The Batman is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman. Produced by DC Films, 6th & Idaho Motion Picture Company, and Dylan Clark Productions, and set for distribution by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is a reboot of the Batman film franchise. The film is directed by Matt Reeves, who wrote the screenplay with Peter Craig, and stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne / Batman, alongside Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell. Set in his second year of fighting crime, the film sees Batman uncover corruption in Gotham City while facing a serial killer known as the Riddler.
Ben Affleck, who portrayed Batman in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), was set to direct, produce, co-write, and star in The Batman in 2014, but in 2017 he chose not to direct due to his dissatisfaction with his own script. Reeves was hired to take over and reworked Affleck’s story to focus on a younger Batman. He sought to explore Batman as a detective more than previous Batman films, inspired by the comic books “Year One” (1987), The Long Halloween (1996–1997), and Ego (2000). Affleck left The Batman entirely in January 2019 and the connections to the DCEU were removed. Pattinson was cast in May 2019, with further casting later that year. Principal photography took place in the UK and Chicago and lasted from January 2020 to February 2021.
The Batman was scheduled for release in June 2021, but production was delayed between March and September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now scheduled for release in the United States on March 4, 2022. Two sequels are planned and two spin-off television series are in development for HBO Max.
- Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne / Batman:
A billionaire socialite who protects Gotham City as a masked vigilante. Batman is around 30 years old and is not yet an experienced crime fighter, as director Matt Reeves wanted to explore the character before he becomes “fully formed”. Reeves and Pattinson described Batman as an insomniac who cannot delineate between the Batman persona and his “recluse rockstar” public identity as Wayne, and who is “working out this rage. He wants to inflect his kind of justice. He’s just compelled to do it. There is no other option.” Pattinson said the film “questions the nature of what being a hero is”, as Batman is more flawed than traditional superheroes and unable to control himself.
- Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle / Catwoman:
A nightclub worker and cat burglar who comes into contact with Batman while searching for her missing friend. Kravitz described Catwoman as a mysterious character with unclear motivations, and said she and Batman are “partner[s] in crime”. She said Catwoman represents femininity in contrast to Batman’s masculinity, and added that Batman and Catwoman are drawn together by their desire to “fight for those who don’t have someone to fight for them.” Kravitz focused more on Kyle and less on her persona as Catwoman, as she considered the character’s emotional journey important and did not want to distract from it She drew inspiration from Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal of the character in Batman Returns (1992), as well as the Batman story arc “Year One” (1987).
- Paul Dano as Edward Nashton / Riddler:
An emerging serial killer who taunts Batman and law enforcement with riddles. Reeves based The Batman‘s Riddler on the Zodiac Killer, who he felt was the “real-life” Riddler for his practice of communicating with ciphers and riddles.
- Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon:
An ally of Batman in the Gotham City Police Department. Wright is the first actor of color to portray Gordon, and felt his casting reflected the “fluid, evolving” nature of Batman’s supporting cast by highlighting how much more diverse America has become since Batman’s introduction in 1939. In preparation, Wright read the Batman: The Long Halloween (1996–1997) comic book limited series.
- John Turturro as Carmine Falcone: A Gotham City crime lord.
- Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson: Gotham’s district attorney.
- Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth: Batman’s butler and mentor.
- Colin Farrell as Oswald “Oz” Cobblepot / Penguin:
A disfigured crime lord. Cobblepot is not yet the crime kingpin he is depicted as in the comics, and dislikes being referred to as the Penguin. Farrell wore prosthetics and a fat suit created by makeup artist Mike Marino, choosing to use the fat suit after having a negative experience gaining weight for the television series The North Water. Farrell was frequently described as “unrecognizable” in costume, to the point that Wright and Rupert Penry-Jones initially did not recognize him on set.
Additionally, Jayme Lawson portrays Bella Reál, a mayoral candidate for Gotham City; Barry Keoghan portrays Stanley Merkel, an officer in the Gotham City Police Department; and Alex Ferns portrays Commissioner Pete Savage. Gil Perez-Abraham, twins Charlie and Max Carver, Rupert Penry-Jones, and Con O’Neill have been cast in undisclosed roles.
In August 2013, Ben Affleck was cast as Bruce Wayne / Batman for multiple films set in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). He made his debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), before appearing in Suicide Squad (2016) and Justice League (2017). In October 2014, Warner Bros. revealed plans for a standalone Batman film starring Affleck, and he was in negotiations to direct and co-write the screenplay with Geoff Johns by July 2015. Production was expected to begin after Affleck finished work on Live by Night (2016).
Affleck and Johns finished the first draft in March 2016. Johns hinted that the film would explore the death of Robin, which was suggested in Batman v Superman. Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara confirmed at CinemaCon in April that Affleck was directing. In the following months, Jeremy Irons was set to reprise his Batman v Superman role of Alfred Pennyworth, and Affleck revealed that Joe Manganiello would portray Deathstroke. Jared Leto expressed interest in reprising his role as the Joker from Suicide Squad. Affleck revealed the title of the film was The Batman in October, and in December he said filming was on track to begin in mid-2017 for release in 2018. That month, a Justice League sequel was delayed to accommodate The Batman. However, in January 2017, Affleck said the film had no script and that he might not direct it. While Affleck reaffirmed his commitment to direct in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, by the end of the month he decided to step down. He still planned to star and produce. By this point, Chris Terrio had turned in a rewrite of the script.
Affleck’s script, set after the events of Batman v Superman and Justice League, featured an original story inspired by elements of the comics, which Affleck compared to director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman story. Cinematographer Robert Richardson was attached early in development, and said Affleck’s script was primarily set in Arkham Asylum and dealt with insanity. The script reportedly featured Deathstroke orchestrating a breakout at Arkham to tire Batman and make him vulnerable, drawing inspiration from the comic books Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989) and “Knightfall” (1992–1994), as well as the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009). Manganiello explained that Deathstroke believed Batman was responsible for the death of his son, and the script featured Deathstroke systematically dismantling Batman’s life and killing those close to him like a “horror movie villain”. Manganiello noted that the story bore resemblance to David Fincher’s The Game (1997). Batgirl was planned to appear and help Batman during the climax, in which he fought Deathstroke through the streets of Gotham. Snyder enjoyed Affleck’s story and included a post-credits scene at the end of Justice League featuring Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) revealing Batman’s secret identity to Deathstroke to help set up The Batman. The scene was altered in post-production to be about the Injustice League instead, but the original scene was restored in the 2021 director’s cut, Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
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