8 Actors Who Could Play the Penguin in the New Batman Movie
This movie is still in the early stages of development, and Kroll notes that it’s possible the Penguin will instead end up in DC’s other upcoming movie Birds of Prey. Either way, it looks like the studio is interested in bringing Oswald Cobblepot to the big screen sooner rather than later.
So who should be cast as this iconic character that has previously been portrayed by Danny DeVito, Burgess Meredith, and others? Here are eight actors we think would be up to the task, ranked leading up to our top choice.
8. Paul Giamatti
- Known for: Sideways, John Adams, Billions
It’s no secret that Paul Giamatti is a great actor, and he has actually been a part of a comic book movie before: He played Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But that was a fairly small role clearly intended to set up a sequel, which never happened since the movie was so bad.
But Giamatti tends to excel at playing characters who present themselves as having it together but are also close to losing it at any moment, which would be perfect for the Penguin.
Next: This comedic actor would be great in the role.
7. Jonah Hill
- Known for: Superbad, 21 Jump Street, The Wolf of Wall Street
Although Jonah Hill is primarily known for his comedic performances, over the past few years, he has proven to be a great dramatic actor as well. He was particularly impressive in The Wolf of Wall Street in a role that earned him an Oscar nomination.
Hill was also great in War Dogs, a movie in which he plays an arms dealer who has an air of professionalism to him but who can shift right from being a nice, unassuming man to pulling a machine gun out of his trunk. Just imagine Hill dressed as the Penguin during this War Dogs scene and you’ll understand the potential in his casting.
Next: This is another comedic actor who could be surprisingly great in the role.
6. Nick Frost
- Known for: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End
After the rumors about the Penguin came out, one name immediately popped up on social media: Nick Frost. Known for his collaborations with Simon Pegg in movies like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Frost is also a phenomenal dramatic actor, as was often evident in those Edgar Wright films’ more serious scenes.
Frost himself is up for it; when a Twitter user brought up his name for the part, Frost responded, “Cool! I’m in! Thanks everyone.”
Next: This actor would provide a completely different take on the character.
5. Richard Armitage
- Known for: The Hobbit, Hannibal, The Crucible
In April 2018, a Reddit user posted what they claimed was a series of leaks about the upcoming DC films. Part of this was that the new Penguin had been modeled after Richard Armitage, who has been contacted about taking on the role.
This is almost certainly just a fake rumor. But it did get us thinking about the enormous potential of Armitage in the role. This could be an interesting reimagining of the character as someone tall and imposing rather than short and chubby. Maybe a new angle on the Penguin is what the DC universe needs.
Next: This actor would be perfect for the role mainly thanks to one TV performance.
4. Stephen Graham
- Known for: Boardwalk Empire, Pirates of the Caribbean, This is England
The Penguin in the comics is essentially a mob boss, and it would be cool to see the new movie provide a slightly more serious take on that without any of the goofiness.
If this is going to be the approach, one actor who fans have suggested is Stephen Graham; he played Al Capone on the HBO original series Boardwalk Empire. Just take a look at any one of Graham’s more threatening moments in that show and it’s not difficult to see him as the gentleman of crime.
Next: This great character actor could step into the spotlight with the Penguin.
3. Timothy Spall
- Known for: Harry Potter, Enchanted, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
If this portrayal of the Penguin is going to be as gross and creepy as DeVito’s, there’s one actor who comes to mind: Timothy Spall.
You’ll recognize him for a wide variety of roles, including Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter film series and Nathaniel in Enchanted. Although he’s typically known for his supporting characters, this could be the perfect chance for him to step into the spotlight.
Next: This actor is clearly very enthusiastic about the possibility of playing the Penguin.
2. Josh Gad
- Known for: Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Murder on the Orient Express
Josh Gad is another actor whose roles tend to be on the comedic side. He has delved into more serious drama in movies like Murder on the Orient Express, although this was not exactly the most demanding role of all time. Still, Gad is a talented enough actor that we think he could take on the role of the Penguin.
It helps that Gad himself is a huge comic book fan, and he’s clearly interested in the job. On Twitter, he has randomly posted images of the Penguin several times and even once met with DC film executives, posting a photo of himself holding a Penguin comic.
Next: This is our number one choice for the role.
1. Andy Serkis
- Known for: Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Black Panther
Andy Serkis has portrayed so many great characters over the years, both with and without motion capture, from Gollum and Supreme Leader Snoke to Ceasar and Ulysses Klaue.
First of all, Serkis being cast would make logical sense since he has a relationship with director Matt Reeves, having worked with him on the new Planet of the Apes movies. But he’d also be perfect for the role itself, mixing the terrifying and threatening nature of Supreme Leader Snoke with some of the more comedic elements of Ulysses Klaue.
This performance would also likely be different enough from all the others to set it apart. Let’s hope Serkis would consider it.
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