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Listen To Matt Reeves Break Down The Batman's Deleted Joker Scene

Since it premiered on March 4, director Matt Reeves' "The Batman" has become one of the biggest movies of 2022, grossing more than $758 million in just under two months (via The Numbers). The first standalone live-action Batman film since 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises," this one stars Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader. It takes places just two years into his time wearing the black cowl and sees him taking on some of his toughest adversaries yet, the Riddler (Paul Dano) and the Penguin (Colin Farrell).

Those aren't the only two villains Reeves used in the movie. One of the most buzzy scenes in the film didn't even make the final cut. Early in the film, after the Riddler has been sending Batman taunting messages, Batman goes to Arkham Asylum to speak with another serial killer, one that he caught earlier in his first year on the job. In the script, the murderer is referred to as "The Unseen Prisoner," but it's definitely the Joker (Barry Keoghan)–or, technically, the man who would become the Joker.

For a scene that didn't end up in the movie, the Batman-Joker conversation has already gotten plenty of attention online. On April 26, 2022, Warner Bros. even posted a version of the scene with commentary from director Matt Reeves. In it, Reeves reveals what the scene is about and why it didn't make the final cut. 

The Joker is another mirror image of Batman

Reeves starts off his commentary by explaining the scene's setup. The "interviewing a killer to catch another killer" trope is very familiar if you've seen "Silence of the Lambs."

Then, Reeves talks about the inspiration for his take on the Joker. Acknowledging other takes on the Joker like Heath Ledger's performance in 2008's "The Dark Knight," Reeves went in a different direction by creating a Joker who isn't yet "The Joker" as fans know him. Reeves went back to "Batman" creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger's inspiration for The Joker, which was Conrad Veidt's performance in the classic 1928 horror film "The Man Who Laughs." Here, the Joker suffers from a degenerative disease that contorts his face into a permanent smile. Reeves compares his Joker to the Elephant Man, someone who's treated like disfigured freak. Unlike the Elephant Man, the Joker's experiences warp him into a misanthropic killer. Finally, the Joker's miserable childhood shaped who he is today–just like Batman's childhood shaped him.

Reeves' Joker is also perceptive, someone who's adept at sizing up his opponents and understanding their psychological motivations. That brings Reeves to the scene's overall purpose in the story. During their interview, the Joker realizes that Batman actually agrees with the Riddler, who's been murdering Gotham's elite. As the scene ends, the Joker screeches "You think they deserve it!"

It sums up Batman's overall arc in the film, which is that he realizes he's not much different from the criminals he pursues. And that's ultimately why the scene was cut. Reeves felt that Batman already makes this realization during the course of the story, making this scene unnecessary.

Still, Reeves had high praise for Pattinson, Keoghan, and makeup designer Michael Marino, who created the Joker's gnarly look.