Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves for Los Angeles Times

After a long wait, The Batman has finally hit the theaters! Robert Pattinson and director Matt Reeves spoke with Los Angeles Times to discuss the movie, their take on the iconic character, the future of the Batman franchise, and much more.

Rob, you’ve spent the past decade working with directors like David Cronenberg, Claire Denis and the Safdie brothers on smaller, artier films. It didn’t appear you were on a trajectory toward a comic-book movie. So what grabbed you about the proposition here?

Pattinson: Even like five years ago, I was the last person I would think would be cast as Batman. I’m never normally in consideration for superhero parts at all. Usually [in those roles] you’re either a total unknown or someone who just, I don’t know, seems more obvious.

I don’t understand what it was about Batman, but I got really fixated on it and kept pushing my agent about it. I loved Matt’s work on the “Planet of the Apes” movies so much, and a lot of Matt’s work. and I was thinking, if you can get that performance out of a monkey … . [laughs] Then I met Matt and just he had such an interesting take on the character, and it just felt very different and kind of dangerous. It felt like a big, big mountain to climb.

Reeves: Because of all those movies you mentioned, I thought Rob might not be interested in being on that [superhero casting] list. But for some reason, in my mind, it was Rob. From the work I had seen him doing, I just was like, ‘Wow, he’s such a chameleon.’ Specifically in the Safdie brothers movie [“Good Time”], there was a kind of desperation and drive and also a vulnerability that I thought was very Batman, and I thought that mix was so powerful.

Given all the previous iterations of the character in movies, TV, video games and comics, what were your initial thoughts about how you could approach Batman in a way that felt fresh?

Pattinson: In our first meeting, Matt mentioned Kurt Cobain was one of the linchpins of the character. Just that put something in my head. There’s something about this kind of self-imposed torment that I always found really interesting and also inheriting a life that you’re not entirely sure you want but also feel like you cannot give up at all. I remember we also talked a lot about Michael Corleone.

Reeves: One of the great things about Batman is, because he doesn’t have any superpowers, it’s extremely psychological. He’s really doing this as a way of coping, because something happened to him [in his childhood] that he’s never gotten over. He’s exorcising these demons night after night after night.

He is a character who essentially is stunted. He’s sort of stuck emotionally at being 10 years old, and that’s exacerbated by the fact that he has this safety net of being incredibly rich. But he chooses to do this very brave, daring, reckless, almost suicidal thing, trying make meaning out of his life by going out and taking the law into his own hands.

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by Jasper 04.03.2022

GQ: The Metamorphosis of Robert Pattinson

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!

by Jasper 08.02.2022