With great power comes great responsibility. Yes, we know that he is a different superhero, but how is the director of the batman feeling?
“Terrified,” says Matt Reeves.
The journey to the screen of the new Batman movie has been long and exhausting. Nearly a decade ago, Ben Affleck was cast as the caped crusader in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It is Affleck’s most successful film at the box office. By any other metric, it was a disaster: Critics hated it, fans hated it more, and it launched DC down a superhero movie route (suicide squad; League of Justice) which was getting worse and worse. For every new star in an ever brighter Marvel Cinematic Universe, rival DC couldn’t catch a break. The memory of Christopher Nolan’s referent The dark knight trilogy seemed to be gently entering that good night. The best bet for Bat fans seemed like another outlet for Lego Batman, which was fun at least. But DC wanted another Batman movie.
They called Matt Reeves, director of the acclaimed monster movie clover field (2008), as well as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and War for the planet of the apes (2017) “Ben [Affleck] I had been working on a version of the script,” says Reeves, “and I said, ‘Here’s the thing: I respect that the DC Universe has become an extended universe and that all the movies are connected. But another Batman movie shouldn’t have to carry the weight of connecting characters from all those other movies. I didn’t want them there.”
A Batman movie without Aquaman (he can control sea life), Cyborg (he’s a cyborg), or any of the other cheesy Justice League characters already sounded like a 100 percent improvement. As Robert Pattinson (we’ll talk about him) puts it in a two-minute promotional video for the new film, “Batman has stood out as one of the major characters of the 20th century, and so many people connect with him on such a deep level through many reasons.” He deserved better.
Reeves’ next issue was this. Sure, you could reboot Batman: he’s been done dozens of times since he first appeared in Detective Comics in 1939, almost certainly more. But would anyone have the stomach to retell his origin story from a slightly different angle? “We’ve seen it so many times,” says Reeves. “Too much has been done. I knew we couldn’t do that.”
He read a ton and was blown away by the comic. Batman: Year One, the four 1987 issues directed by writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli, which featured a troubled young Bruce Wayne figuring out how to be a vigilante. The tone is detective noir, the violence is streetwise and nasty, and you’ll be looking in vain for a superhero stunt or Mr. Freeze-esque “Let me break the ice” pun. . Vocation Batman: Year One realistic would be an exaggeration. But it’s almost as realistic as a comic book about a mentally dubious loner who disguises himself and starts hunting criminals at night. This proto-Batman underestimates his opponents, gets shot by the police and his costume doesn’t suit him. (It’s great, and it happens to be my favorite comic.) Other influences on Reeves included the New Hollywood classics of the 1970s: the french connection, Chinatown Y Taxi driver. Also, Kurt Cobain.
“In the beginning, when I was writing, I started listening to Nirvana, and there was something about [Nevermind song] ‘Algo en el Camino’, which is in the first trailer, in which part of the voice of said character is found. When I considered, ‘How do you do Bruce Wayne in a way that hasn’t been seen before?’ I started thinking, ‘What if a tragedy happened? [ie: Wayne sees his parents murdered] and this guy gets so lonely we don’t know what he’s doing? Is this guy some kind of wayward and reckless drug addict? And the truth is, he’s kind of a junkie. His drug is his addiction to this drive for revenge. He is like a Kurt Cobain Batman.”
Batman’s main opponent in the batman is The Riddler. Not the version of Jim Carrey in Val Kilmer’s lime green catsuit covered in question marks. batman forever (nineteen ninety five). But an interpretation of Paul Dano, disheveled and without disguises, who communicates with the police through ciphers, based on the Zodiac Killer. Batman is a superhero with no superpowers, but he is “the world’s greatest detective.” Reeves’ Batman, to the surprise and amazement of the internet when it was announced in 2019, is Robert Pattinson.
“Of course, the idea [to fit with the Year One story] was to make him a younger actor,” he says. “And in the process of writing the film, I saw [the fantastic 2017 Safdie brothers film] Good weather, and I thought, ‘Okay, he’s got a kind of internal rage that connects to this character and a dangerousness, and I can feel this desperation.’ And I came back determined that it was Rob. And he had no idea if Rob had any interest! Because of course he had done all these independent movies after settling in Twilight.”
Unbeknownst to Reeves, or presumably anyone at DC, he had one thing on his side: Pattinson was a huge Batman fan. “He heard we were doing this and got excited that there was going to be another version of this character,” says Reeves. “So when I met him and he read the script, we talked for a long, long time and I realized, ‘This guy is a huge fan.'”
Pattinson fit the part, but he still had to audition. Ridiculously, he did it in Val Kilmer’s old bat suit. “The Warner brothers are like, ‘Look, we’re not going to do anything for someone for a screen test.’ but you go there [into WB] and they have all the suits from Michael Keaton. They said, ‘Look, we’ve done this on every one of them. [Christian] Bale came in and put on one of the original suits.
“I’m not going to say it was a good fit,” Reeves continues. “But it fit better. He was a little old, and when he started to act, he started to heat up the hood and the hood started to sag in his face. You could see him thinking, ‘How am I going to act in this suit?’ But putting on a Batman suit is also transformative. You start to feel the power of having that armor on.”
Completing the Grunge Gotham vibe, like the 31 million people who watched the batman The trailer in its first 24 hours noted that Pattinson’s Batman is wearing emo eyeliner. What’s up with that?
“You can’t wear a hood and not wear that. All the Batmen wear that,” Reeves says, not entirely convincingly. “I loved the idea of taking off [the mask] And underneath that is the sweat and the drip and all the theatrics of becoming this character.”
One of the things that makes the character of Batman so interesting is that he is so malleable. It can be the cheesy Adam West of the 1960s or the angry Christian Bale of the 2000s, and both are equally valid. Overwhelmingly, the YouTube comments section is going crazy over the “I am revenge!” This guy’s catchy craziness from the 2020 version of Pattinson, based on two or three trailers. But it is fair to say that not everyone thought that the skinny Twilight It was a stroke of genius in the casting.
“There was no actor, when his announcement was announced that he was going to play Batman in one of the feature films, that he didn’t get a backlash,” says Reeves.
“I knew that the people who were excited were because they knew about Rob’s work after theTwilight. The people who weren’t excited, I knew it was because they didn’t know about Rob’s work after…Twilight.”
What about the other iconography that comes with the character, no matter how you choose to tell their story? In the batmanWayne Manor is depicted falling apart: “He doesn’t care about any of the pitfalls of being a [millionaire] Wayne at this point,” Reeves says, citing Gus Van Sant’s comment. Last daysthe fictional 2005 version of Kurt Cobain’s sad, slow demise (just like that movie, we’ll apparently see amps stacked in a storage room).
The new Batcave is based on a secret subway train that still exists in New York. “The idea is that some of these rich families of industrialists had private train cars at the beginning of the century. So the Batcave is actually in the foundation of this tower. It was [another] way of saying, ‘How can we root all these things into things that feel real, but also extraordinary?’”
And finally, a new Batmobile. “The Nolan movies set up the Batmobile as a tank, which was a brilliant idea,” says Reeves. “But I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if this guy is a loner and a gear freak and designs these things himself, taking parts from other cars and kit cars?’ So it’s recognizable as a car this time. But it’s like a muscle car. One that he himself has made.
Reeves says it’s daunting but also very exciting to see his Batman come to life – he’s days away from finishing the film when this interview takes place in late 2021.
“I am very proud of it. I felt that it was the best version of the story that we could do to justify having another bat Man,” he says. “You always have to have a reason, and from the beginning that was the mission for me.” Sequels and spin-offs based on Gotham City are being planned. It is safe to assume that they will remain free of Aquaman. now.”Obviously it’s going to have a lot to do with how people receive this movie,” says Reeves.”But a lot of things are in the works.”
When Bruce Wayne/Batman is looking for criminals for the first time in Batman: Year Onethere is a painting in which Reeves noted that “he is dressed in what I thought looked like an image of Taxi driver”. Some of Frank Miller’s notes to David Mazzucchelli are included on the back of a commemorative edition of Year one, published a few years ago. In that same framework, Miller writes that he wanted Batman to “basically look like he won a Taxi driver-competition of similarities. Reeves laughed out loud when he read that. They were literally on the same page.
At the beginning of this article, there was a DC movie that we glossed over. One who defied his lucky streak with rum, and did so in spectacular style. That film was the double Oscar winner in 2019. jester. A key influence on that? too Taxi driver. Don’t bet Batman isn’t about to be resurrected.
The Batman opens in theaters on March 4