Robert Pattinson talks The Batman: "He's a freak!"

The Batman
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Robert Pattinson had never auditioned for a comic-book movie – until The Batman.

"I was aiming for quite different stuff," the actor tells Total Film over Zoom for the new issue of the magazine, available this Thursday. "Obviously it’s basically the jewel in the crown, of the parts you can really get as an actor. But I’d never really thought I was anywhere close to doing it, and especially with the other parts I was attracted to at the time."

The character's cinematic future was in a state of flux following Ben Affleck's withdrawal from the role post-Justice League. Pattinson – who had pivoted from big blockbuster roles in Twilight and Harry Potter to indie dramas such as Good Time and The Lighthouse – was immediately eager to land the part of Bruce Wayne. 

"I just kept obsessively checking up on it for the next year or so," he says. "Even my agents were like, 'Oh, interesting. I thought you only wanted to play total freaks?' And I was like, 'He is a freak!'"

Like many, Pattinson grew up fascinated by Batman/Bruce. "Out of all the comic-book characters and that kind of movie, I’ve seen every single one of the [Batman] movies in the cinema, which I can’t really say I’ve done for any other series," he explains. "I was always really looking forward to them coming out. There was the combination of just being so attracted to it, but also feeling like it’d had a lot of movies made about it, and none of them are bad movies. People kind of shit on some of them, but they’re not actually bad. They all kind of completely achieve what they set out to achieve, and they’re all really interesting, according to their time and place. I don’t know. I just had a weird instinct about it. But I’ve always loved the character."

Pattinson's Batman movie, directed by War for the Planet of the Apes helmer Matt Reeves, won't dwell on the character's origins story, but that tragedy will fuel the character. "He’s got this enormous trauma inside him, and he’s built this intricate, psychological mechanism to handle it," says Pattinson. "It’s like a really, really, really bad self-therapy, which has ended up with him being Batman at the end, as self-help," he laughs.

The Batman hits cinemas on March 4. For much more from Pattinson, as well as Reeves and the rest of the star-studded cast, check out the brand new issue of Total Film when it hits shelves this Thursday, February 3.

Check out the new covers, as revealed by Matt Reeves:

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Matt Maytum
Editor, Total Film

I'm the Editor at Total Film magazine, overseeing the running of the mag, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.