Having picked up the reigns on The Batman from a weary Ben Affleck, who had been attempting to develop a solo Batman movie since donning the cowl in Warner Bros’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, director Matt Reeves understands that there’s a lot riding on his new vision for the Dark Knight, and in a new interview with Nerdist, he’s been looking back on the films that came before, and how he can create a unique Bruce Wayne story, borne from trauma.
Reeves cast Robert Pattinson as the iconic DC character in his upcoming movie, which was a decision celebrated by fans of the actor who had recently seen his stellar performances in indie films like Good Time, The Lighthouse and High Life, and scoffed at by people who primarily knew Pattinson from his blockbuster days as a sparkly vampire in the Twilight franchise. The director notes that Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan managed to break the mold and do something unexpected with their Batman movies, and he kept that in mind when he first got involved with The Batman.
“I thought, ‘Well, there’s been some terrific Batman movies,’ and I don’t want to be part of a long line of Batman movies where this is just another one,” he explained. “I feel like they’ve been really distinctive. The best ones have been incredible. What Nolan did was incredible. What Tim Burton did was really singular.”
Reeves then went on to describe his favorite aspects of Burton and Nolan’s Batman installments.
“I love Batman Returns. Michelle Pfeiffer was incredible. I love it, I love it so much. It’s so incredible and she’s so incredible in it. I just think it’s such a beautiful movie. I love the Penguin stuff when he’s going down the sewers as the baby. It’s just like, wow. This is the beautiful thing about Tim Burton at his best in that way that he’s got that connection into the fantastical that feels very, very personal.”
He added “The Dark Knight is so incredible and I think that Heath Ledger’s performance and their conception of the Joker in that movie is indelible. And the battle that he engaged with, you know, with Batman/Bruce is incredible.”
“But the thing you take away from it more than anything is that conception, specifically, I think of the Joker. That movie is so much about how it’s a horrifying thing to stare into the abyss, that idea of that level of nihilism. The whole idea that there was nothing you could do because even in the destruction of him, you were fulfilling his aims. It was just a terrifying notion that speaks to an aspect of human nature and that was really profound.”
The director has been promoting Tales from the Loop, a new Amazon sci-fi series he produced based on the celebrated art book by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, as Warner Bros shut down production on The Batman in mid-March during the coronavirus outbreak, but he’s still actively thinking about what his movie can do differently.
“I just felt like well, what I’d love to do is to get a version of this Batman character where he’s not yet fully formed. Where there’s something to do in this context with who that guy would be in this world today, and to ground him in all of these broken ways. Because at the end of the day, this guy is doing all of this to deal with trauma in his past.”
Alongside Pattinson, The Batman also stars Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis and Peter Sarsgaard, and it’s currently set for release on June 25, 2021. You can read our comprehensive guide to the film right here.