It’s not bold to say that Colin Farrell is an attractive man (look at him in Fright Night or Miami Vice or Alexander), but it is bold to say that Colin Farrell as The Penguin in 2022's The Batman is attractive. He’s covered in prosthetics, is losing his hair, and has an overall skeezy vibe that makes it tough to recall Farrell’s natural sexiness. But newly released set photos from the upcoming HBO Max series The Penguin reveals a new look for Oswald Cobblepot, and it’s molto, molto bene. This is Italian-coded sexiness (Cobblepot is, I believe, of Austrian/Hungarian descent, so he’s not actually Italian). This isn’t daddy, this is papa.
Sure, the hair is holding on for dear life, and the prosthetics are still trying to make Farrell look decidedly more penguin-y, but it’s a far cry from The Penguin’s looks in The Batman, which were all suits and trench coats. This fit is giving early seasons of the Sopranos Tony Soprano. It’s giving man who owns the oldest Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, and they don’t do none of that fettucine alfredo bullshit here, capisce?
In the pictures, Penguin’s subtle v-neck tee stretches across his ample bosom and little curlicues of his chest hair peek out over the neckline like they’re saying “Ciao bella” to any passerby. A basic but expensive leather jacket he clearly got tailored coupled with the bling on his middle finger tell me a few things: He has money, he understands the importance of well-fitting attire, and most importantly, he’s not married.
I can smell the Acqua di Parma. I can hear the nasality in his voice as he calls me “sweethaht.” I can feel the impossible smoothness of his hands. This man gets a manicure every week and graciously tips the nail tech. This man chews on a cigar with the anger of several generations of blue-collar Italian men coursing through his veins. This man has open-hand slapped another man for talking back and called him a bastardo as he does it.
This man would come up to me as I’m eating a plate of cacio e pepe over a starchy white tablecloth at his restaurant and ask if he can buy me a drink, and I would say, “yes, please, I’d like an Aperol Spritz” from underneath heavy lids. This man would shout an appreciative madone at my outfit when I appear at the door of his Cadillac CT5 for our date night. He’d drive two blocks to dinner, singing Louis Prima the entire way, and insist upon dropping me off at the door even though there’s a spot a few feet away. He’d kiss my mother’s hands and call her una bella donna every time he sees her. This man is my husband.
The Penguin limited series, which reportedly takes place right after the events of The Batman, doesn’t have a set release date yet (it’s expected sometime in 2024). According to Variety, the eight-episode series will also star Cristin Milioti (Palm Springs), Rhenzy Feliz (Encanto), Michael Kelly (Jack Ryan), Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse), and Clancy Brown (Highlander) as crime boss Salvatore Maroni.
Until we get even more images of this Italian pinguino, you can catch me daydreaming about becoming Oz Cobblebot’s principessa.