Back in 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures had announced their plans of making a Ben Affleck-led standalone Batman film, which would be directed and written by the Oscar-winning filmmaker. However, ahead of Justice League‘s theatrical release in 2017, Affleck had decided to step back from the project’s directorial duties after nearly three years of developing the DC Extended Universe film.
Because of this, the studio had immediately begun their search for the right director to take over the project and had considered the likes of George Miller, Denis Villeneuve, Fede Alvarez, and more to replace Affleck. However, it soon became clear that longtime Batman fan Matt Reeves was the studio’s top favorite to direct the project and had tried to set up a meeting with him for weeks while he was busy working on post-production of 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes.
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During a recent interview with Esquire Middle East, Reeves has opened up about the time the studio had offered him the project, confirming that the studio gave him Affleck’s The Batman script, which originally included the appearances of other major DCEU characters.
“I read a script that they had that was a totally valid take on the movie,” Reeves recalled. “It was very action-driven. It was very deeply connected to the DCEU, with other major characters from other movies and other comics popping up.”
Even though it was a totally exciting take and somewhat felt like “almost James Bond-ian”, he revealed that he had to reject it at first because it wasn’t the story that he has always envisioned for the character he loves since he was a kid.
“I just knew that when I read it this particular script was not the way I’d want to do it,” Reeves explained. “I said look, I think maybe I’m not the person for this. And I explained to them why I love this character. I told them that there have been so many great movies, but if I were to do this, I’d have to make it personal, so that I understood what I was going to do with it, so that I know where to put the camera, so that I know what to tell the actors, so that I know what the story should be. This take, I told them, pointing at the script, is a totally valid and exciting take. It is almost James Bond-ian, but it wasn’t something that I quite related to.”
Due to his love for the character, Reeves instead pitched to Warner Bros. Pictures his idea and it was surprisingly accepted.
“So what I’d love to do, if you’re interested, is I’d like to get involved and find a way to take the story and make it very, very personal and get to the place I want him to be, to make it a Batman story and give him the arc, and have the story rock him to his core,” Reeves shared. “It wasn’t going to be another origin story, not with Ben already in the character. But that’s what I would do…And to my utter shock and surprise, they said, ‘you know what, we really would like you to do this. And we will wait.’”
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The Batman is directed by Matt Reeves from a screenplay he co-wrote with Peter Craig. The superhero film will see Robert Pattinson taking on the mantle of the Dark Knight.
Joining Pattinson are Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Paul Dano as Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as GCPD’s James Gordon, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as Gotham D.A. Gil Colson, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, and Colin Ferrell as Oswald Cobblepot/ Penguin. It will also feature Barry Keoghan, Jayme Lawson, Alex Ferns, and twins Max and Charlie Carver.
The Batman will arrive in theaters on March 4, 2022.