Matt Reeves Talks The Batman & His Favorite Previous Caped Crusader Films
On January 28 of this year (a lifetime ago, I know), The Batman began filming in London. Writer/director Matt Reeves was finally shooting his vision of the Caped Crusader (played by Robert Pattinson) plying his dangerous trade in a grittier, more noir version of Gotham. Reeves had been working on the script for years and had assembled a fantastic cast and crew. Then production was shut down on March 14—along with essentially over other major film and television series—due to the spread COVID-19. Warner Bros. had slated The Batman for a June 24, 2021 release, yet it’s unclear when production can start back up again, and, whether the movie will hit its choice summer release date mark. Right now, the health and safety of cast and crews are paramount, so it might be even longer until we see Reeves’ vision of a younger Batman.
This unexpected shut down has given Reeves some extra time to think about The Batman and the character’s history. Recently, he was talking to Nerdist about his stellar new sci-fi series on Amazon, Tales From the Loop, and gamely answered some questions about the film.
Knowing he’s taking on a character with a very rich cinematic history, Reeves, of course, has thoughts on his favorite iterations. It’s not surprising he singled out Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, specifically the jaw-dropping second film, The Dark Knight, with that unforgettable performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker.
“But the thing you take away from it more than anything is that conception, specifically, I think of the Joker,” Reeves told Nerdist‘s Rosie Knight. “That movie is so much about how it’s a horrifying thing to stare into the abyss, that idea of that level of nihilism. The whole idea that there was nothing you could do because even in the destruction of him, you were fulfilling his aims. It was just a terrifying notion that speaks to an aspect of human nature and that was really profound.”
Reeves is keenly aware that as important Bruce Wayne is, Batman films live or die by their villains. Which is why it’s also not surprising that he mentions Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, which included Michelle Pfeiffer as Cat Woman and Dany DeVito as The Penguin. Not for nothing, Reeves has cast his own versions of those classic Batman villains, with Zoe Kravitz playing the former and Colin Farrell the latter.
“Michelle Pfeiffer was incredible. I love it, I love it so much. It’s so incredible and she’s so incredible in it,” Reeves told Nerdist. “I just think it’s such a beautiful movie. I love the Penguin stuff when he’s going down the sewers as the baby. It’s just like, wow. This is the beautiful thing about Tim Burton at his best in that way that he’s got that connection into the fantastical that feels very, very personal.”
As for Reeves’ vision, he says he wanted to show us a Batman in mid metamorphosis, so to speak.
“I just felt like well, what I’d love to do is to get a version of this Batman character where he’s not yet fully formed. Where there’s something to do in this context with who that guy would be in this world today, and to ground him in all of these broken ways. Because at the end of the day, this guy is doing all of this to deal with trauma in his past.”
It will be some time before we see what a Batman not fully formed looks like, but one thing feels certain; whenever The Batman does finally premiere, this is a film you’ll want to see theaters.
Here’s the official synopsis from Warner Bros:
Director Matt Reeves (the “Planet of the Apes” films) is at the helm, with Robert Pattinson (upcoming “Tenet,” “The Lighthouse,” “Good Time”) starring as Gotham City’s vigilante detective, Batman, and billionaire Bruce Wayne.
Starring alongside Pattinson as Gotham’s famous and infamous cast of characters are Zoë Kravitz (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” “Mad Max: Fury Road”) as Selina Kyle; Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy,” “12 Years a Slave”) as Edward Nashton; Jeffrey Wright (the “Hunger Games” films) as the GCPD’s James Gordon; John Turturro (the “Transformers” films) as Carmine Falcone; Peter Sarsgaard (“The Magnificent Seven,” “Black Mass”) as Gotham D.A. Gil Colson; Jayme Lawson (“Farewell Amor”) as mayoral candidate Bella Reál; with Andy Serkis (the “Planet of the Apes” films, “Black Panther”) as Alfred; and Colin Farrell (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Dumbo”) as Oswald Cobblepot.
Featured image: An image from writer/director Matt Reeves ‘The Batman.’ Courtesy Reeves/Warner Bros.