As those who’ve seen “The Banshees of Inisherin” can attest, Colin Farrell did end up losing all the weight he gained for “The North Water.” Owing to that, the version of Farrell we got as the Penguin had to be covered up in a heavy amount of makeup and prosthetics. The first makeup test “took about six or eight hours” and it involved “about 12 people,” Farrell explained. “Someone was there that had molded the teeth. Someone was there that had done the hair. [‘The Batman’ makeup artist] Mike [Marino] and his team were there, three or four of them were applying different pieces because it’s six or eight different individual prosthetic pieces.”
Having this much makeup on might sound overwhelming for an actor, but Farrell seemed to thoroughly enjoy wearing all of it. “You get such license to have absolute freedom of motion and expression and articulation of thought and feeling,” he added. “I had no idea what I was going to do without that makeup. And then when I saw the makeup, everything was clear, the way the character moved, the way he sounded.”
The Penguin was hardly the most important character Robert Pattinson’s Batman had to interact with in the film, yet the loveable mobster made enough of an impression that the character’s getting his own TV show. It just goes to show that when it comes to depicting a heavyset person in a movie, there are better options than making an actor drink glasses of olive oil, or forcing them to stick to a body weight they’re not comfortable with. The version of the Penguin we got may have required a lot of movie magic to pull off, but it was still one of the best live adaptations of the character we’ve gotten so far.