Robert Pattinson breaks down how his Batman is different

The Batman star Robert Pattinson describes how his Dark Knight is different, from being dirty and slimy, to his workout, and his eyeliner.


The Batman’s Robert Pattinson describes how his version of the Dark Knight is markedly different than other live action portrayals. The actor specifically points out how his Bruce Wayne is dirty and slimy, discussing his psychosis, his workout routine, and his eyeliner.

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The Batman star Robert Pattinson shares how his version of the Dark Knight is different from others. (Images: DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Even though the movie is apparently not an origin story, there is a lot of character building being covered. With the long history of actors taking on the mantle of The Batman, how does Pattinson’s take stack up so far? What did the actor reveal about his interpretation of Batman’s no killing rule? And why is Batman’s eyeliner so important?

Read on for more on these The Batman revelations below.

Dirty and slimy

Speaking to French entertainment magazine Premiere as part of The Batman promotion, Robert Pattinson describes his take on Bruce Wayne’s lifestyle at the time of the film’s setting:

He's nowhere at home except on the street when he's wearing the suit. He lives a criminal life, but without committing crimes! I felt like I could get something out of that. Anyway, I could only play a superhero if he was really dirty!

In a later interview with MovieMaker, Pattinson continued about the theme of an unkempt Bruce Wayne shared with the film’s director, Matt Reeves:

I had no idea that Matt had seen Good Time and thought, ‘I want to do a really dirty, dirty, slimy Batman. It was a kind of almost fated thing. Of course, at that point, we were still working on the script. And so there was nothing to share. But I met with him probably about eight months later, and I shared the script, and we just really connected.

There had been comments and reactions that Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne looks awkward at the least as a billionaire playboy. But based on this description, this version of Wayne has not created his more familiar trappings. It does, however, beg the question of why no one has suspected Bruce of being the Batman (as the film is set during the second year of his vigilante operations).

No killing

Aside from the physical attributes, one key characteristic that Robert Pattinson is consistent with the Batman persona is adopting his psychology.

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Pattinson's Bruce Wayne is far from the usual carefree billionaire playboy that is the "mask" of The Batman.

In the same Premiere magazine interview, Pattinson describes his approach to how Batman thinks and justifies his war on crime but maintains non-lethal tactics:

There is this rule with Batman: he must not kill. It can be interpreted in two ways. Either he only wants to inflict the appropriate punishment, or he wants to kill and his self-control prevents him from doing so. I imagined it that way from the rehearsal of the first fight, I thought it was funnier: something in him just wanted to slit the guy's throat! I told myself that if he spends his nights chasing criminals, it is impossible that he does not take pleasure in it. He suffers and it is a desire that overwhelms him.

The actor added, describing the catharsis Bruce Wayne experiences in beating up criminals:

And by dint of knocking, his mind clears, he calms down, he reaches a state close to plenitude. I'm sure in this first fight, he manages to convince himself that every guy in front of him is the one who killed his mother. And so that allows him to vent all his rage.

In the comics, Batman has generally followed a no killing rule. This self-imposed rule has been inconsistently portrayed in the live action films. Christian Bale's version wantonly allowed Ra's al-Ghul (Liam Neeson) to die, while Michael Keaton's and Ben Affleck's versions clearly killed criminals with their brutal methods.

Workout joke

One point that Pattinson wants to clarify is that, contrary to an off-hand remark he said, he actually did underwent the requisite workout to be the Caped Crusader.

Fans took the actor to task when, in an interview with GQ, Pattinson implied that he was not working out for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman:

I’m just barely doing anything. I think if you’re working out all the time, you’re part of the problem. You set a precedent. No one was doing this in the ’70s. Even James Dean—he wasn’t exactly ripped.

This statement came as a response to the interview that Warner Bros. assigned a fitness trainer to help him get in shape. However, the fan backlash spread on the internet, particularly with how Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck underwent rigorous training during their own turns in the role. Even publications like Men’s Health took the actor’s comment seriously, speculating on the pros and cons of Pattinson’s apparent choice to not undergo the workout routines to bulk up.

However, in the more recent interview with MovieMaker, Pattinson doubled back on his previous comments about working out for playing Batman. The actor instead confirmed he had put in the work to get shredded:

That really came back to haunt me. I just always think it’s really embarrassing to talk about how you’re working out. I think it’s like an English thing. Unless you are in the most unbelievable shape, where people are just genuinely curious, going, ‘How have you achieved, like, physical perfection?’ or whatever.

Pattinson continued by reassuring fans that he was just jesting during the earlier interview about not training:

You’re playing Batman. you have to work out. I think I was doing the interview when I was in lockdown, as well, in England…I was in a lower gear of working out.

Given the scenes revealed so far in The Batman teasers and trailers of Pattinson showing his physique, the actor did get more muscular and chiseled, although not as massive as Bale or Affleck.

Bat eyeliner?

Perhaps the most visually obvious difference that Pattinson’s version of Batman is how he is directly shown wearing eyeliner.

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Unlike previous live action Batmen, Pattinson's version retains the black eyeliner after removing the cowl.

In previous live action depictions of Batman, the actors wear dark eyeliner or makeup around the edges of the eyes, to give a continuous black look while sporting the cowl. However, the eyeliner is inexplicably gone the moment the cowl is removed.

On the other hand, Pattinson in The Batman clearly shows the eyeliner still there, as he removed the cowl in his Batcave. In an interview with Esquire, Matt Reeves explains the reasoning for this:

You can’t wear a cowl and not wear that. All of the Batmen wear that. I just loved the idea of taking off the mask and under that there’s the sweating and the dripping and the whole theatricality of becoming this character.

Pattinson’s casting as Bruce Wayne/The Batman initially brought about mixed reactions, particularly with fans who only know the actor’s role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight film franchise. The first trailer led to a more positive response, though there were still naysayers.

With the new details thus revealed about the actor’s dedication and darker take on the role, will the perception change? Given the lengthy runtime of the film, there is certainly enough time to fully flesh out Pattinson's characterization of the iconic superhero.

The Batman stars Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell. Also starring Jayme Lawson, Barry Keoghan, and Alex Ferns.

The Batman hits theaters worldwide on March 4, 2022.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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