The Batman’s Robert Pattinson describes his worst day filming beneath the cowl in Warner Bros./DC Films’ latest iteration of the Caped Crusader.
The Batman’s Robert Pattinson describes his worst day filming Warner Bros./DC Films’ latest iteration of the Caped Crusader. Pattinson will play Bruce Wayne, Gotham City’s Dark Knight, in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which is slated to hit theaters on March 4th. In addition to Pattinson, the film stars Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Jeffrey Wright as Lieutenant James Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin, and Paul Dano as Edward Nashton/Riddler. Inspired by comics like Batman: Year One, The Batman will find its titular vigilante in his second year as he hunts Riddler, a Zodiac-esque serial killer targeting elites to unveil Gotham’s corruption.
Ben Affleck was meant to direct, write, and star in a DCEU version of The Batman. However, he eventually left the project and Pattinson was cast as the third person to don the cape and cowl in a decade. There’s a lot of pressure on his rendition to deliver something fresh while honoring what came before—from Batmobile to Batsuit. While the most emotional scenes in previous Batman films took place outside the cowl, the design of Pattinson’s Batsuit allows for more emotive freedom. It was Reeves’ vision to keep the cowl on Bruce as much as possible and have Pattinson emote equipped with little more than squints and eyebrow raises, which proved difficult for the actor.
During a Q&A event attended by Screen Rant, Reeves and Pattinson discussed the challenges of lengthy monologues and acting beneath Batman’s cowl. The director jokingly called the idea to make emotions visible through the cowl “a terrible mistake” because they “had no idea how hard it was going to be.” At times, Reeves would ask Pattinson for “more,” not realizing the actor was on the verge of having “an embolism.” The pair spoke about a specific moment on set when Pattinson became frustrated with how theatrical he had to become to emote:
“One of the things I love to do when I’m working with actors is say, ‘Well come take a look,’” said Reeves. “And [Rob would] be like, ‘How can that not be enough? I’m overacting. It’s ridiculous.’ And I’d say, ‘Come take a look, Rob.’ He’d go, ‘Oh, you can’t see my eyes.’”
“That was maybe the worst day of the whole shoot, because I really, genuinely thought it was you that was wrong,” said Pattinson. “And then I was like, ‘How can we be doing 40 takes?’ And then you’re like, ‘Just come and look at it.’ And I was looking at it and I go, ‘Wow, I just look like — there’s nothing.’”
Reeves also said, “thank God I had Rob to work with,” praising the actor’s ability to be technical and incredibly emotional in a way very few superheroes have in the past. For example, Spider-Man movies have used CGI eyes, overt physicality, or taken off the mask entirely to emote. Christian Bale’s animalistic Batman voice is certainly the most iconic example of theatricality beneath the cowl—something Pattinson experimented with before being told to change his vocal technique. Regarding Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Tom Hardy had the unique challenge of acting with the bottom half of his face covered while portraying Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.
As evident by Pattinson and Reeves comments as well as The Batman trailers, Bruce will be spending more time as Batman than himself in the film. In previous interviews, Pattinson has compared his character’s need to don the cowl to an addiction, which is why he needed to perfect acting beneath it. As was the case in Nolan’s trilogy, Bruce pretended to be an aloof playboy to mask his true persona as Batman. With a largely absent Bruce, The Batman is poised to explore the dichotomy between its hero’s personas and how each one is equally important.
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