The Batman Has A Suit Inspired By Vietnam, Adam West, And The Grim Reaper [Interview] - SlashFilm (2024)

How did Matt Reeves first describe his vision for "The Batman," and how did you want the suit to reflect that vision?

Dillon: From my memory, I definitely remember him saying how much he wanted to play towards it feeling very real, and I remember him saying how he wanted Batman to have freedom to move, and he wanted him to be able to fight like an MMA fighter. I think Dave and I both, from all our jobs previously, we know our taste is very similar. We both like things that feel very real. I think that's one of the reasons why [producer] Simon Emanuel got us this interview with Matt Reeves, because I think we all aligned very much in our taste as to how we could maybe do a newer version of Batman that felt very real.

You took inspiration from the Vietnam War, right?

Crossman: Yes, Vietnam is always in there somewhere. One of the things we took apart was the Vietnam-era flak jacket. Inside the bulletproof material are actually layers of Kevlar fabric, but layered on top of each other, so we thought, "Well, what we can do is form these or cut these into the shapes of the panels that you see on the torso of the Batsuit." The cowl really led the way initially. Often there's all these things, but it's always the head first, and then it leads on to what the suit would be.

Yet, in a way the cowl is slightly more fantastical than the suit, but I think they work well together because you want to retain an element of the Batman and the mystery, but the suit itself is this fully-flexible or functioning bulletproof number. We didn't want it to feel like a muscle suit, but it also gives Robert a good, dominating physicality without making him look pumped up, muscular, without giving him that feel. It just gives him a kind of brutish appearance.

Dillon: With the cowl, it is a more fantastical element of it, inasmuch as I like the idea of it feeling like the grim reaper, so that it's shaped more skull-like, and then maybe with the suggestion that he might have stretched the leather over a skull in order to get those shapes. Then the neck pieces are like vertebrae. So, it's got this grim reaper feel to it, which also then transferred over with [costume designer] Jacqueline [Durran]'s look of him when he's Bruce Wayne, with the eye makeup and the hood up walking through Gotham City.

I just think by the idea of stretching it over a skull, it differentiates itself from previous cinema iterations where the cowl looked much more like the face of a demon with a pointy nose and a furrowed brow. Which, obviously with the cowl, he's trying to intimidate and scare when people look him in the eyes, and I think knowing that he was going to be standing around talking to Gordon and doing all the detective work, I think it might have seemed a bit incongruous to have had a cowl with all of this extra drama built into it.

By doing something like a skull, which is kind of scary anyway but it has a neutral expression, I think it allows Robert to act. You can see great scenes like when he's talking to the Riddler near the end and what he's doing with his eyes, you're not distracted by the cowl. You're just looking at his eyes. I think that's what differentiates our cowl from the previous ones.

Crossman: You get a lot of Robert coming through, you get a lot of his jaw line. There's a lot of history on the cowl. There are a lot of bullet grazes and damage from previous encounters that Batman has had. All of that was built into the cowl from the beginning, so you could see that it's been around, we're in the second year of it and that kind of thing. He has history.

The movie truly lives up to the title, like the Bruce Wayne we know doesn't exist yet. Were you both aware that a large portion of Pattinson's performance was going to be in the suit?

Dillon: It's a long time ago since I read the script, but I don't think it really sunk in at the time just how much he is dressed as Batman throughout it. It was interesting to finally see it, and I'm glad we did what we did with the cowl, because I do think that it allowed Robert to express and emote, and you're just focusing on him, really, and there's not an angry cowl expression getting in the way.

Crossman: It's true. You're always looking at his eyes as reaction, and I think the same thing. I didn't realize until we saw the film just how much he's in it. I do feel you've got Robert through all of that, which I thought was a nice thing, really.

The Batman Has A Suit Inspired By Vietnam, Adam West, And The Grim Reaper [Interview] - SlashFilm (2024)
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