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Tim Burton Confirms a Batman Story About Danny DeVito’s Approach to Playing Penguin

Legendary director Tim Burton confirms a famous story about Danny DeVito’s approach to playing the Penguin in 1992’s Batman Returns.

Batman Returns director Tim Burton has confirmed a famous story about Danny DeVito’s approach to playing Oswald Cobblepot,better known as the Penguin.

Speaking to Empire magazine, Burton discussed the 1992 sequel to his 1989 blockbuster hit Batman, shared details about DeVito’s method approach to the Penguin. “People would walk by him in the make-up chair and he’d try to bite them,” Burton said. “But you know, seriously, you’re sitting there for fucking eight hours and you’re looking at yourself turning into this giant slug. It’s gonna be hard not to, in a funny way.”

RELATED: The Batman: Danny DeVito Comments on Colin Farrell Taking Over Penguin’s Role

Created by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane, the Penguin first appeared Detective Comics #58, cover-dated December 1941. Nicknamed the “Gentleman of Crime,” he became one of the main standouts of Batman’s colorful rogues’ gallery of supervillains with his trademark top hat, monocle, morning suit and his deadly umbrella gun. Before DeVito, the character was most identified with Rocky co-star Burgess Meredith in the 1960s Batman television series, starring Adam West. DeVito was cast as the Penguin in Batman Returns at the suggestion of his close friend Jack Nicholson, who played the Joker in Burton’s first Batman film.

DeVito’s performance in Batman Returns proved memorable for his disturbingly creepy portrayal of Oswald Cobblepot. But the actor recalled not only the four and a half hours it took to get into makeup and costume but also the time he was attacked by a spider monkey on the set. “The monkey comes down, takes on look at me and leaps at my balls,” said DeVito. “I swear to God, it was like horrifying. It was slow motion, baby… Now, thank God I’m in this suit that is, like, full of all of this padding and shit. He grabbed a hold of… right in here. He took a big, big mouthful, and everybody went crazy. Y’know, ‘cut, cut, cut,’ they run over, and the monkey is attached. The trainer comes over and is pulling the monkey off, and rips the monkey off of my leg. I did not feel a thing, thank God! Like, this far away? I probably wouldn’t be telling this story right now.”

RELATED: Danny DeVito’s Batman Story Creates DC’s New (Unlikely) Superhero Power Couple

Colin Farrell was the next actor to play the Penguin on the big screen in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which earned him praise from critics and audiences. DeVito revealed that he loved Farrell’s take on the role, but he still prefers Tim Burton’s vision. With his Batman Returns co-star Michael Keaton set to reprise his role as the Dark Knight in Andy Muschietti’s The Flash, DeVito expressed interest to revisit the Penguin alongside Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. “I feel like it’s not out of the question that The Penguin will return someday, but this is all up to Tim, whether or not Tim wants to do this,” said DeVito. “I would say that could be in the cards because we ain’t dead yet (laughs). We could do a continuation of what we had in the past because that was truly a brilliant movie. They afforded me that opportunity and I feel very grateful and would I like to revisit it? Why not! It was a really great moment in time for me.”

Source: Empire

André Joseph is a movie and television news writer at CBR. Based in New York City, he freelances as an independent filmmaker, teacher and blogger of all things pop culture. His interests include Marvel, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Robocop, wrestling, and a wide range of movies and TV shows.

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