This month of Esquire Mexico has a feature on The Batman and a new photoshoot of the cast. Check it out in our gallery!
With The Batman coming out in less than a month, the press tour begins! What a way to kick it off with a stunning new photoshoot. Robert is on the cover of next month’s issue of GQ magazine! It’s such a different and creative shoot, which suits Robert perfectly.
He is exceptionally handsome. Wide, wild eyes. Large facial features arranged where a sculptor might have put them in 16th-century Italy. He is, unlike some actors, taller than people suppose. (“A lot of Batman fans are like, He’s tiny, he’s tiny! I’m not fucking tiny!” he says. “I’m, like, a large person. About half the time, I’m trying to get skinnier.”) He has that ability to look convincingly different, by meaningful degrees, in many different things. It’s not just hair and weight. It’s the way he can lower or raise an internal dimmer switch to dial the eyes and mouth along a spectrum from, like, American scuzzbucket to French aristocrat. It permits him to work effectively as both a leading bat and a 12-minute scene-stealer. “He’s a chameleon,” Matt Reeves, director of The Batman, says. “Recently, Rob was telling me that he never plays a character with exactly his voice. The voice is one of his ways in.”
In London today, his natural accent is crisp and his words are prudent. But his laughter is freewheeling and he can’t help but start things off by saying precisely what he feels: “I’m so fucking jet-lagged!” He is underdressed: “It’s cold! Fuck!” And he is feeling his age (35): “I can’t do anything anymore!” The effect is something like: English art dealer after a weeklong fair in Hong Kong. He looks like he was maybe at his shiniest six days ago.
We’re walking through Holland Park, at the base of Notting Hill. Not 18 hours earlier, the plan had been for us to visit the London Zoo, but he’d suddenly thought better of it. “I was talking to my girlfriend”—the model and actress Suki Waterhouse—“last night and she was, like, ‘You know, people don’t really like zoos.…’ I’d been thinking about a metaphorical thing. But then I was thinking that’s very wrong, a sad bear walking in circles.” He’d talked himself out of it.
“I just can’t help it,” he says. “I’ll do it for every single element, every decision, in my life. What is the worst-case scenario for this decision?”
His career to this point has been shaped by a combination of talent, desire, luck, attendant fame, and bold choices. The fame came quickly, with Twilight, the teen-vampire saga that grossed billions of dollars and set Pattinson up for a particular kind of path. The choices—smaller movies with singular filmmakers—came as part of his masterfully planned, decade-long prison break out of that one particular career. “I’m constantly doing risk assessments, which drives everybody crazy, trying to predict every single element that could possibly happen. And then, at the end of it, just being like: Ah, fuck it! I’ll just play a lighthouse keeper who fucks a mermaid! I think this is the right move!”
His reputational swerve away from blockbuster moviemaking had taken such a firm hold in recent years that Reeves, who had been thinking of Pattinson while writing The Batman, wasn’t sure Pattinson would be interested in ever returning from his art-house walkabout. But a little mainstream exposure, by way of The Batman, was just as deliberate a choice as turning away in the first place. Get into the bat cave, bank some gains, then charter a new voyage out into riskier film waters again. It was a plan.
Things got off to an auspicious enough start when shooting began at the end of 2019. “Then I broke my wrist at the beginning of it all, doing a stunt, even before COVID. So the whole first section was trying to keep working out—looking like a penguin. I remember when that seemed like the worst thing that could go wrong.” Soon, of course, there were far greater obstacles brought on by the unprecedented global pandemic, which triggered production shutdowns, including the one precipitated by his own “very embarrassing” positive in September 2020, right as everyone was due back from the first interminable break. The delays ultimately stretched the shoot to 18 months—approximately the total time on set of every other Robert Pattinson movie of late combined.
And yet, when the enormous production was full steam amid the raging pandemic, he felt grateful—and even guilty at times—for having a distraction that demanded every bit of his attention. “I just always had this anchor of Batman. Rather than thinking you’re flotsam to the news, you could feel engaged without being paralyzed by it. Everyone I know, if you had a little momentum going in your career or your life, then stopping, you had to have a reckoning with yourself. Whereas I was so incredibly busy the whole time, doing something that was also super high pressure, by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done…. I was still playing Batman at the end of the day, even though the world might end. But just on the off chance that it doesn’t end…” He puts it another way later: “Even if the world burns down, I’ve just got to get this fucking thing out!”
You can read the full interview on GQ’s website!
The Batman is featured in this month’s issue of MovieMaker magazine! It features more images from the film and includes spoiler-free interviews with director Matt Reeves and stars Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell and producer Dylan Clark. Check out scans in our gallery!
What everyone involved in The Batman mentions about director Matt Reeves is his specificity.
“There were times when I thought, maybe we don’t need that comma there,” says Jeffrey Wright, who plays the incorruptible Gotham cop Lt. James Gordon. “And he’s like, ‘Wait a minute — that comma relates to a comma in the next scene. If you take that one out, then it changes the value of the next one.’ It’s a really tightly woven script.”
Speaking to Wright, a few months before the film’s release, I assumed he was kidding about the comma — trying to make a point about Reeves’ exactitude without giving away any plot points of the most-anticipated movie of 2022.
So I asked Reeves.
“I’m sure that is true,” he says, adding: “Hearing that makes me feel somewhat bad.”
We’re speaking over Zoom, and his hair and mustache make him look a little like a cross between Ethan Hawke and the version of Jim Gordon played by Gary Oldman in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. His response, like his thinking about the comma, is patient, deliberative, and a little apologetic for being so deliberative.
“The first thing that I’m doing when I’m working is I’m trying to internalize everything. Because if I have it internalized, then my compass is functional,” Reeves explains. “So I’m trying to feel what it would be like for everybody. But I am not the actor that any of these people are — I’m just an actor on paper in my head, and in a vision, and I have an instinct about what the emotional path is.
“When Jeffrey comes in, he has so many great ideas. He’s an amazing actor, so he brings something to life. So the last thing I’d want to do is to have him do it the way I would do it, because it won’t be nearly as good,” he explains. “But the specificity of the comma has to do with emphasis — and that is narrative. There are moments when the comma is narrative, the comma is something that sets something apart that’s going to come back in an important way. And this story, in particular, is the most intricate narrative I have ever, ever tried to tackle.”
The details really do matter, says Robert Pattinson, who plays Bruce Wayne and Batman, two personalities who are painfully intertwined in The Batman. Pattinson says he was worried at first when Reeves would ask for a lot of takes.
“Your first thought is, Oh my God, I’m absolutely terrible,” he laughs, with trademark self-deprecation. But when Reeves would show him the playback of scenes, which Reeves likes to do, he began to see the same make-or-break nuances the director did. For example, the mask. The Batman cinematographer Greig Fraser, who also shot Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, told Pattinson early on: “The two most difficult things to light are Darth Vader’s helmet and the cowl.”
“There’s a whole different language, body language, you have to learn to make it do what you want it to do,” says Pattinson. “If you look too much into the light, it looks completely ridiculous, and you’re wearing a Halloween costume. But if you’re like two millimeters down, it’s like — oh, that’s completely totemic, and like it looks exactly how it’s supposed to look. But to learn how to feel that and learn how to react to how the light hits it, takes forever.
Every millimeter matters.
“There was a scene where I — Selina — was coming out of a club and I’m upset,” recalls Zoë Kravitz, who plays Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. “And he said, ‘You know, you walk out and you’re upset and your mouth is kind of open, because you’re breathing, because you’re emotional. And then you’re closing your mouth, but we’re just kind of getting rid of the emotion, just slightly. So try to just keep your mouth relaxed the same way.’ But then I watched back and I can see the difference. And I was like, ‘You are a freak and I love it.’”
Besides directing The Batman, Reeves co-wrote the script with Peter Craig. “Every day, night and day, he eats, drinks, sleeps Batman, and all the characters in this mythology,” says Colin Farrell, who plays Oz, aka The Penguin. “He’s no doubt hunched over a monitor as we speak, still finishing putting the final touches together.”
“Matt is the most specific person and director I’ve ever worked with,” adds Kravitz. “And I really think it’s one of his biggest strengths. I think sometimes he beats himself up about it, because he can probably drive himself almost crazy sometimes. But his specificity is really beautiful, especially in a film like this where it can be so easy to just focus on the big action sequences or the explosions. And he will pay attention to the way you put down a cup.”
A puzzle is its pieces. A mystery is its clues. The Batman is assembled and informed by Reeves’ reverence for films released in his 1970s childhood — conspiratorial thrillers including Klute, Chinatown, and All the President’s Men.
Every detail is important, because this Batman, more than any before it, is a detective story.
You can read the full interview at MovieMaker!