THE BATMAN | Esquire Middle East Article Recap

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Here’s a recap of a fantastic article on THE BATMAN via ESQUIRE (Middle East)…

Matt Reeves avoided Warner’s requests for a meeting for quite some time as he was deep into post-production on WAR OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.  And then his agent said he should probably take it because it was about Batman…

I’ve always felt that the Batman story was a very special story. He’s not really a superhero. He’s someone who’s driven by the pain of his past. He’s trying to find some way to make sense of his life. It’s a very psychological story. This is the character I relate to most.

Ben Affleck — who had already walked away from directing this new solo Batman film — was still technically attached to star in it.  So Reeves met with Warner Bros. and they wanted him to direct the film using Ben Affleck’s script…

I read a script that they had that was a totally valid take on the movie. It was very action-driven. It was very deeply connected to the DCEU, with other major characters from other movies and other comics popping up. I just knew that when I read it this particular script was not the way I’d want to do it.

I said look, I think maybe I’m not the person for this. And I explained to them why I love this character. I told them that there have been so many great movies, but if I were to do this, I’d have to make it personal, so that I understood what I was going to do with it, so that I know where to put the camera, so that I know what to tell the actors, so that I know what the story should be. This take, I told them, pointing at the script, is a totally valid and exciting take. It is almost James Bond-ian, but it wasn’t something that I quite related to.

Reeves went into the meeting thinking he was going to have to tell WB thanks, but no thanks…

So what I’d love to do, if you’re interested, is I’d like to get involved and find a way to take the story and make it very, very personal and get to the place I want him to be, to make it a Batman story and give him the arc, and have the story rock him to his core. It wasn’t going to be another origin story, not with Ben already in the character. But that’s what I would do.

I said, but here’s the other thing. This is why I think you’re not going to want me to direct this movie. I can’t even tell you what that story is, for months, because I have to finish this APES movie. And to my utter shock and surprise, they said, ‘you know what, we really would like you to do this. And we will wait.’

While he was finishing WOTPA, Affleck quit the project altogether — which made the project even more appealing to Reeves and his producing partner, Dylan Clark because they now had a totally blank slate…

I hadn’t worked out the story. I had this north star of a guiding principle. Then the fact that there was this moment of transition, out of that came an opportunity to say, ok, what if we didn’t do another origin tale? What if, instead, we went to the imperfect Batman of his early days?

I wanted the main character in the story to be a Batman who was a year in and still trying to figure out how to do this, how to be effective, and he’s not necessarily succeeding. He’s broken and driven. He’d like to think that he is doing the right thing, that there’s another part of him that’s struggling right up against the limits. I think his biggest weakness is not realizing the extent to which the person that he’s fighting is himself.

Enter Robert Pattinson.  Here’s Dylan Clark on RP…

Rob had just been doing these amazing parts with these incredible directors, and showcasing all of these skills. GOOD TIME was a movie we just marvel at. He’s so real, he’s so intense. There was an emotional arc, a trajectory that really resonated with us You really have to find an actor that has a lot of chops. We were blessed that Rob wanted to do it because he has those abilities. He is that talented.

And as we know, Pattinson was already plotting to get a chance to play Batman…

I just knew there was something radically different from anything we’d seen in Batman movies before.  Right from the beginning, there’s a desperation to him. He’s really working out this rage. All the fights seem very personal. He wants to inflict his kind of justice. He’s just compelled to do it. There is no other option.

The article ends with something we already know: Reeves is planning on building a THE BATMAN-verse and the goal was and is to deliver something definitive…

There’s no question it’s going to continue on long after this. It’s great because it’s a great myth. It allows itself to almost endless reinterpretation. There have been so many iterations, and what was important for me, critical for me was, I could not go into doing this one without feeling like we would have something definitive to stay to say about this myth. I think that a lot of these great myths have that power, which is that if they truly resonate, they allow you to find a way to take the aspects of it that people love, and then do something new with it. And then people connect to it all over again. And I hope that’s what we’ve done.

There is a lot more to this feature article than these few excerpts and I highly recommend that y’all give it a read. – Bill “Jett” Ramey