Despite his character sporting a trademark cigarette holder in the comics — and in 1992’s Batman Returns — Colin Farrell‘s version of The Penguin was banned from smoking in The Batman. In a new interview with Jake’s Takes, Farrell reveals that he put up a fight with Warner Bros. to at least let his character hold a cigar, but the studio wasn’t budging. Cigarette smoking has become a sensitive subject in films and even more so when you’re dealing with a billion-dollar franchise that would very much like to sell toys to young kids.
“Big studios make big decisions around such things as the presence of cigarettes in films,” Farrell said. “I fought valiantly for a cigar. At one stage I said, ‘I can have it unlit! Just let me have it unlit.’ They were like, ‘No.’ [As if] a bunch of 12-year-olds are going to start smoking Cuban cigars because [the Penguin is smoking cigars in a movie.]”
Of course, Farrell might have a chance to add a little more comic accuracy in his Penguin spinoff series for HBO Max where things tend to skew a little more mature. In the meantime, Farrell seems to have had a blast with the role, which buried him underneath a sizable amount of prosthetics that he was virtually unrecognizable to his co-stars. The actor recently revealed that before he started filming The Batman, he took his new look for a “spin” at a Starbucks in Burbank, where he got a few strange looks.