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.