Robert Pattinson is the Batman Warner Bros. and director Matt Reeves think we need and deserve right now. And despite the recent news cycle, the casting process went smoother than it seemed.
The Hollywood Reporter has an insightful and very detailed chronicle of the how Pattinson found himself beating out X-Men: Dark Phoenix star Nicholas Hoult for the role of the Dark Knight in writer-director Reeve’s new take on Gotham City’s Caped Crusader. The article plays out almost like an oral history surrounding the key time table and process that went into the casting decision — unlike any Batman casting story prior. Here are the highlights:
Pattinson and Hoult emerged as the frontrunners for the role during the week of May 20, when the two came to the Burbank studio and screen tested for the role — wearing a Batsuit from a previous film. (Previous actors have also auditioned in a Batsuit before; Christian Bale auditioned for Batman Begins wearing a version of the Batsuit from Batman Forever.) The screen test was passed around and decided on this past Friday, after Reeves and the studio took the week after the long Memorial Day weekend to deliberate on their options. The Thursday prior to the announcement, THR writes, is when “Reeves and Warners execs made calls to the actors.”
“The decision was the culmination of an intense process that insiders describe as surprisingly quick. As opposed to most superhero casting efforts, which often include far-and-wide searches and dozens of screen tests for the likes of Superman or more recently, Spider-Man, the Batman process was notably smooth,” the article states. “It was quick,” said one WB insider. “Quicker than normal.”
Reeves (War For the Planet of the Apes) has been working officially on the film since February 2017. His script will not be an origin story; it will center on a Bruce Wayne in his 30s, “still trying to find his footing on his way to becoming” the Great Detective fans know and love. So, basically, it is a more granular, trial-and-error version of Batman Begins. (Batman Begins Again if you will.)
What helped give Pattinson, 33, the edge over Hoult was that, outside of the Twilight franchise, Pattinson has stayed away from big-budget tentpoles — especially Marvel comic book movies. Instead, Pattinson has racked up impressive accolades for his performances in such indie films as Maps to the Stars and Good Time. The actor’s apparent aversion to studio films reportedly made him more appealing to both Reeves and Warner Bros.’ execs — especially Reeves, who “kept coming back” to the actor’s performances in those aforementioned films.
So what’s next for Reeves and his new Batman? Pattinson is currently shooting Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s new movie. (Gotta wonder if the Dark Knight director helped put in a good word or two with the studio on Pattinson’s behalf). Once that wraps, Pattinson is expected to begin training for the role — and get fitted for his own Batsuit — when The Batman starts shooting in 2020.
You can see Hoult in Dark Phoenix when the movie opens this Friday.