BATMAN RETURNS: Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Making Of The Penguin
Check out some amazing never-before-seen images of Danny Devito's transformation into The Penguin for Tim Burton's Batman Returns. The dramatic metamorphosis was created by legendary four-time Academy Award winner, Stan Winston.
Stan Winston and Tim Burton had previously collaborated on Edward Scissorhands, and once again the quirky director would seek Winston and his crews help in order to bring The Penguin to life for Batman Returns. Even though Dustin Hoffman was Warner Bros. first choice, actor Danny Devito (Taxi) would end up playing the villainous role. Surprisingly the makeup only took two hours a day to apply, but the transformation was so powerful that Devito actually stayed in character during takes. He even wore The Penguin makeup while doing voice-over sessions for the film, because without it he struggled to find the character's voice.
The look of Tim Burton's Penguin was a huge departure from the comic book and television versions, which for the most part only included a pointy nose. For Batman Returns, Stan Winston and his crew created prosthetics so that Devito's face had a bird-like quality to it, flipper-like hands, crooked rotting teeth, pale white skin and dark-circled around his eyes.
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“The initial concept was just a pointy nose,” Winston said, “but I wasn’t really happy with that. So I got my hands back in the clay, which I love, and started playing with the look myself. Years ago, for The Wiz, I had created crow characters with enormous beak faces, which involved whole forehead and brow appliances. I’d always loved that design; and, although crows had nothing to do with penguins, I felt that I could use a similar concept for the Penguin. That turned out to be the look that was selected.”
The look was so scary that the toy company, Kenner, wouldn't produce a likeness of DeVito's Penguin for their Batman Returns' toyline. Instead they used a Penguin figure created from a previous toyline, and changed the paint scheme of the costume from blue to black.
Stan Winston was nominated for Best Makeup for his work on Batman Returns along with Ronnie Specter and Ve Neill. I should also mention that Winston's crew made-up of John Rosengrant, Shane Mahan Mark, "Crash" McCreery, and others deserve credit for their contributions on the film.
BATMAN RETURNS - was directed by Tim Burton and starred: Michael Keaton as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Danny DeVito as The Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman/Selina Kyle, Christopher Walken as Max Shreck, Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth, and Pat Hingle as Commissioner James Gordon
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