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Men behind ‘The Batman’

Written by Omair Alavi

Synopsis

Here is an exclusive interview with the makers of The Batman

Karachi: Hollywood’s latest superhero flick The Batman featuring Robert Pattinson in the title role is doing great at the box office all around the world. Directed by Matt Reeves, the film has an ensemble cast consisting of Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Dano, Andy Serkis, John Turturro, and Colin Farrell to name a few.

While the critics and fans around the world are busy reviewing the film and terming it one of the best ‘Batman’ flicks in recent years, we decided to ask the cast and the director about how they felt after watching the movie, among other things. Their answers were quite interesting, considering they were talking about their work that has been raking moolah at the box office.

What was your reaction after watching the film?

Dylan Clark, the producer of The Batman, feels that it was a special moment when the cast saw and loved the film. ‘It took us five years to get to this place and for Matt (Reeves) and I to show it to the cast. There was something so satisfying that they put so much work into this. To hear from them after their screening was a special moment.’

Director Matt Reeves, however, adds that there was also a terrifying moment when they were waiting for their comments.  ‘Oh My God, I hope they like the movie!’

Robert Pattinson who plays The Batman was so unbelievably impressed the final time he saw the flick. ‘Although I had seen parts of the film before, it was more and more impressive when I saw the final cut. What impressed me the most was the waves of craftsmanship throughout the movie.’

The film’s James Gordon, Jeffrey Wright feels that the movie on the screen was the movie that was in the script. ‘To see the way in which it had been fully realised, it was gratifying to be a part of it.’

Paul Dano, who played the antagonist The Riddler, believes that the movie was immersive from the opening shot till the end, which is not how he would describe many other flicks. ‘I love it when the filmmaker captures your attention in the first frame and pulls you through right to the end. As an audience member, you have no choice but to give over to the movie. It’s just the best feeling to be in the audience, that’s what this film does.’

Veteran actor John Turturro who plays the mob boss Carmine Falcone was delighted to be a part of a ‘Batman’ flick. ‘I was really happy to be in it, be a part of it and that’s the truth. I couldn’t kind of believe that I was in a Batman film but I am delighted to be a part of it.’

Matt, did you start with the visual style that influenced the story or did you have an idea about the story that in turn influenced the visuals?

Matt Reeves: There’s no real order here, to be honest. For me, the creative process is not the same as others. I treat the blank page like being in a dark room, where you are on your hands or knees, trying to reach for something familiar. I knew that I wanted to have a Batman who was young and not fully developed as a superhero, where there was room for growth, and room for awakening. We wanted to put him in the center of this mystery, which would put him in the path of all of the characters.

Robert, how did being Batman in his early years impact your performance?

Robert Pattinson: I think it gave me an opening and made things easier for me. Since he hasn’t become the Batman people fear, the frailties make him look more human than superhuman. He is just a man in the armor suit who is trying to find his place in his surroundings.

Jeffrey, what was at the core of this relationship between James Gordon and Batman? After all, this film takes place when they became partners for the first time!

Jeffrey Wright: Desperation is how I will describe these two isolated characters who are together in a sea of mistrust that is Gotham. For Gordon, being with Batman is out of utility, while Batman seeks him in desperation since he recognises something in Gordon despite the company he keeps. Maybe he sees an honorable man and finds him useful but I am not sure what it is, since their relationship is in the early stages. The introductory scene in which he enters the crime scene amongst the cops is brilliantly executed for even Gordon (and the audience) had questions about this guy that are in turn asked by the cops. It’s strange, it’s a chance, a risk Gordon is taking out of a sense of need.

Paul, Riddler is such a big adversary of Batman but your character at times believes they both are on the same side. How did that help in making your character interesting?

Paul Dano: The dynamic between Batman and Riddler is weird; there’s some boundary between them that is beautifully explored. There’s more murkiness to morality, and I wouldn’t say that it’s just hero and villain because there is really something wrong with the city. It’s very complicated to have a villain whose ideas aren’t completely wrong and that’s what kept me going. I found the character complicated and compelling, and that helped me make it potentially really scary.

John, how did you make Carmine Falcone more interesting than it already is in the comics?

John Turturro: With the help of my glasses (laughs). I found those glasses that I wore onscreen and Matt (Reeves) really liked them too. Lots of people have something they hide behind and I had my glasses which helped me in developing my character. My father knew a guy like that and told me not to look in that person’s eyes because they were kind of dead and seductive. My dad was right and that person remained in my mind and I kept that in the back of my head.

Was there something that you could have picked from the set to remember the Batman experience, or did you take something home from the set?

Dylan Clark: Every character in the film had these kinds of props that really defined their characters. Rob (Pattinson) had this cowl and the Batmobile, John (Turturro) had this expensive sweater, there was Paul’s journal, Jeffrey’s gun, and wigs Zoe wore in the movie, they were all very cool stuff!

Matt Reeves: I can’t tell you some of the things I took that I shouldn’t have taken but Dylan (the producer) knows. I think I will want the Tucker though!

John Turturro: I want my glasses! They won’t give them to me. I am really a very honest person otherwise I could have taken them.

Jeffrey Wright: Actually, there was a prop I was supposed to have gotten. I am an Arsenal supporter and when Arsenal beat Tottenham, our first AD was supposed to give me Gordon’s badge since he lost the bet. But I’m yet to receive my badge.

Paul Dano: Those ‘Riddler’ things contained so much energy for me that I wouldn’t take anything home. I want it all to stay there and out of my place.

Robert Pattinson: I got a great Gotham Sanitation Department jacket that wasn’t used in the movie, but that’s very cool. I occasionally wear it sometimes.

The Batman

About the author

Omair Alavi