The Penguin's parents, Tucker and Esther Cobblepot, are played by Paul Reubens and Diane Salinger. The pair were the stars of director Tim Burton’s big break, “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure,” and Burton was sure to work them into his “Batman” franchise.
While most comic book films today try to follow the source material closely, it’s clear that Tim Burton was reinventing Catwoman and Penguin to fit his vision. Danny Devito’s Penguin is a freak inside and out with a non-comics backstory, and Catwoman is an ordinary secretary driven to crime.
Gotham has long been a thinly-veiled stand-in for New York City, but in “Batman Returns,” the city takes on its own unique personality. With the help of Anton Furst and Bo Welch, Burton’s "Batman" films create a Gotham that is unlike any other place on earth.
Christopher Walken’s ruthless Max Shreck is one of Burton’s many nods to silent films and German Expressionism. One of the first movie vampires was played by German actor Max Schreck in the landmark silent horror film "Nosferatu."
Danny Devito’s Oswald Cobblepot, better known as the Penguin, was also inspired by silent horror films. The character’s white face, black lips, and black-ringed eyes recall the title character of the classic 1920 film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”