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There's a tradition at Warner Bros. that, when you're contending for the role of Batman, you must do a screen test in one of the costumes worn by a previous big-screen Caped Crusader. For Robert Pattinson, that meant squeezing into Val Kilmer's costume from Batman Forever and enduring the intense heat of wearing it as he tried to audition for the superhero role of a lifetime.
Fortunately, after he actually won the role, Pattinson got a new Batsuit of his very own for The Batman, designed by costume supervisor Dave Crossman and concept artist Glyn Dillon. As the actor told Entertainment Weekly, putting his own costume on for the first time after the restrictive experience of wearing an archival Batsuit was more than a little surprising.
"I felt very different immediately," Pattinson said. "It really flowed. It was so well-designed, so articulated on all the joints. It was kind of shocking."
Every Batsuit has its particular visual trademarks, from the iconic yellow chest oval of the Keaton era to the high tech body armor of the Bale years and, of course, the infamous nipples on both Kilmer and Clooney's chestpieces. For The Batman, which tells the story of the Dark Knight a little more than a year into his crimefighting career, director Matt Reeves wanted something that looked rather homemade, assembled by a driven young man who might not necessarily know exactly what he's doing yet.
To that end, Crossman and Dillon imagined a Batsuit with its fair share of battle damage built right in.
"There are little blood stains on it. There's kind of grazes where it's been hit with bullets and kind of just the wear and tear of someone who's been out fighting every night," Pattinson said. "It felt like a really new thing... It looks like a soldier's armor in some kind of strange parallel universe where you have to wear little ears on top of your head as well."
But the damage details aren't the only key elements at work in the Pattinson suit. There's also a grapple gun that slides out from the hero's wrist, which Pattinson compared to Travis Bickle's homemade sliding gun mechanism in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver. Then there's the bat emblem itself, which we've known for some time contains a metal implement of some kind. Fans have theorized that it might be pieces of the gun that killed Bruce Wayne's parents, but while he's not giving away everything about the metal in the emblem, Pattinson did clarify that it's more than just decoration.
"It's a tool, which he can pop out of the chest plate, which is kind of amazing, incredibly difficult to design as well, and looks great," Pattinson said.
The Batman arrives in theaters on March 4.