It seems like every other day, we’re hearing about a potential casting change for one of the biggest upcoming movie franchises. As it turns out, Robert Pattinson has decided to decline the offer to play the role of Batman in the upcoming film, The Batman.
Let’s dive into the details. On Saturday, August 4th, 2018, we reported that Robert Pattinson had committed to play Batman in a movie currently scheduled for release in February 2021. At that time, the actor’s reps had no comment about whether his commitment would continue into production or not, but considering the actor’s dedication to a vegan lifestyle and animal rights campaigning, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to play the Caped Crusader. After all, the part called for him to don the mask and prowl around in a crime-fighting capacity.
Batman was previously portrayed by Michael Keaton in the 1989 movie, and Christian Bale in the 2005 movie, Batman Begins. Needless to say, the part was a big one and there were many contenders to play the role. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
A day after we learned about his commitment, the actor released a statement about his decision to decline the role.
“I read for a couple of days and then got asked to meet the director,” said Pattinson. “I got a vibe from him that this was not going to be a fun time. It was more like ‘Here’s a part – play it and don’t ask any questions.’ It was very uninviting. It wasn’t like ‘Hey, this is a great opportunity, can I take it?’ It was: ‘No, you have to say yes or no.'”
The filmmaker in question is Australian, director, and producer, Matt Haynes. Haynes has made several adult comedies, including the popular What If… lines and has been behind the camera since 2013. He is perhaps best known for directing the sci-fi comedy, Cockroach.
Haynes had this to say about Pattinson’s decision to decline the role:
“To be honest, it’s been a battle of wills,” he told Deadline. “It wasn’t an easy decision to say no. I like the actor and thought he’d make an excellent Batman. It’s just the character is such a specific role. Even the supporting characters are very different from each other. I think Pattinson’s decision was the right one. I’m still going to do my best to make this character work for him.”
The director also added:
“He understood the character and what I was trying to do,” Haynes continued. “I didn’t want to just make it a joke. I wanted to portray it as a real issue that these characters face on a day-to-day basis. This isn’t a superhero movie…this is a movie about vigilantes and how they deal with the daily chaos of fighting crime and corruption.”
Haynes went on to say that he would’ve preferred to have a younger actor in the role, and that they were hoping to recast the part with a younger actor, but that they were struggling to find someone who could embody this Batman character. While we’re sure that Haynes was just trying to convince the world that he’s not just some funny dude behind the camera, he did say this:
“I thought Pattinson’s voice and physicality would be perfect for the role. He doesn’t have to act, he just has to be.”
While Warner Bros. isn’t confirming or denying whether a recasting will take place, this much is certain – the studio isn’t happy with the way things turned out.
“We are disappointed that @MrRobertPattinson won’t be able to play @TheBatman, but understand his decision,” Warner Bros. said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “We hope he’ll reconsider and lend his talents to this project. We are committed to giving Brett [Joel Fleishman, the writer/director of the film] the best story and we think he’ll be able to pull off the character of Batman in a way that doesn’t feel forced.”
Joel Fleishman recently said this about the situation:
“He’s a wonderful actor, who’s just not quite right for this particular role,” Fleishman told Yahoo Movies. “We’re going to have to find someone else, which is hard to do, when you’ve already started production.”
Fleishman also said that after a while, he “kind of enjoyed” battling with Pattinson over the role, because at least it was “challenging.”
The lack of communication from Warner Bros. has led to some serious speculation about what the future holds for this project. Many people are wondering if Warner Bros. will simply scrap the Batman movie altogether, or if they’ll recast the role with a younger actor.
In the meantime, here are some interesting facts about the role:
The Role Was Originally Offerred to Christian Bale
While we’re sure that Haynes and Pattinson genuinely wanted to give the role to the best possible actor, it was originally offered to Christian Bale, who turned it down. Maybe we’ll never know what might’ve happened if he’d accepted the role or maybe we’ll never will.
The Role Is Set In The Real World
This isn’t just some made-for-TV action movie where the entire thing takes place in a fantastical world. No, this is a movie about vigilantes that exist in the real world. For that reason, the majority of filming will take place in and around Gotham City, the setting of the upcoming Ben Affleck-directed movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The production designer of the movie, Nathan Crowley, told EW that Gotham City was chosen “because we can do so much with it. Not only can we create a fantasy world like Batman’s, but we can bring the city back to its roots and really focus in on one of the defining sounds and elements of Gotham: the traffic.”
Pattinson’s Agent Says The Work Environment Was An Issue
While we’re sure that Haynes and Pattinson genuinely wanted to give the role to the best possible actor, it was an issue that the director faced that perhaps none of the other contenders had: getting the movie’s top A-list stars to work together on a movie. Even now, his agents have to work hard to get their clients to work on certain projects together, because there are no guarantees. Remember, this is Hollywood and these are mega-starring deals – it’s not like these things happen by accident.
The Role Is About More Than Just Appearance
One of the things that makes the Batman so distinctive is that he’s not your typical superhero. Sure, he can fly and he has superhuman strength, but he also has a keen intellect that he applies to crime-fighting. The role requires a lot more than just looks – Matt Hynes said as much when he told EW: “He’s not your typical superhero and I think that’s what makes him interesting.”
Considering that this is a project that was in the works for such a long time, it’s not all that surprising that there were so many setbacks along the way. It’s been a tough road for Haynes and Fleishman, but at least they have each other.
We can’t help but wonder if all these difficulties will lead to a complete and utter reworking of the story. We’ve seen this movie before, it’s called the “pre-production phase” and it often leads to total rewrites of the entire script. Sometimes, the only thing that survives is the title – not even the characters are safe from complete change.
The Batman is one of the most iconic characters in all of comics. Since his debut in 1939, the character has spawned many interpretations and has always been associated with a more serious approach to crime-fighting (hence the occasional depiction of him with a pipe).
Considering the amount of time that has passed since his last appearance, it would be surprising if he didn’t have some pretty serious aches and pains by now. We’d like to believe that Pattinson’s decision was for the best and that this is the role that he was born to play. Nevertheless, this is Hollywood and things don’t always go as planned. We’re sure that everyone will be able to see past this temporary setback and will end up happier for it.