The timeline and details around the casting of the next Batman, who will become Bruce Wayne for writer/director Matt Reeves’ upcoming noirish origin story, dominated the world of entertainment. Taking over for Ben Affleck is no small feat. Who was really in the running for The Batman, and how did Robert Pattinson beat out Nicholas Hoult for the role? While plenty of conflicting stories helped break the news back in May, Pattinson himself is now ready to chat about the process — and his relationship with the world’s greatest detective.
Speaking to Variety, the Twilight actor explained that when his name was first mentioned by the press as an actor in contention for the role, he had yet to even audition for the part. He worried so much buzz — negative buzz, mostly, since there are few characters fans are more precious about than Batman — might hurt his chances at actually getting to don the cowl at all. “When that thing leaked, I was f***ing furious,” Pattinson said. “Everyone was so upset. Everyone was panicking from my team. I sort of thought that had blown up the whole thing.”
The reaction, while intense, still wasn’t as bad as what Michael Keaton weathered before his debut as Batman. That gave Pattison hope. “To be honest, it was less vitriolic than I was expecting,” he said. “It’s much more fun when you’re an underdog. There’s no expectation of you.” That’s good, because it’s been a long road to Batman for the actor. “I’d had Batman in my mind for a while,” Pattinson explained. “It’s such an absurd thing to say. I sort of had an idea to do it, and I’d been prodding Matt [Reeves]. He didn’t accept any prods. I kept asking to meet him.”
Eventually, it worked. He got the meeting. “And then I had to kind of try to imagine what he’d written, and I hadn’t even read the script,” Pattinson said. “I’d come with this pad full of notes.” As one thing led to another, he found himself at the front of the race: all while going about his life like nothing special was going on. “I’m literally in Cannes in my hotel room [rehearsing],” Pattinson said of getting script pages during the film festival which took place this May. “The whole thing was a lot.”
On May 31st, it was official: he had the role. In between his movie’s premiere at Cannes and the announcement, he flew to Hollywood for the final part of the audition: the Batsuit. “It’s maybe the craziest thing I’ve ever done in terms of movie stuff,” Pattinson said. “I put it on. I remember saying to Matt, ‘It does feel quite transformative!’ He was like, ‘I would hope it does! You’re literally in the Batsuit.’”
The “powerful” feeling coming with the costume is balanced with the sheer practical mechanics of getting in — some of which are less than flattering. “You’ve got five people trying to shove you into something,” the actor said. “Once you’ve got it on, it’s like, ‘Yeah, I feel strong, I feel tough, even though I had to have someone squeezing my butt cheeks into the legs.’” A tight latex Batman — presumably with no nipples — on its way back to the big screen. “You’re trying to think of the way to balance, how to bring something new to it and not want to scare people off,” Pattinson said. “And work in the confines of the costume.”
And who did Pattinson work with right after landing the role? None other than The Dark Knight’s Christopher Nolan, whose brain Pattinson picked during the filming of Nolan’s upcoming thriller Tenet. “I was talking about things to do with the Batsuit,” Pattinson said. “How to get more movements in it.” Movements is about where he’s at in the process right now. “I don’t know anything,” he said about doing additional movies as the superhero. “I’ve got an idea how to do about four scenes, and then I’m working on the rest gradually.”
The Batman plans to hit theaters on June 25, 2020. Robert Pattinson can next be seen in The Lighthouse, the spooky sophomore film from The Witch director Robert Eggers, on Oct. 18.