Robert Pattinson playing Batman would be a waste of his talents

Robert Pattinson looks likely to be the latest cinematic cape crusader in Matt Reeves' upcoming comic book movie The Batman, which means the indie film world might be about to lose its most interesting actor

Article by Jamie Dunn | 17 May 2019
  • Robert Pattinson

It looks like Twilight star Robert Pattinson is going to go from sparkly vampire to the Dark Knight. According to Hollywood bible Variety, Robert Pattinson is in negotiations to play the Caped Crusader in Matt Reeves’ forthcoming superhero film, titled The Batman, which is due to hit cinemas in the summer of 2021. Fellow Brit Nicholas Hoult is said to also be in the running.

Since it became clear that Warner Bros' current Batman Ben Affleck wouldn't be part of Reeves' vision, the question of who would be the next Batman has been on the lips of every comic book movie fan. Affleck has played the character three times in ensemble films Batman vs Superman: Dawn of JusticeSuicide Squad and Justice League. He had hoped to direct his own stand-alone movie about the Caped Crusader, but it never worked out.

“I tried to direct a version of it and worked with a really good screenwriter, but just couldn’t come up with a version, I couldn’t crack it,” he told Jimmy Kimmel on his chatshow. "So I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it. They got some really good people so I’m excited.”

Among those good people is director Matt Reeves. The 53-year-old made his name with his nerve-shredding found-footage sci-fi Cloverfield and has proven himself to be one of the most interesting Hollywood directors out there thanks to his two soulful Planet of the Apes movies: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes. He's sure to have an interesting take on the character, but the possibility of Pattinson playing Batman has really piqued our interest.

After his stint as the moody vampire in the Twilight series, Pattinson has gone on to carve out one of the most fascinating careers in Hollywood. UK fans can currently see him in Claire Denis's arthouse sci-fi High Life, while over in Cannes he's about to appear in black-and-white fantasy horror film The Lighthouse from Robert Eggers, director of The Witch. We've also seen him in two esoteric David Cronenberg satires (Cosmopolis, Maps to the Stars); he's played a sleazy lowlife in the Safdie brothers' blistering New York crime drama Good Time; and he got lost in the jungle in James Gray's The Lost City of Z.

His eclectic post-Twilight career has also seen him play TE Lawrence for Werner Herzog (Queen of the Desert), take on two characters in Brady Corbet's The Childhood of a Leader and star in post-apocalyptic Aussie western The Rover, from David Michôd. If anything, we can take heart that Pattison's paycheque for The Batman might be used to support plenty of other interesting films by these talented directors.

In saying that, do we really want one of our most daring leading men tied up in a comic book franchise for years? We've just seen actors like Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans finally released from the shackles of their MCU contracts and we can only imagine what interesting films they could have made if they hadn't been chasing magical space gems for the best part of a decade. Will plans to work again with filmmakers like Denis and The Safties have to be put on hold while he's off brooding in Gotham City?

And does the world even need another Batman reboot? Since Tim Burton's Batman back in 1989, five actors (Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and Affleck) have slipped into the Batsuit. We also have a teen Batman on Gotham and a LEGO version voiced by Will Arnett. There may even be a version of the character in the upcoming Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Pattison would be the third incarnation in just seven years. Maybe we need to find new heroes.