Robert Pattinson helps a new Batman out of the darkness


Robert Pattinson is not morally opposed to superhero movies. But he wasn’t exactly looking for them before “The Batman” came along.

The 35-year-old who seemed to be emerging as a fully formed superstar in mega franchises like ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’ has found himself over the past decade pursuing bolder, smaller movies with directors interesting and roles where he could stretch and disappear behind an archaic New England accent, like in “The Lighthouse,” an explorer’s scruffy beard in “The Lost City of Z,” or the clash of bleached hair messy that accompanies him on an endless chase in “Good Time,” to name a few.

What’s odd is that it was “Good Time,” a $2 million movie, and its frenetic, plummeting energy that convinced director Matt Reeves that Pattinson should be his Batman. It was 2017 and Reeves, the man who brought freshness and courage to the last two ‘Planet of the Apes’ films, had raised his hand to usher in a new iteration of the Dark Knight while Ben Affleck was in hanging up his cap. Reeves began writing the film for Pattinson, not having a clue how interesting it would be.

Fortunately, in Pattinson’s mind, Batman predated and existed outside of the “superhero craze.” Growing up in England, he remembers watching the cartoon, the Adam West series (which he swears was still shown in the UK as a child in the 1990s) and coveting his costume and his Happy Meal toys. Then there were the movies.

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“No other movie has been so deeply reimagined in so many different ways,” Pattinson said. “Tonally, it’s kind of that they’re not on the same show. There is like another type of inheritance.

Reeves’ idea was to return to Batman’s detective roots, creating a 1970s noir style a la “Chinatown” or “The French Connection” that meets classic “Warner Bros.” gangster picture” where Batman and Gordon hunt a Zodiac-like killer who leaves riddles addressed to Batman at crime scenes around Gotham.

“I didn’t want to reinvent the franchise, but in some ways take it back to its roots, which are in mystery and detective work,” said Jeffrey Wright, who plays Gordon. “He wanted to celebrate Batman as the world’s greatest detective.”

Reeves knew he couldn’t do a straight-up origin story – audiences have seen Martha Wayne’s scattered pearls more than enough times – so he decided to drop audiences off somewhere where Bruce isn’t Batman. only for a little over a year.

“You have to realize what people love about Batman,” Reeves said. “You’re going to have a Batmobile chase, you’re going to have spectacle, fights, he’s going to come out of the dark in the suit…all of that is essential. But you also have to do something fresh.

This hero version is more reclusive than playboy and he doesn’t spend his precious hours on bodybuilding either. Reeves said he saw him as a bit out of control and a bit “uptight”, like a drug addict who goes out every night looking for street fights and sleeps during the day.

“We find him in a place where he hasn’t perfected himself yet, declaring himself an agent of revenge,” Reeves said.

To star alongside Batman, Zoë Kravitz was cast as Selina Kyle, the femme fatale with a traumatic past who is on her way to becoming Catwoman. The chemistry between Pattinson and Kravitz, who are longtime friends, was “immediately apparent,” Reeves said.

“I think they’re very attracted to each other, and they push each other’s buttons as well,” Kravitz said. “They’re both people who have been alone for a really long time…it’s scary for them to feel vulnerable or care about someone.”

They also enlisted a host of veteran actors to complete the corrupt world of Gotham, including John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Paul Dano as Edward Nashton/The Riddler, Andy Serkis as Alfred and a Colin Farrell disguised as a prosthesis as Oz/The Penguin.

“I just had carte blanche to experiment and play,” said Farrell, who as a lifelong Batman fan was even a little amazed to see Pattinson in “the suit” for the first time.

Production began in the UK in January 2020 and things went well until the world shut down in March 2020. With around 25% of ‘The Batman’ filmed, Reeves even wondered if they would finish. . They resumed five months later, with several hiatuses due to COVID-19 cases, and finally ended in March 2021.

“I didn’t realize how much work it had actually been,” Pattinson said. “I looked like I was living under a rock…I literally hadn’t seen the sun for about 18 months. I just feel like I’m vaguely back to normal now.

Now, after several release delays, the film finally hits theaters around the world on March 4. Anticipation is always high for a Batman movie, but “The Batman” carries more than the weight of a normal blockbuster on its shoulders, from the enormous box office pressures on how audiences will receive Pattinson and the new direction of the franchise, which includes plans for more movies and a spin-off series.

But Pattinson thinks the pressure “is great”.

“Sometimes you can put so much effort into something and then nobody cares, so just know there’s kind of a ravenous audience out there,” Pattinson said, taking a beat and smiling before adding, “I hope.”

“People are going to have an opinion on whether you did it right or not,” he said. “That’s exciting.”

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

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