Think of him as Hollywood’s Robin Hood, stealing from the studios to give to indie auteurs.
The search for the next Batman has (reportedly!) come to an end. According to Variety, Robert Pattinson is in negotiations to star in The Batman, Matt Reeves’s forthcoming solo relaunch of the Gotham superhero story. Warner Bros. had no comment, per Variety. If true, this would mean that the former Twilight star-turned-indie whisperer has bested actors like Armie Hammer and Nicholas Hoult, both of whom were reportedly on the studio’s shortlist. Reps for Pattinson have not yet responded to Vanity Fair’s request for comment.
If he is the next Batman, it’s not only smart casting for the studio, but also a way to uphold the tradition of casting brooding Brits (see also: Christian Bale) for the role of rich-boy Bruce Wayne. However, Pattinson’s casting also has a sterling side effect, allowing him to keep making small movies that probably wouldn’t get made otherwise. For the last few years, the actor has traded in his post-Twilight fame to power low-budget films by auteurs (or, at least, auteurs-in-the-making). Much like Kristen Stewart—who has since become Olivier Assayas’s go-to leading lady and gone on to win a César, the French Oscar—Pattinson has mostly eschewed franchise follow-ups to Twilight and instead focused on quirkier, more unpredictable fare like David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Benny and Josh Safdie’s Good Time, and, most recently, Claire Denis’s High Life, which is currently in select theaters. He’s like the Robin Hood of indie cinema, using the marquee status granted to him by Twilight to help green-light offbeat projects that need a star with name recognition in order to get off the ground. With The Batman under his belt, that’ll hopefully only push the agenda further (so long as the movie’s good and all).
Variety notes that Pattinson is expected to close the deal shortly. Reeves is reportedly still polishing the final draft of the script, sprinting toward the June 25, 2021, release date. If cast, Pattinson will take over the role from Ben Affleck, who put on the Batsuit for three films during his DC run. The Oscar-winning actor was actually supposed to direct and star in the upcoming The Batman, before things fell apart and he pulled out of the project entirely.
“I tried to direct a version of [Batman], and worked with a really good screenwriter, but just kind of couldn’t come up with a version—couldn’t crack it,” Affleck explained of his departure in a February interview with Jimmy Kimmel. “I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it.”
Reeves, who helmed the last two installments in the critically adored Planet of the Apes franchise, stepped in from there to give it his spin. “It’s very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it’s going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It’s more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in the films.” Sounds perfectly in Pattinson’s wheelhouse.
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