The Batman Star John Turturro Had No Idea Colin Farrell Was Colin Farrell Under His Make-Up

Beware! Spoilers for "The Batman" follow!

After lighting up the box office this past weekend like a flare in the darkness, "The Batman" has finally overcome a frustrating series of pandemic-related delays and made good on all the thrilling trailer footage we've devoured over the last several months (well, more like a year and a half, going back to when that very first teaser from DC FanDome first dropped back in August of 2020). Director Matt Reeves' noir-tinged detective story held no shortage of surprises for eager fans, from the sheer amount of Batman-focused action we get to grandiose Biblical imagery to last-minute cameos. But as many viewers were blown away by everything "The Batman" had in store for us, let's not neglect how much that applies to the cast themselves.

Take Colin Farrell's Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot (more affectionately known as "Oz" throughout the movie), for instance. It didn't take long at all for fans to gravitate towards his hilarious and deeply endearing performance as a lower-ranked henchman climbing the ladder, slathered in unrecognizable makeup and prosthetics as he was. And it turns out audiences weren't the only ones who still couldn't believe the talented and famous Irishman (who appeared on a highly entertaining episode of "Hot Ones" recently) was the one doing such an over-the-top performance as an American gangster. 

In an interview with THR, actor John Turturro opened up about his time on set as crime boss Carmine Falcone, sharing many scenes with Farrell's Penguin. As he tells it, he could scarcely believe what he was seeing:

"I had no idea it was him. I just thought he was some rough-looking guy. I was just staring at him. It was pretty incredible."

Take a good look at that quote, folks, because it's probably the one and only time you'll ever see anyone describe Colin Farrell as "rough-looking." The ending of "The Batman" sure seems to set Penguin up as a much bigger force to be reckoned with moving forward, likely in an attempt to fill the power vacuum left in the wake of Falcone's death at the hands of Paul Dano's Riddler. We can't wait to see more of him, but there's still lots to appreciate about Turturro's Falcone, as well. Luckily, the actor goes even further in breaking down his approach to the sinister character.

'A dangerous guy'

Of the many great cast members Matt Reeves managed to get for "The Batman," perhaps the biggest coup of them all was John Turturro. The "Do the Right Thing," "Barton Fink," and "The Big Lebowski" actor (among many, many other great roles over his career) brought plenty of menace to his performance as Carmine Falcone, the powerful criminal who turned out to have all of Gotham eating out of his hand — fellow lawbreakers and law enforcement alike. A plot twist late in the film reveals that he was actually responsible for snitching on fellow mobster Salvatore Maroni, sending him to jail and putting his vast empire of drugs (users of which are known as "dropheads" in the film) under his own control. His presence in the film also adds a disturbing layer to Bruce Wayne himself, as another reveal indicates that Falcone killed a journalist who threatened to expose Thomas Wayne's family secrets in order to have Wayne indebted to him and, quite possibly, killed both Thomas and Martha Wayne as well.

The question of what actually happened to the Waynes is left somewhat ambiguous in the film, with Falcone pointing Bruce towards Maroni while Alfred suspects Falcone, but Turturro has his own theories about what happened that fateful night:

"I think there are people who tell you I didn't do something even if they did do it. And then after time, they believe the alternative version that they created. I thought he is a dangerous guy, and I think not seeing [their murder] was kind of great."

The lack of flashbacks forces viewers to decide for themselves whether to take characters at their word or not, which Turturro implies was very much the point. The actor goes on to mention that he was responsible for certain elements in Falcone's depiction, such as the distinctive glasses he wears. Turturro explains, "I thought, 'I need a mask.' And then I went to the lady where I buy all my vintage glasses and I found these glasses [worn in the film], and Matt loved them. Because a lot of those guys did wear dark glasses when they testified." It was also his idea to gently (and creepily) touch Zoë Kravitz's cheek when he first meets Selina Kyle in the Iceberg Lounge club.

You can get more of Turturro (and Farrell!) in "The Batman," currently playing in theaters.