Robert Pattinson as the new Caped Crusader in Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman has been one of the most exciting stories to follow in the world of movie news. The first batch of rumours started circling the internet months ago. As with a lot of Batman characters casting in the past (see Michael Keaton as Batman and Heath Ledger as The Joker), the rumour received a ton of backlash. The Twilight guy as Batman? Get outta town.
But there were also a ton of people (including the pop culture team at Lowyat) who defended this choice passionately. After all, post-Twilight, Pattinson has turned himself into one of the most underrated talents in world cinema. You only need to check out Good Time on Netflix to know that the man can act his soul out. Other great performances include The Rover and The Lost City of Z.
A few days ago, news broke saying there’s a chance Pattinson might not be Gotham’s Dark Knight as Nicholas Hoult, who plays Beast in the X-Men franchise is also a front runner for the role. However, hours after that, another story dropped saying that after screen testing both Pattinson and Hoult and much deliberation, Matt Reeves has officially selected the man who once glowed under the sun as his new Batman.
A new story by The Hollywood Reporter covers in detail why exactly Robert Pattinson was eventually picked as The Batman. When Matt Reeves was first brought on to pen and direct a new Batman film (this was back in 2017 after Ben Affleck had departed the director’s chair) he already had a few actors in mind while writing the screenplay. Reeves also had a specific age bracket in mind.
He is written as around 30 years old, and the story is neither another rehashing of his origin nor the tale of a seasoned crimefighter ruling Gotham City. He is Bruce Wayne still trying to find his footing on his way to becoming the genius detective.
The most exciting aspect of that excerpt is that the film would be unlike any other Batman film we’ve seen on the big screen prior to this. Tim Burton’s films were slightly over the top, gothic action films; Nolan’s were grounded action-thrillers. Reeves has previously mentioned that his would be a neo-noir detective drama. Batman as the ‘world’s greatest detective’ is a comic book aspect of the character that is yet to be fully explored on the big screen.
Initially, other names were rumoured for the role too. However, eventually, it came down to Pattinson and Hoult, both of whom had to screentest in Burbank.
Pattinson and Hoult put on a suit from a previous Batman movie, as has become customary in the Bat-test process. (Christian Bale, before landing Batman Begins, performed his test in the suit used by Val Kilmer in 1995’s Batman Forever, for instance.) Did they embody the character? How did their eyes look and act? Is there a specialness to them? Those were the questions Reeves and the studio wanted answered.
“(Reeves) wanted very specific things,” says one insider. “He knew what he was looking for.”
Reeves and Warners execs took the week after Memorial Day to deliberate their choices, and by Thursday night, made the calls to the actors. The Batman who would lead the studio into the 2020s had been found.
I became hyped for a new Batman film the moment Matt Reeves was announced as the director. His previous two pictures, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes are poetic character-driven dramas that are simply excellent. I’m even more excited now that Robert Pattinson has been picked to play the titular character.