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Matt Reeves using coronavirus shutdown to fine-tune The Batman's big set pieces
Almost a month ago, Warner Bros. shut down production on The Batman in the United Kingdom when the coronavirus pandemic began to spiral out of control all over the globe. While the delay of a major Hollywood blockbuster is cause for concern, director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes) is taking the setback as a chance to put some extra time into the film — which will hopefully pay off when they can eventually get back in front of a camera.
"It feels like there might be an opportunity to explore some of that unexpected tone that we found," he recently told Deadline. "With these movies, you never have enough prep time, because they’re so complex and so enormous in so many ways. It also gives me a moment to think about the larger sequences that have yet to come up and how I want to realize those."
Exclusively speaking with SYFY WIRE, the movie's cinematographer, Greig Fraser (Dune, The Mandalorian), gave a similar answer.
"It’s not a fully formed idea yet, remember, because we haven’t finished the movie," he explained. "The good thing about movie-making is it's an evolution and it changes. It changes on a day-to-day basis. Things are thrown up in front of you that possibly change the way stuff looks or feels."
Reeves, who co-wrote the project's screenplay with Mattson Tomlin, revealed to Deadline that only a quarter of the movie has been shot, adding that no editing has taken place just yet.
"I have been poring through dailies, looking at takes, and what’s to come," the filmmaker said.
Robert Pattison (The Lighthouse) is the latest actor to step into the shoes of Bruce Wayne, who, in The Batman, is a young vigilante, still finding his footing as Gotham's Caped Crusader. Moreover, the film is set to take a deep dive into Batman's reputation as the world's greatest detective.
“It took me two years to work on that story, and it’s a very specific mystery noir that’s been really thought-out by me and my partners," Reeves continued during the Deadline interview.
"He's an extraordinarily talented director, who’s incredibly precise with his choices," Fraser told SYFY WIRE. "He’s such an asset to have for the Batman franchise because he understands Batman so deeply ... Matt and I have talked a lot [about it], but it’s the type of thing that I think that probably should refer back to what he said about how the film is. Effectively, he’s talking about it as a noir detective [story], so that’s probably all I can give you on that."
In terms of the cast, Pattinson is just the tip of the A-list iceberg. Zoë Kravitz (Catwoman), Paul Dano (Riddler), Jeffrey Wright (Commissioner Gordon), John Turturro (Carmine Falcone), Peter Sarsgaard (Gotham DA Gil Colson), Jayme Lawson (Gotham mayoral hopeful Bella Reál), Andy Serkis (Alfred), and Colin Farrell (Penguin) make up the rest of the ensemble cast.
“He was a lovely and special person, and it’s one of those things where it makes you re-prioritize and realize how fragile everything is," Reeves concluded during his chat with Deadline. "I’m tremendously focused on the movie, and, of course, it’s nice to be able to stop. But the real thing I’ve been thinking about is the state the world is in, and hoping that everyone is going to be OK and that everyone is going to social distance and do everything to be safe, because it’s a very scary time."
The Batman is still eyeing a theatrical release date of June 25, 2021. If the virus continues to keep everyone on lockdown, however, Warner Bros. may decide to push off the film's opening.