Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz and Matt Reeves on “The Batman”
Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, Christopher Nolan, and Zack Snyder are just four of the notable movie directors that have brought the comic book character of Batman to life on the big screen. In 2022, Matt Reeves takes over the hot seat as director of the Warner Bros’ release, The Batman.
In the live-action film, British actor Robert Pattinson dons the iconic cowl as the caped crusader, alongside Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman. The cast list also features Golden Globe-winning actors such as Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin and Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon.
While many of the project’s finer details are being kept under wraps, superhero fans were in for a treat at the 2021 DC FanDome event where Pattinson, Kravitz and Reeves revealed some behind-the-scenes secrets from the making of the movie, along with the latest trailer.
“For some reason, Batman has always stood out as one of the major characters of the 20th century,” Pattinson explained at the movie’s virtual panel. “So many people connect to him on such a deep level and for so many different reasons. The first conversation I had with Matt about it, I just knew there was something radically different from anything we’ve seen in Batman movies before.”
Director and co-writer Matt Reeves continued: “I felt like we’ve seen lots of origin stories. We’ve seen things go further and further into fantasy. I thought, ‘Well, one place we haven’t been is grounding it the way that [the Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli comic book] Year One does; to come right into a young Batman and not be an origin tale but refer to his origins and shake him to his core.”
Batman: Year One is a story arc for Gotham City’s notorious superhero that was originally published in comic books in 1987. It was adapted into an animated movie in 2011 and follows Batman’s early days as a crime-fighter.
Describing his Gotham City character in the movie, Pattinson revealed: “He doesn’t have as much control over his personality. The delineation between when he’s Batman and when he’s Bruce [Wayne] is not so clear. In other iterations, he really knows what he’s doing when he’s putting on the cowl – but I really liked this idea of [him being] a little bit out of control. He hasn’t completely defined what Batman is. He gets lost in it, whenever he’s putting it on every night. He’s not sleeping, and he’s becoming this odd creature.”
The revealing online panel, which was broadcast live in 12 languages across numerous countries, also delved into the audition process that led to the casting of Pattinson and Kravitz. “There was something very special and magical about the way you guys played off each other, right from the beginning,” admitted Reeves. “There was great chemistry and I felt like there was a connection, which you naturally had. Do you remember the screen test when you guys got together for the first time?”
“I definitely remember, because that was basically my audition,” replied Kravitz. “Rob was already cast, so that was my audition. And I was really nervous.”
Kravitz was handed a helmet for her screen test, which caused her some consternation. The Big Little Lies actress continued: “They were like, ‘Here’s this helmet. You have to walk out, take off the helmet and do the scene.’ But it’s sometimes really hard to look cool when you’re taking off [a helmet]. It gets stuck. And I was like, ‘This is how I lose the part. I lose the part because I can’t take off a helmet.’
The significance of the iconic role of Catwoman is not lost on Kravitz. “I obviously understand the gravity of a character like this and what she means to so many people,” she admitted. “But what felt really important was to focus on the story that we’re telling in this moment and to try and create a real human being. I don’t want her to be an idea. I want her to be a real human being in a real situation in a real city, trying to survive and reacting to her own pain and her history. I really, really focused on this particular story in this particular moment in this woman’s life.”
For Pattinson’s audition, the filmmakers decided to send over Val Kilmer’s costume from Batman Forever. “It was crazy,” the British actor recalled. “I remember putting it on and thinking, ‘This is going to be absolutely impossible.’ Wearing a two-inch-thick rubber suit and being incredibly nervous and full of adrenaline the whole time… I remember we did two takes and [Matt Reeves] was saying, ‘What can we do about the sweat?’ I was like, ‘Nothing. There’s nothing that can be done. I have to be drained of liquid.’”
The virtual panel for The Batman served as a finale to the four-hour DC FanDome event, which concluded with the release of the movie’s latest trailer. “Here’s what you’ve been waiting so patiently for,” Reeves revealed at the end of their session, to the delight of fans across the world.