The Batman is primed to introduce Robert Pattinson‘s version of the iconic DC Comics character, a character who has been portrayed in cinema by the likes of Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and others before him. Each actor’s take on the Caped Crusader comes with its defining traits (for better or worse). One key trait is his voice, a characteristic which not only represents the sound of the character but also, and importantly, what he has to say. In a recent Q&A, Pattinson and The Batman director Matt Reeves opened up about finding their Batman’s voice.
“I had a lot of time to think about it. I was experimenting with a lot of different things. I think the first two or three weeks, we were doing a variety of different voices,” Pattinson said in response to Nerdist‘s Dan Casey. “Me and Matt just sort of settled on something, it started to sit in a very particular place. It felt like progression from other Bat-voices and felt somewhat comfortable to do, as well…It seems to be, the more you embody the suit, the more you embody the character, the more it started to come out organically. I think that’s what Was trying to do with the character, it’s not putting on a voice. It’s putting on the suit and the voice just starts happening.”
Reeves noted later in the Q&A that he “wanted the arc to be Batman’s,” which called for emotion to be shown by the Caped Crusader through the film, a detail pointed out in a question from Insider‘s Kirsten Acuna during the Q&A. The filmmakers had to find a way for Pattinson’s emotion to come through as half of his face was covered by a cowl. “It was a huge challenge,” he admitted. “I have to say that one the many mazing things about Rob is he has such incredible technical control of himself as an instrument.”
“The one thing about this character, it seems obvious in retrospect, but you don’t realize a lot of it, the whole character, is your voice and how many different shapes you can do with your mouth,” Pattinson explained. “You don’t really realize until you’re doing it.”
Batman films do come with a pair of voices, though. One is coming from Batman, the crime-fighting vigilante who scours the streets in the night. The other is Bruce Wayne, the billionaire whose parents when slain when he was a boy. In The Batman, Bruce will have less to say as he retreats from society as a result of Thomas and Martha’s murders, though he still will be needed to speak up at times.
“It’s funny because everyone wanted to avoid doing an origin story but it’s a new version of the character and you’re so aware of the origins that you end up playing the subtext at moments,” Pattinson said. “He doesn’t go away and train and come back as a fully mastered Batman, at all. He’s also not a traditional kind of playboy persona. Something is happening to him and it’s too much trauma for him to deal with…The residue of the trauma is still there but he’s basically kind of mastered it and turned it into Batman. When he’s Bruce, it’s still the day his parents died. He hasn’t gotten over it at all. He’s become Batman almost in order to survive his present rather than, ‘I’m gonna make a new future….’ As soon as he takes it off, then he just goes back to being a 10-year-old boy again and the pain is very much real…as soon as he puts that suit on, he goes into a primal state where you can eliminate the baggage of your past and have super heightened senses in the present and it’s a relief as much as anything else. And it’s a relief to be hurt and inflict that pain that’s inside of your head on others and kind of get it out.”
As Batman patrols the streets, telling the criminals which he unleashes his rage on that he is “vengeance,” Reeves explained that this is because Batman pictures all of them as being responsible for Bruce’s trauma. “In some way, the faces of everyone you come up against, they’re the faces of the killers of your family,” Reeves said. “So, that idea, personalizing everything, the idea that Bruce Wayne is totally lost, I think when I was thinking at the script state… There are a lot of great Batman movies so you want to find a way to do something that’s true, and iconic, and connected to the story but still fresh…If you were to see him on the street, if you ever saw him, he became a recluse. IF you saw him, you’d think, ‘This guy is a drug addict. What’s his problem? He’s a real screw up!’ I guess in a certain way, maybe he is, but that drugs he’s addicted to is escaping himself.”
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