Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Matt Reeves Agreed To Direct The Batman Under One Condition

The latest reboot featuring DC Comics' famed Caped Crusader, "The Batman," is on the verge of taking flight in theaters worldwide, finally completing a monumental task undertaken by writer-director Matt Reeves. "The Batman," of course, has undergone different iterations during its arduous production cycle, which began with filmmaker Zack Snyder's controversial Batman choice, Ben Affleck, not only starring in the title role but also writing and directing the film. When Affleck left his "Batman" film behind over personal reasons, the film's studio, Warner Bros., sought out another writer-director in Reeves.

Fostered by celebrated filmmaker J.J. Abrams on the writer-director's WB series "Felicity," Reeves' film breakthrough came at the helm of the Abrams-produced found-footage monster movie "Cloverfield." The doors of opportunity swung wide open for Reeves after the success of "Cloverfield," which earned $172 million at the worldwide box office against a $25 million budget (via Box Office Mojo). This landed the filmmaker such high-profile gigs as the "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" sequels "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and "War for the Planet of the Apes" in 2014 and 2017, respectively.

Suddenly, Reeves was calling his own shots as both writer and director of the last two films in the "Apes" trilogy, which was clearly the right move for the studio to make, seeing how the entire trilogy is widely considered one of the best in modern cinema. It also established a condition that Reeves would seem to demand on future projects.

Reeves insisted on writing the script for The Batman

In a new interview with The New York Times, Reeves said he was in postproduction on "War for the Planet of the Apes" when Warner Bros. asked him to direct Affleck's version of "The Batman." And while Reeves told the outlet that the iteration of the tale was "a totally valid and cool take" on the Dark Knight, he "just didn't know how [he] would direct that."

The interesting thing is, instead of following in the footsteps of such revered "Batman" directors Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, and Snyder, Reeves elected to put the studio on ice. "I don't think you're going to want me because I wouldn't do this. And then they asked me what I would do," Reeves recalled for the Times. "I said, I'm in the middle of making this 'Apes' movie so I can't really tell you."

Reeves kept true to his lack of words while he completed his film at hand. According to the Times, the writer-director pitched his ideas for "The Batman" after "War for the Planet of the Apes," and began writing the script in 2017.

After five years and various pandemic-induced production and release delays, "The Batman," starring Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, will open in theaters Friday, March 4. 

Matt Reeves wanted to create an unsettling Batman

Upon reading interviews, it's clear Matt Reeves has the utmost respect for the character and mythos of Batman. He didn't want just to go in and make any old Batman movie. He wanted to create a definitive Dark Knight story for a new generation, and as he went on to tell the Times, that involved taking a novel approach to the Caped Crusader. "I wanted to fight against any sense that Batman would remain static," he elaborated. "I wanted the stakes of the story to challenge him in a way that shook him to his core. He has to change."

If there's any comic book character who straddles the line between good and bad, it's Batman. He operates under cover of night and resorts to morally dubious methods to bring criminals of Gotham to justice. Making him someone who has to change and learn lessons throughout a film comes easier to him than with the likes of Superman and Captain America. Yet, it's something that can be hard to come by depending on the story.

To accomplish that, Reeves had to go darker than any live-action, feature-length Batman had gone before. As Reeves told TIME Magazine, "I wanted to play on this idea that Batman is going to unleash on these guys, and there's a part of you that can't wait to see it." But Reeves didn't want the same old fight scenes in his film. He wanted to go bigger and darker, as he went on to explain, "You go to a Batman movie to see that moment. And then you see it's having a toxic effect. It makes you get a little unsettled."

This may very well prove to be one Batman for the ages.