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DC Comics fans have been waiting with baited breath for any kind of news to come out Matt Reeves' upcoming project The Batman, yet it looks like most of its production is going to be kept under wraps. It seems like we see a different news story each week about Ben Affleck not being in the movie, or Reeves casting for a younger Batman, but the truth is we just don't know what is happening behind the scenes. What we do seem to know for a fact is that The Dark Knight's infamous foe The Penguin is going to be the main antagonist of the movie, and with such a quirky character being the villain, you need the right kind of actor to play him. I believe I have a few likely candidates, and I hope you agree!
1. Dan Fogler
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took the world by storm when it first came out, and with it came a wave of fan appreciation for Jacob Kowalski, who is played by the ever versatile Dan Fogler. Fogler has gained a level of fame the likes of which he has never seen before, and with such he is likely to be sought after for even more blockbuster films. While he is famous for playing more of a comedic sidekick, Fogler has still shown that he can portray a bit of a roughneck, and I think that he could be an extremely convincible mobster. Standing at a measly 5'7", he has a stature that could be easily believed as The Penguin, and I think that he could give any Batman a run for his money.
2. Peter Dinklage
Peter Dinklage is an actor that has reached an unforeseen level of fame in recent years with his roles in projects such as Game of Thrones and Avengers: Infinity War, so adding him to The Batman would obviously put a huge spotlight on the film. As far as his performance as The Penguin goes, I believe that Dinklage's acting method would lead to a flawless incarnation of the character. His height and stature is what people want to see in the role, and while he's not a heavy man, I'm positive that he could make up for that inconsistency with pure acting skill. All in all, I don't think that anyone would be disappointed if this were to come to fruition.
3. Josh Gad
Chances are that you don't like the idea of Olaf from Frozen playing a hardened supervillain, but Josh Gad has slowly started to branch into more serious works as well. While he's most famous for appearing in comedy or musical roles, Gad has also seen his share of dramatic works in recent years, having appeared in such films as Marshall and Murder on the Orient Express. He hasn't exactly played the main antagonist of a film yet, but I feel that he's one step away from being a nefarious supervillain, and I would be willing to bet that he could play The Penguin as well as any "serious" actor would.
4. Jack Black
I'm not going to lie, this isn't the proudest I've ever been of a casting suggestion, but let me try to make a case here. Jack Black is a purely comedic actor, which is exemplified by every one of his characters simply being just a derivative of Jack Black, but that doesn't mean he can't be a villain. Of course everyone wants The Penguin to be a serious threat, but when you think about how silly the entire character is, would it be the end of the world if he had a comedic spin put on him? And perhaps I'm not giving Black enough credit. He may have enough range to play a sinister villain, but we just haven't given him the opportunity yet. I know that his casting would spark a lot of controversy among fans, but if Kristen Wiig can snag the role of Cheetah, then Jack Black can snag the role of The Penguin.
5. Timothy Spall
While Timothy Spall isn't the most famous actor in the world, he still holds a highly regarded reputation in Hollywood, and fans still love to hate him from his role as Wormtail in the Harry Potter series. With The Penguin's reinvention as a cockney gangster in the Batman: Arkham game series, Spall could be the perfect actor to bring that kind of villain to the big screen, and I wouldn't be surprised if Matt Reeves took a wealth of inspiration from those games in order to mold his own version of the character. There's no way to know what kind of Penguin we'll get in this film, but I'm certain that the role would be safe in the hands of Spall, and I wouldn't be surprised if the studio decided to go with a better actor as opposed to a bigger name.
6. Toby Jones
Toby Jones has become one of the best character actors of our generation, and it just so happens that he uses his gift to bring life to the most charismatic and evil villains we have seen on screen. Whether he's playing a mad scientist in Captain America: The First Avenger or a psychotic philanthropist on Sherlock, Jones has nailed every kind of villainous character you could think of, and I don't see The Penguin being any different. While he's not as hefty as the character is usually portrayed, Jones does have the height and acting prowess necessary to execute the role accurately, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was given the opportunity.
7. Michael Stuhlbarg
If you fancy yourself a film buff, then chances are you know Michael Stuhlbarg from his critically acclaimed films The Shape of Water and The Post, and you realize just how good of a character actor he is. Casting someone like Stuhlbarg as The Penguin is a surefire way to get the exact performance that you want, and it's bound to get a lot of cinephiles excited about this movie as well. While he's not exactly a mainstream actor, I believe that Stuhlbarg would be just as popular of a choice as anyone else, and it would show that the DCEU cares more about accurate portrayals as opposed to big name actors.
8. Andy Serkis
Andy Serkis has publicly stated that he would like to work with Matt Reeves again and play The Penguin in The Batman, and since then the imagination of fans has run rampant. People have gone berserk creating custom posters and fan art envisioning Serkis as The Penguin, and while I might not have been onboard before hand, I could certainly see the British actor portraying Gotham's most sinister after some of the immaculate posters created by a few dedicated fans. Serkis has the kind of accent that fans expect from the kind of cockney gangster The Penguin has become, and while he doesn't have the natural build of the character, I'm sure that his affinity for motion capture could help in that department.
9. Elijah Wood
Elijah Wood doesn't share many characteristics with The Penguin aside from his height, but I believe that is really all he needs. Wood loves playing strange and mentally unhinged characters, and while he mainly likes to do his own type of indie projects, I don't think he would be able to pass up a role like this. I feel like he could give a performance that shows us less of a mobster businessman and more of a murderous lunatic, and I'm all for having an actor reinvent the role they're playing. He may not be exactly who the fans want for The Penguin, but after the movie comes out, I don't think anyone would be able to propose any objections.
10. Nick Frost
Much like Serkis, Nick Frost also threw his hat in the ring when he heard that the main villain for The Batman was set to be The Penguin, and I think that was a smart move. I personally would have never thought of Frost in the role, but after hearing him suggest it himself, it honestly makes the most sense to me. Frost not only has the perfect build and accent to portray a revamped version of the character, but he has actually done a lot of work in the action world with his role on Into the Badlands, and that made me start to see him as more than just a funny man. I never would have thought that I would see Nick Frost of all people fly around and do kung-fu for an hour and take him seriously, but he does a really good job in all of his action sequences, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's what Matt Reeves looks at when deciding whether or not he has enough range to play a crazed supervillain.