The actor recently spoke about playing the caped crusader and how his take has a much more “nihilistic slant.”
In case his e-boy haircut didn’t already tell you as much, Robert Pattinson’s upcoming version of Batman is going to be a bit of a sadboy. In a cover story for GQ, the actor elaborated on his upcoming blockbuster role as Bruce Wayne and how he approached the character’s caped crusader alter ego, which apparently is as an extremely emo dude.
In comparison to the previous iterations of Batman, Pattinson said he approached his with a more “nihilistic slant.” “All the other stories say the death of his parents is why Bruce becomes Batman, but I was trying to break that down in what I thought was a real way, instead of trying to rationalize it,” he said. “He’s created this intricate construction for years and years and years, which has culminated in this Batman persona. But it’s not like a healthy thing that he’s done.” The Batman alter ego, Pattinson says, is “almost like a drug addiction” for Bruce.
He refers to a scene in which Bruce Wayne is asked about tarnishing the family legacy. “And Bruce says: ‘This is my family legacy. If I don’t do this, then there’s nothing else for me.’ I always read that as not like, ‘There’s nothing else,’ like, ‘I don’t have a purpose.’ But like: ‘I’m checking out.’ And I think that makes it a lot sadder. Like, it’s a sad movie. It’s kind of about him trying to find some element of hope, in himself, and not just the city.”
This especially gothic aura apparently translated to The Batman’s visual tone, as Pattinson also spoke about seeing a cut of the movie as Matt Reeves’s vision of a moody neo-noir detective film. “The first shot is so jarring from any other Batman movie that it’s just kind of a totally different pace. It was what Matt was saying from the first meeting I had with him: ‘I want to do a ’70s noir detective story, like The Conversation.’ And I kind of assumed that meant the mood board or something, the look of it. But from the first shot, it’s, Oh, this actually is a detective story.”
Immersing himself in that world also took a physical and emotional toll on Pattinson, who broke his wrist early on in the shoot, then had to weather a series of pandemic delays. “And the nature of the shoot was so kind of insular, always shooting at night, just really dark all the time, and I felt very much alone,” he said. “Even just being in the suit all the time. You’re not really allowed out of the studio with the suit on, so I barely knew what was going on at all outside.” By the end of the prolonged, 18-month shoot, “I was really, really, really dead afterward. I just looked at a photo of myself from April and I looked green.”
But if the upcoming movie makes you feel too sad, just imagine the dark knight hilariously waddling around in a makeshift tent between takes, trying to figure out how to read a book over his bat mask. “I’d be in the tent just making ambient electronic music in the suit, looking over the cowl,” Pattinson said. “There’s something about the construction of the cowl that makes it very difficult to read books, so you have to kind of almost lean forward to see out of the cowl.”