Robert Pattinson on Why Batman's Cowl and Darth Vader's Helmet Are so Hard to Film
Credit: Warner Bros.

Making The Batman, Robert Pattinson got some intel from the film’s cinematographer, Greig Fraser, who also filmed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Pattinson says Fraser told him: “The two most difficult things to light are Darth Vader’s helmet and the cowl.”

Of course it makes sense that two of the most iconic masks in movies — Batman’s and Vader’s — take a lot of extra effort. Both rely heavily on light and shadow, and look incredibly dramatic when the light hits them just right amid all the darkness.

Pattinson understood what Fraser meant when The Batman director Matt Reeves asked the actor for more takes than he was used to. There was nothing wrong with his performance, it turns out — Reeves and Fraser just wanted the Batman’s masks, aka the Batman cowl, to look perfect.

Pattison talked about the technicalities of shooting the cowl for our winter 2022 cover story on Reeves and The Batman, which you can read here.

Robert Pattinson on Shooting the Batman Cowl

“There’s a whole different language, body language, you have to learn to make it do what you want it to do,” Pattinson said. “If you look too much into the light, it looks completely ridiculous, and you’re wearing a Halloween costume.

“But if you’re like two millimeters down, it’s like — oh, that’s completely totemic, and like it looks exactly how it’s supposed to look. But to learn how to feel that and learn how to react to how the light hits it, takes forever,” Pattinson continued.

Pattinson is one of several The Batman stars who talk about Reeve’s commitment to detail in our cover story: Zoë Kravitz, who plays Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, talks about how a very slight change in her facial expression made a huge difference in what she conveyed on camera.

Jeffrey Wright, who plays Lt. James Gordon, says Reeves got very specific about when he should pause. And Colin Farrell, who plays Oz Cobblepot (who would prefer not to be called The Penguin), says Reeves “eats, drinks, sleeps Batman, and all the characters in this mythology.”

Matt Reeves Wrote The Batman With Robert Pattinson in Mind

Reeves, meanwhile, talks in the cover story about how he started writing The Batman with Robert Pattinson in mind long before he had any idea if Pattinson might be interested. Reeve and producer Dylan Clark were impressed by several of Pattinson’s performances in recent years, including as a desperate but cagey crook in the Safdie brothers’ breathtaking 2017 drama Good Time.

Clark talks in the cover story about how he and Pattinson met for a general meeting about “20 different things,” when suddenly Pattinson asked him, “So what’s going on with Batman?”

Pattinson recalled, “I had no idea that Matt had seen Good Time and thought, ‘I want to do a really dirty, dirty, slimy Batman.’”

When Is Batman 2 Out? Who Will the Batman 2 Villain Be?

Since we originally published this story last year, Batman 2 has received a late 2025 release date from new DC Films chief James Gunn, who is treating Matt Reeves’ Batman movies as part of an Elseworlds slate separate from the connected DC Universe he us guiding, which will include a new Superman film which has a release date of July 11, 2025.

So yes, if things go according to plan, in 2025 we’ll get both a Superman movie with a new Superman, and a Batman movie led by Robert Pattinson.

Deadline recently published a story suggesting that Clayface, a shape-shifting Batman villain, may turn up in either The Batman 2 or in a separate film that would be part of James Gunn’s connected DC Universe.

The report said Doctor Sleep filmmaker Mike Flanagan pitched a Clayface film to DC Films, and has a take in which Clayface wouldn’t necessarily be a villain. But Deadline also writes that “other sources are telling us that scripts are constantly changing, and that Clayface is a big addition to Matt Reeves’ The Batman 2.”

You can read our full cover Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson cover story here.

The Batman is now streaming on HBO Max.

Main image: Robert Pattinson as The Batman, courtesy of Warner Bros.