Colin Farrell has agreed to play the Batman villain Oswald Cobblepot, also known as The Penguin, in a new HBO Max series. The show will be a spinoff of the upcoming The Batman movie, which stars Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader. Farrell makes his debut as the Penguin in the Matt Reeves-directed movie. The new movie and its spinoffs are not related to the other DC Comics movies featuring Ben Affleck as Batman.
Farrell officially signed on for the project Monday, Variety reported. The outlet previously reported on the Penguin show's development in September, but Farrell had not committed yet. Lauren LeFranc (Chuck, Agents of SHIELD) is writing the script. The series will be the latest television project for Farrell, who almost exclusively focused on movies until True Detective Season 2 in 2015. In July, he starred in the five-episode AMC+/BBC Two miniseries The North Water.
The Penguin series would follow the character's rise to power in Gotham's criminal underworld. Deadline described the project as a "Scarface-like" series. Oswald Cobblepot's story has already been told several times in live-action, from Burgess Meredith's maniacal performance in the 1966 Batman series to Danny DeVito's tormented turn in Batman Returns. Robin Lord Taylor's Penguin played a central role in the Fox Batman prequel series Gotham. He is one of Batman's oldest villains, having been introduced in the comics in 1941.
As for The Batman, it is set during the Caped Crusader's second year as Batman, with Pattinson playing a young Bruce Wayne. The main villain is a version of The Riddler, played by Paul Dano. Zoe Kravitz also stars as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, while Jeffrey Wright plays James Gordon. John Turturro, Barry Keoghan, Jayme Lawson and Andy Serkis also star. The film was directed by Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and written by Reeves and Peter Craig. It will finally hit theaters on March 4, 2022. Reeves plans to direct two sequels.
HBO Max is also developing a police drama set in the same world as The Batman. Joe Barton was signed as showrunner on the project. Greg Berlanti is also working on a Green Lantern series for the streaming platform. John Cena is reprising his The Suicide Squad character for a show centered on Peacemaker. HBO Max has not commented on the Penguin project.
During last year's DC FanDome event, Reeves said the police procedural show is a prequel to The Batman, set during Batman's first year when a "masked vigilante...starts to unsettle the city." He said the show would focus on the deep-rooted corruption in Gotham City and is told from the perspective of a crooked police officer. "The story is actually a battle for his soul," Reeves said. No casting has been announced.