Here’s Why Robert Pattinson Said Yes to Playing Batman

the batman production

There are a few guarantees in Hollywood: movie stars will rise and fall, everything will get a reboot or sequel, and there will always be a Batman — usually played by the latest handsome, brooding actor du jour. When the cape and cowl has been inhabited so many times, how can any actor hope to make an impression, especially when past iterations played by Michael Keaton and Christian Bale are so beloved? That’s something that Robert Pattinson had to wrestle with when boarding The Batman as the newest Caped Crusader.

Pattinson was a bit of an unexpected choice, considering the British actor seemed deathly allergic to fame and blockbusters in the aftermath of the young-adult vampire series that put him on the map, choosing instead to forge his post-Twilight career path with a series of increasingly weird arthouse flicks. But that particular challenge of putting his own spin on a character that’s been around for 80-plus years is exactly what drew Pattinson to the role, the actor revealed.

In a truly amazing profile with GQ (really, you have to check it out in its chaotic quarantine glory), Pattinson got serious for long enough to discuss the reason that he said yes to playing Batman. The character has been around for around 80 years, and has been depicted onscreen for nearly as long, with a range of beloved actors from Adam West, Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Kevin Conroy, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck, donning the cape and cowl in some form — live-action or otherwise. Pattinson was highly aware of the legacy that the role of Batman carries with it, but rather than scaring him away, it made him more eager to take the job. Pattinson revealed:

“I think sometimes the downsides—which I’ve definitely thought about—the downsides kind of seem like upsides. I kind of like the fact that not only are there very, very, very well-done versions of the character which seem pretty definitive, but I was thinking that there are multiple definitive playings of the character. I was watching the making of Batman & Robin the other day. And even then, George Clooney was saying that he was worried about the fact that it’s sort of been done, that a lot of the ground you should cover with the character has been already covered. And that’s in ’96, ’97? And then there’s Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck’s one. And then I was thinking, it’s fun when more and more ground has been covered. Like, where is the gap? You’ve seen this sort of lighter version, you’ve seen a kind of jaded version, a kind of more animalistic version. And the puzzle of it becomes quite satisfying, to think: Where’s my opening?

And also, do I have anything inside me which would work if I could do it? And then also, it’s a legacy part, right? I like that. There’s so few things in life where people passionately care about it before it’s even happened. You can almost feel that pushback of anticipation, and so it kind of energizes you a little bit. It’s different from when you’re doing a part and there’s a possibility that no one will even see it. Right? In some ways it’s, I don’t know… It makes you a little kind of spicy.”

Pattinson is such an interesting, unpredictable actor — and an even more unpredictable person, as evidenced in the GQ profile when he blows up a microwave and attempts to make something he refers to a “fast food pasta” — that it’s exciting to think of what he could do as Batman. Based on his understanding of the character, and of past depictions, he could go completely off-the-rails and give us our wildest, weirdest Batman yet.

The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader, aka Bruce Wayne, backed up by a cast that includes Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle / Catwoman, Paul Dano as Edward Nashton / The Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, John Turturro as mob boss Carmine Falcone, Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot / The Penguin, Andy Serkis as Alfred, and Peter Sarsgaard as a new character, District Attorney Gil Colson.

Production on The Batman has been indefinitely suspended for the time being, but Warner Bros. currently has the film slated to open on October 1, 2021.

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