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Robert Pattinson Modeled His Bruce Wayne After Kurt Cobain in ‘The Batman’

Matt Reeves' Dark Knight has some grunge roots.

Robert Pattinson as Batman in the Batman

Few 2022 films are more highly anticipated than Matt Reeves’ The Batman. The gritty new entry into the DCEU features Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman, alongside Paul Dano’s Riddler, Colin Farrell’s Penguin, and Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman. The trailers have delivered on the promise of a darker, more grounded Batman, with elements of film noir, mystery, and horror. For many fans, The Batman seems to be a natural successor to both Christopher Nolan’s somber Dark Knight trilogy and Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder’s violent, merciless interpretation of Batman.

In a new interview with Empire magazine, Pattinson and Reeves discuss their inspiration for the character of Bruce Wayne, and share some exclusive photos from the film.

Both the star and director found some unlikely inspiration in rock icon and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. An orchestral version of ‘Something In The Way’ by Nirvana plays over the film’s trailer. Reeves said, “When I write, I listen to music, and as I was writing the first act, I put on Nirvana’s ‘Something In The Way’, … That’s when it came to me that, rather than make Bruce Wayne the playboy version we’ve seen before, there’s another version who had gone through a great tragedy and become a recluse. So I started making this connection to Gus Van Sant’s Last Days, and the idea of this fictionalized version of Kurt Cobain being in this kind of decaying manor.”

It’s an interesting interpretation for Wayne, who was previously seen as an aloof millionaire in Michael Keaton’s portrayal, and a drunken tabloid fixture in Christian Bale’s performance. But to have a reclusive, wounded Wayne that could also play the imposing Batman is a tall order for any actor. Reeves was inspired to cast Robert Pattinson after watching his performance in the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time. “In that movie you could really feel his vulnerability and desperation, but you could also feel his power,” said Reeves. “I thought that was a great mix. He’s also got that Kurt Cobain thing, where he looks like a rock star, but you also feel like he could be a recluse.”

It’s an apt description for Pattinson, who rocketed to A-list fame thanks as sparkly vampire heartthrob Edward Cullen in the Twilight films. Since then, Pattinson has made his mark in several indie films, including High Life and The Lighthouse. Pattinson says of his character, “Bruce has been hiding away, … He’s not really a socialite at all. He’s building all these little contraptions and things, just with Alfred. And even Alfred thinks he’s gone insane!”

In addition to a more reclusive, homespun Batman, Pattinson adds, “He’s been out every single night for two years, getting beaten up and shot and stabbed and burnt, and it shows, … There’s a bullet graze on the cowl, right at the beginning. I don’t think that’s been done before.”

Everything we’re seeing so far from Reeves and DC has got us excited to see how Batman’s next chapter unfolds.

The Batman hits theaters March 4, 2022.

(via Empire Magazine, image: Warner Bros.)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.