Sadly, production for the upcoming DCEU film The Batman has been shut down due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Despite that, director Matt Reeves has continued working on his latest installment in the Batman cinematic canon and talked more about it with The New York Times while promoting his Amazon series Tales From the Loop.
“The whole thing is quite surreal,” Reeves shared when asked about how the pandemic has changed everything. “As much as we wanted to proceed, we wanted to make sure we were safe. We didn’t want anyone on our crew to get sick. But there was a crew member who actually got it, an incredible dialect coach named Andrew Jack, and he passed away. We were all in utter shock and heartbroken. It’s been weeks since we shut down, so I don’t think it was passed among the crew. But it’s very, very upsetting.”
According to Deadline, Reeves shared that he had shot a quarter of the movie before the shutdown happened, and while he’s not officially editing, Reeves says, “I have been poring through dailies, looking at takes, and what’s to come.”
When asked if he has thought about returning to continue working on the film, he said of course, but when the time is right. He also spoke about what the film will look like and input from the studio (Warner Bros.).
“Of course these things have to be mined in a way that can make these companies money,” he told the Times. “You never know whether the people in charge of those I.P.s [intellectual properties] are going to be open to your vision. But if they weren’t, I wouldn’t have done ‘Batman.’ I was like, look, there have been some great ‘Batman’ films and I don’t want to just make a ‘Batman’ film. I want to do something that has some emotional stakes. My ambition is for it to be incredibly personal using the metaphors of that world. It feels like this really odd throwback to the movies I came up on from the ’70s, like Klute or Chinatown. I’m not saying we’re achieving anything like that. Those are masterpieces. But that’s the ambition.”
With all due respect to Reeves—and I am looking forward to his movie—I truly hate it when directors say things like this. There is nothing wrong with making “a Batman film” when you’re working on a Batman film. Plenty of comics, especially Batman ones, have emotional stakes and tell personal stories, so whenever I hear people say things like this, I wonder if they actually respect the art form. Considering he’s behind two of my favorite movies ever, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes, I’m hoping that the man who gave us a chimpanzee with two shotguns on a horse riding through fire can deliver a balance between his artistic vision and the comic.
One thing I am happy about is that while The Batman will feature some of the titular character’s origin story, it won’t be a full-on origin story. Thank goodness, because I think I have been haunted more by the death of Martha Wayne than Bruce himself.
“I wanted to do not an origin tale, but a tale that would still acknowledge his origins, in that it formed who he is,” Reeves told Nerdist. “Like this guy, he’s majorly struggling, and this is how he’s trying to rise above that struggle. But that doesn’t mean that he even fully understands, you know. It’s that whole idea of the shadow self and what’s driving you, and how much of that you can incorporate, and how much of it you’re doing that you’re unaware of.”
I guess that explains the bat-gun emblem. I look forward to seeing this ’90s, pseudo-baby Bat, Klute-inspired film when it comes out. Right now, it’s supposed to be June 25, 2021, but we shall see.
(via Batman-News, image: Warner Bros.)
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