Craig Zobel Joins ‘The Penguin’ Series as Director and Executive Producer for HBO Max

The “Mare of Easttown” director will helm the first two episodes

Craig Zobel and Colin Farrell (as The Penguin) split
Getty Images / Warner Bros.

Craig Zobel, the Emmy Award-nominated writer, director and producer who was most recently responsible for the Kate Winslet-led crime drama “Mare of Easttown,” will direct and executive produce “The Penguin” for HBO Max.

The series is a spin-off of Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” from earlier this year, with Colin Farrell once again starring as the waddling crime boss.

Zobel is has established himself as one of the most dependable and artistically ambitious filmmakers working in both film and television. An early collaborator of director David Gordon Green (he more recently worked with the filmmaker on “Prince Avalanche”), Zobel has gone on to make a series of fascinating films (starting with “Great World of Sound” in 2007) and some of the most memorable episodes on whatever television show he’s working on (“The Leftovers,” “Westworld”), before directing all of CBS All Access’ “One Dollar” and, of course, HBO’s “Mare of Easttown.”

His most recent film, 2020’s “The Hunt,” was highly controversial and so much fun (it was co-written and produced by his “Leftovers” collaborator Damon Lindelof).

Fortunately for Zobel, “The Penguin” did not meet the same fate as another spin-off of “The Batman,” based around the Gotham PD and executive produced by Terence Winter, which was quietly shelved. And an animated series, tangentially connected and produced by Reeves and his longtime friend and collaborator J.J. Abrams, is being shopped to other streamers after being dropped by HBO Max.

“The Penguin” is executive produced by Reeves, Dylan Clark,  and Farrell. Lauren LeFranc writes for the show and serves as showrunner. Based on characters created for DC by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, the new series is produced by Reeves’ 6th & Idaho Productions and Dylan Clark Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. 6th & Idaho’s Daniel Pipski will serve as executive producer, and Rafi Crohn is co-executive producer.