Whatever you think of Robert Pattinson as the next Batman, we’re probably going to start hearing about villains next, and the popular rumor is that the Penguin will be one of them. That’s an interesting choice, mainly because it’s a tough character to get right. He was conceived as a visual gag, but he still has to be sufficiently dangerous to the world’s greatest detective to work as a threat. While Burgess Meredith played the Penguin as campy and Danny DeVito made him creepy. The modern comics interpretation is somewhere in-between.
So who could director Matt Reeves bring in to play The Penguin? Let’s hope we can give him some ideas.
Let’s just get the Twilight jokes out of the way upfront. As the weirdly giggling Aro in that cinematic saga, Sheen was one of the few redemptive qualities that made the final installments not unpleasant. And he was a worthy foe for Pattinson’s Edward. Sure, he’s not especially fat, but Danny DeVito wasn’t as fat as the prosthetics in Batman Returns made him, either. Whoever steps into the role will be sitting under a lot of makeup. The key thing is can they play a know-it-all antagonist who underestimates his much smarter foe? Sheen can.
Park has maybe the best experience ever in preparation for the Penguin: he played Kim Jong-Un in The Interview. If there’s any real-life person who resembles Gotham’s cagey bird of crime, it’s the North Korean dictator. Fat and comical looking, he’s also psychotic and likely to have you killed if you so much as fail to praise him sufficiently. And like the DeVito Penguin, prone to kidnapping and firing off rockets.
Not to mention Park has the right kind of voice to pull off the Burgess Meredith “quack.”
One of the rumors making the rounds is that the Penguin will be gender-swapped. If so, McCarthy’s the only choice. As The Boss, she already proved she could be an imperious kingpin, and in Bridesmaids she was frightening. True, McCarthy’s roles usually end up with her being sympathetic, and she’d have to check that impulse to become an ugly-on-the-inside-too Bat-villain. But she’s got a lot more range than the trailers for her movies are frequently cut to suggest, and Batman’s natural hesitation to hit an older woman could be used against him.
Now that we’ve gotten past the stereotype that pro-wrestlers can’t act, maybe one who is both plus sized and agile AND clearly capable of knocking R-Pattz out in a fair fight could work. Owens would be along the lines of Michael Clarke Duncan in Daredevil — casting for size rather than obesity. That aside, KO is one of the best characters in WWE today. Initially his gimmick was that of a hard-working family man who also happens to be an a-hole. Nowadays, it’s as a sarcastic, back-stabbing jerk who also loves to fight. If Matt Reeves is looking to actually have Oswald Cobblepot mix it up in the streets with the Bat, a guy like Owens would be aces.
The Imp of King’s Landing wouldn’t have a difficult transition to the fowl king of Gotham City crime. Like Tyrion, the Penguin is great at surviving, even while all round him are backstabbing one another. Penguin survives because he outmaneuvers his foes, not because he can go toe to toe. Dinklage is obviously smaller than Pattinson, but conveys the sense that he’s a threat nonetheless because of what he knows and how he uses it. And in addition to knowing things, we’re pretty sure Cobblepot drinks too.
If Reeves likes working with familiar faces, who better to reign than his Caesar? Serkis could literally combine all his greatest hits and come up with something perfect. The rowdy side of Captain Haddock, the creepy-endearing mix of Gollum, and the arrogance of Supreme Leader Snoke all in one corpulent kingpin. Having the Penguin be English might also be a fun twist. Cobblepot is, after all, something you might expect the upper-class twit of the year to be named.
Robin Lord Taylor
“What? But he already played the Penguin!” Hear us out.
If Paul Reubens can play the Penguin’s father in Batman Returns, and then again on Gotham in a different way, why can’t Taylor do the same thing in reverse order? He’s the greatest live-action Penguin ever, and if you think about it, Robert Pattinson looks conceivably like a 33 year-old David Mazouz. The Batman almost certainly won’t be an official continuation of Gotham, but there’s no reason to rule it out either. Taylor’s a strong enough actor that he can certainly do a grotesque, older version of his signature performance.
Who do you think should be the next Penguin? Let us know in the comment section below!