Why Robert Pattinson Says He 'Felt So Alone' Playing Batman
By Paige Gawley
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Robert Pattinson is opening up about his experience making The Batman. The 35-year-old actor covers the March issue of GQ, and reveals why he felt alone when he suited up to play the superhero.
Filming of the flick, which is due out March 4, began at the end of 2019, and kicked off with an injury for its star.
"I broke my wrist at the beginning of it all, doing a stunt, even before COVID," Pattinson says. "So the whole first section was trying to keep working out -- looking like a penguin. I remember when that seemed like the worst thing that could go wrong."
Then, more went wrong, as the world reeled amid COVID-19, which Pattinson himself tested positive for in September 2020. Eventually filming started up again in earnest, leading to an 18-month-long shoot.
"The nature of the shoot was so kind of insular, always shooting at night, just really dark all the time, and I felt very much alone," he recalls. "Even just being in the suit all the time. You’re not really allowed out of the studio with the suit on, so I barely knew what was going on at all outside."
Despite his loneliness, Pattinson found comfort in having something he knew he could count on amid a time of so much uncertainty.
"I just always had this anchor of Batman," he explains. "Rather than thinking you’re flotsam to the news, you could feel engaged without being paralyzed by it. Everyone I know, if you had a little momentum going in your career or your life, then stopping, you had to have a reckoning with yourself."
"Whereas I was so incredibly busy the whole time, doing something that was also super high pressure, by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done... I was still playing Batman at the end of the day, even though the world might end," Pattinson continues. "... Even if the world burns down, I’ve just got to get this f**king thing out!"
When filming wrapped last April, Pattinson says he "was really, really, really dead afterward," adding, "I just looked at a photo of myself from April and I looked green."
Eventually, Pattinson sat down to watch a rough cut of The Batman by himself, and reflect on the film that all of his work culminated in.
"The first shot is so jarring from any other Batman movie that it’s just kind of a totally different pace," he says. "It was what [director] Matt [Reeves] was saying from the first meeting I had with him: 'I want to do a ’70s noir detective story, like The Conversation.' And I kind of assumed that meant the mood board or something, the look of it. But from the first shot, it’s, 'Oh, this actually is a detective story.'"
"And I feel like an idiot, because I didn’t even know that Batman was 'the world’s greatest detective'; I hadn’t heard that in my life before -- but it really plays," Pattinson continues. "Just 'cause there’s a lot of stuff where he’s in amongst the cops. Normally, when you see Batman he arrives and beats people up. But he’s having conversations, and there are emotional scenes between them, which I don’t think have been in any of the other movies."
When it comes to what fans can expect from the film, Pattinson notes that "it's a sad movie."
"It’s kind of about him trying to find some element of hope, in himself, and not just the city," Pattinson says of his character. "Normally, Bruce [Wayne] never questions his own ability; he questions the city’s ability to change. But I mean, it’s kind of such an insane thing to do: The only way I can live is to dress up as a bat."
"DC is the kind of emo comic," he adds. "There’s a nihilistic side to it. Even the artwork is really, really different. So, hopefully, there are a lot of sad people in the world."
As for if he feels nerves about how the movie will be perceived by fans, Pattinson admits, "It all depends. If people like the movie, it’s great. All of it," but, he says, "You never really know until it happens."