As he wrote The Batman, director Matt Reeves kept coming back to one actor he thought would be perfect for his gritty, divided version of the Caped Crusader. He knew Robert Pattinson would be exactly right, and started writing with him in mind — without telling Robert Pattinson.
Little did he know — and quite fortuitously — it turns out that around the same time, Pattinson was also taken with the idea of playing Batman.
“I’ve never auditioned for any comic book movies before,” Pattinson told MovieMaker for our cover story about Reeves and the making of The Batman. “And at the time, even my agents thought it pretty out of character to just suddenly get fixated on Batman. And I didn’t even really know the status of the project.”
When Ben Affleck, who had played Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2016’s Batman v Superman and 2017’s Justice League, decided not to proceed with plans to direct and star in a solo Batman film, Warner Bros. turned to Reeves. The director in turn enlisted producer Dylan Clark to join him on the project. The two had worked together on two of the three Planet of the Apes films that Clark produced.
Clark and Reeves had been very impressed with Pattinson’s dramatic roles, in which he proved after the Twilight series that he wasn’t just great at playing a vampire. He especially stood out in the electric, adrenalized 2017 Safdie brothers crime movie Good Time.
“I had no idea that Matt had seen Good Time and thought, ‘I want to do a really dirty, dirty, slimy Batman,’” Pattinson told MovieMaker.
At one point early into Reeves work on The Batman script, he had a general meeting with Clark, where they talked about many possible film projects, but nothing specific.
“We’re talking about 20 different things. And then he starts kind of saying, ‘So what’s going on with Batman?’” Clark says.
“It was a kind of almost fated thing,” says Reeves. “Of course, at that point, we were still working on the script. And so there was nothing to share. But I met with him probably about eight months later, and I shared the script, and we just really connected.”
So why Robert Pattinson as Batman? Matt Reeves explains:
“Batman is an amazing myth that has endured for over 80 years. And it’s because of that crazy mix. There’s a part of it that is just simply cool, right? He looks cool. He’s got a cool car. He’s got all the stuff. He’s like James Bond, I guess, in a certain way, right? But there’s also something very relatable to the pain that he’s gone through.
“And so that, for me, was how you ground it — those aspects are part of the story. And this story emphasizes those things. This story pulls those things out. So that’s why I was so excited about Robert Pattinson because he’s such a wonderful actor. And I knew that he would be able to go on that search with me for the depth and complexity of this character. I mean, I knew he wasn’t going to play him straight ahead.”
The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves, arrives in theaters March 4.
Main image: Robert Pattinson as The Batman.