Yes, I know we’re all tired of hearing about The Batman, but have you ever stopped to think how tired Robert Pattison must be of being The Batman? In his second GQ Bat-spread in as many years, Rob has had to wash his face and run a comb through his hair to be photographed and talk about how his Batman is going to be different from previous Batmen. Or, more accurately, this time he’s had to let somebody rub Vaseline all over his face and dunk his head in the toilet and talk about how hard it is to be Batman. Robert says that “even though the world might end” playing Batman is “by far the hardest thing [he’s] ever done.” Oh really, Rob? Try doing it backwards in six-inch heels! Seriously, I would like to see it.
At least in the previous GQ feature, Rob still had the energy for antics, like freebasing pasta and cultivating an air of early pandemic quarantine mania, but in his most recent spread, Robert has no excuse other than international travel for turning up for his interview disheveled and looking like an “English art dealer after a weeklong fair in Hong Kong.” Of the rigors of being trapped in a Batcave of his own making, Robert says he’s grateful for the distraction that the work has provided, but them shits was hard!
Things got off to an auspicious enough start when shooting began at the end of 2019. “Then I broke my wrist at the beginning of it all, doing a stunt, even before COVID. So the whole first section was trying to keep working out—looking like a penguin. I remember when that seemed like the worst thing that could go wrong.” Soon, of course, there were far greater obstacles brought on by the unprecedented global pandemic, which triggered production shutdowns, including the one precipitated by his own “very embarrassing” positive in September 2020, right as everyone was due back from the first interminable break. The delays ultimately stretched the shoot to 18 months—approximately the total time on set of every other Robert Pattinson movie of late combined.
And yet, when the enormous production was full steam amid the raging pandemic, he felt grateful—and even guilty at times—for having a distraction that demanded every bit of his attention. “I just always had this anchor of Batman. Rather than thinking you’re flotsam to the news, you could feel engaged without being paralyzed by it. Everyone I know, if you had a little momentum going in your career or your life, then stopping, you had to have a reckoning with yourself. Whereas I was so incredibly busy the whole time, doing something that was also super high pressure, by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done…. I was still playing Batman at the end of the day, even though the world might end. But just on the off chance that it doesn’t end…” He puts it another way later: “Even if the world burns down, I’ve just got to get this fucking thing out!”
We know Rob was slow to get on board with the little Bat-isthenics workouts that director Matt Reeves wanted him to do, but getting called “tiny” by “a lot of Batman fans” wasn’t the hardest part. Rob says one of the hardest parts of the shoot was the isolation because he wasn’t allowed to leave the set wearing the Batsuit. So he spent his downtime, in the dark, making sick beats.
The set, on the outskirts of London, manifested as a “bubble within a bubble,” he says. “And the nature of the shoot was so kind of insular, always shooting at night, just really dark all the time, and I felt very much alone. Even just being in the suit all the time. You’re not really allowed out of the studio with the suit on, so I barely knew what was going on at all outside.” They built him a little tent off to the side of the set where he could go to decompress. And mostly he would pass the time getting weird in the bat suit. “I’d be in the tent just making ambient electronic music in the suit, looking over the cowl. There’s something about the construction of the cowl that makes it very difficult to read books, so you have to kind of almost lean forward to see out of the cowl.”
Poor guy. I think we can all agree that making ambient electronic music is very tiresome. God willing we can all put Emo Batman behind us soon enough. It’s due to be released in theaters on March 4. That should give us all time to rest up in order to deal with a new threat to our collective peace and sanity. Because Gotham City’s newest villain, DJ The Joker Bat, is a real menace to the society in which we live!
Pic: Jack Bridgland/GQ