As fans of the Batman franchise wait to see how Robert Pattinson compares to the Bruce Wayne’s of the past, The Batman filmmaker Matt Reeves reveals why the Twilight actor was the best choice for this “world's greatest detective” version of the character.
“I wanted him to be an early-days Batman who was not in control,” Reeves told Yahoo Canada. “I thought it was this idea of him being imperfect, the idea of him not yet being fully aware of how much his shadow side was driving him, and that the movie could be an awakening for him.”
The filmmaker first thought of Pattinson for the role when he saw the actor in the 2017 film Good Time from Benny and Josh Safdie, with a story centred around the Pattinson’s character, Connie, trying to get his younger brother out of jail after a bank robbery gone wrong.
“In it, he had this crazy, out of control, obsessive drive,” Reeves explained. “I thought, oh this actually lines up a bit with the energy that I imagine this early-days Batman, who is doing what he's doing not in a very cerebral way, in a very visceral way, and in some ways he's not in control of it.”
“He doesn't realize the degree to which it's really about trying to fulfill and get vengeance for what happened to him as a kid and so, there was something in Rob that I felt connected to that idea, that kind of electric drive.”
In The Batman Bruce Wayne is a moody, emo, oftentimes insecure person, with a vulnerable side that really comes through in this particular storytelling.
What makes this narrative particularly compelling is the focus on the psychology of the character. In this iteration of the Batverse, we see Bruce Wayne using the Batman persona as a way to cope with trauma, including the death of his parents, and his emotions, a departure from what we’ve seen on screen in more recent years.
“Bruce is really doing this because part of him is very fragile,” Reeves said. “He never wants to be that vulnerable again but the vulnerability is there, because that's what being human is.”
'World's greatest detective' story in gritty Gotham
In The Batman, Bruce Wayne has been Batman for just two years, but crime has been rising in Gotham. He works with James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) to catch the Riddler (Paul Dano) after an initial high-profile, politically-motivated murder. Akin to the Zodiac Killer, the Riddler and Batman start off on a chase, based on clues or “riddles” left for Batman, personal to Bruce Wayne.
“One of the very early ideas was to see if I could use this world's greatest detective version of the character to investigate a case that's about the history of Gotham, really all these murders relate to the corruption in the city, and to find a way then to make it personal by having it come back to his origins,” Matt Reeves said. “But origins that, in some way, he didn't realize, so that they would shake him to his core.”
“That could cause him to have a transformation and an evolution, and that was important to me, to have a Batman who wasn't static,...I wanted Batman's arc to be the centre of the story.”
For anyone who may have been apprehensive about Robert Pattinson taking on Batman, he’s exceptionally fitting to play this brooding character, but solidified even more in the dynamic between him and Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman, the perfect angst-y duo.
Putting Batman against the backdrop of a dark, gritty Gotham, more gritty than you may expect, gives The Batman welcome perspective. At the core is Reeves tackling that battle of what, morally and ethically, it means to be a “superhero.”
The Batman will be released in theatres on March 4