted by being submerged.

"The first time we tried the make-up, we did a make-up test in Burbank in Los Angeles and we took about six hours with about 12 people — Mike Marino, who designed the make-up, and then a team of someone who did the hair, someone who did the teeth, someone who was doing the ears and then the make-up people and the body suit."

Read more: Paul Dano discusses becoming the Riddler in The Batman

Farrell revealed that, during the process of making the film, they were able to streamline the process until it took only a few hours to apply the make-up and prosthetics.

'The Batman' finds the title character at odds with some in the Gotham City Police Department. (Jonathan Olley/DC Comics/Warner Bros)
'The Batman' finds the title character at odds with some in the Gotham City Police Department. (Jonathan Olley/DC Comics/Warner Bros)

He said: "It never got old for me. You hear stories about Jim Carrey in the Grinch suit. That sounds hellacious. He was six or eight hours some mornings.

"We started off at four hours and we got it down to under two. But even the four-hour sessions sitting in the chair, I didn't mind it because I just knew what the result was. I knew the reward was huge. What I was being a canvas for was an absolute privilege."

Farrell said he has high hopes for the future of the character if The Batman is able to spin off into a larger franchise, adding that he believes he has only shown "just the tip of the iceberg" when it comes to the character.

Robert Pattinson portrays Bruce Wayne at an early stage of his vigilante career in 'The Batman'. (Jonathan Olley/DC Comics/Warner Bros)
Robert Pattinson portrays Bruce Wayne at an early stage of his vigilante career in 'The Batman'. (Jonathan Olley/DC Comics/Warner Bros)

But regardless of what he is ultimately able to do with the role, Farrell says it's the make-up and prosthetics work that takes centre stage as much as his own work in front of the camera.

He said: "I ended up doing a lot and gestured and voiced and all of that stuff but, if I just stood there, just the visage alone and the sense of violence and history and pain that was etched on the character's face was for me pretty significant when I saw it for the first time."

The Batman is set to arrive in UK cinemas on 4 March.

Watch: Colin Farrell says his son was "horrified" by Penguin transformation