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The Unusual Way Matt Reeves Directed Robert Pattinson's Performance In The Batman

The hotly anticipated new movie "The Batman" hits theaters on Friday, March 4. For those involved in the film's production, that's probably a relief since the Warner Bros. pic was filmed amidst the tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming was suspended multiple times, leading to production and release date delays. When filming resumed once again in July 2020, The Wrap reported that "The Batman" was one of a few UK-based productions that would be required to observe mask mandates, social distancing, and other COVID-related protocols. While these steps presented a particular challenge in the filming of a blockbuster movie, it feels safe to say that most of those hindrances probably don't get too much in the way of creative dividends.

A recent Variety profile of "The Batman" director Matt Reeves digs into his creative journey bringing the movie to the screen. In one section of the interview, new details about his directorial process in the face of abundant COVID-related precautions are discussed. It's clear that what could have been seen as a barrier to fostering a productive creative relationship between the director and his actors actually created a special rapport between Reeves and Robert Pattinson. To go a step further, the Batman actor called the unique setup "strangely intimate" and that he'd "never been so close to a director's perception of what I was doing before."

Reeves and Pattinson stayed connected via earpieces and microphones

"The Batman" director Matt Reeves knew that if he were to contract COVID-19 (as Pattinson had within 24 hours of the production's resumed filming in September 2020, per Vanity Fair), the entire project may have collapsed. So, he instituted what he calls "a burrito," a COVID-proof cocoon made up of a mask, head-covering, and even scuba goggles. It's not typical headgear for a director who needs to be able to communicate clearly with actors, that's for sure. To overcome this safety-related obstacle, he and Pattinson were outfitted with earpieces and microphones so they could communicate more fluidly in real-time throughout production.

Batman fans might recognize that such a set-up is eerily similar to the one often used by Alfred and Bruce Wayne when the latter is out on his nocturnal patrols. Apparently, it worked almost just as well for Reeves and Pattinson. "We were always directly connected, and it's weird because we were also physically distant," Reeves told Variety, adding that "I could talk to him very low. I think we were in each other's heads. That had a particular effect."

Pattinson went even further, saying that the moments that were the most exciting for him as an actor were when Reeves's microphone was left on by mistake. He recalled, "You could hear his little reactions. If it was a tense scene, you'd suddenly hear his breathing accelerate. Sometimes, it would be very, very distracting, but sometimes I actually quite enjoyed hearing his real-time reaction."

Who knows, perhaps if Pattinson and Reeves make a sequel to "The Batman," they'll keep the directorial burrito in place – or at least the microphones and earpieces.