Matt Reeves is getting ready to jump into the DCEU with The Batman, but is only interested in seeing his vision come to fruition. Reeves has worked his way through the Hollywood system by tackling Let Me In (a remake of a foreign film), Cloverfield (the first installment of a shared universe) and most recently, wrapping up the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy with War for the Planet of the Apes (which hits theaters this weekend). With his latest project behind him, Reeves' focus will now turn to Ben Affleck's Dark Knight.
Reeves joined The Batman after Affleck stepped down from the director's chair. While he eventually signed on, Reeves fell out of talks for a brief period of time. The reasoning behind this was reportedly creative control over the movie and hopeful franchise. With this being a big studio tentpole film, Warner Bros. is sure to keep a watchful eye on The Batman. The studio is said to be very excited for Reeves' Batman take, which is great considering Reeves isn't interested in changing his vision.
Uproxx spoke to Reeves in the lead-up to War for the Planet of the Apes hitting theaters, and eventually asked the director about his process working on studio films. With The Batman right around the corner, he talked about the pitching process for the movie briefly and how he has routinely plants his foot in the ground to discourage changes down the road:
When I come in, what I say is, “Look. First of all, you’re asking me if I’m interested in this franchise. I am. I love this franchise. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. But here’s the way in which I’m interested in it. And if you’re not interested in it in that way, then that’s totally fine.” And the good news was, they said, “Yeah, we’re really interested in that way.” And I remember this on Dawn, too. There would be moments where I came in for a pitch that was a certain version of the movie, and somewhere along the way, because they didn’t know me or whatever it was, they’d say, “Why don’t we do this?” And I would just simply say, “But that’s not the movie that we talked about. That’s not the movie I want to do.” And I have to say that they always backed down when it came down to that. And it’s kind of the way that I’ve always done it. And here’s the thing: I’m always happy not to do something. I’m usually looking for the reason to say no.
Warner Bros. and DC Films are currently still riding the wave of praise coming their way thanks to Wonder Woman, and must be thinking that Batman will have a similarly favorable response if Reeves replicates what he's done with the Apes franchise. Based on this quote, the best approach for them to take as a studio should be a hands-off approach. This worked wonderfully for Wonder Woman and James Wan appears to be enjoying similar levels of freedom and comfort with Aquaman. Even though Reeves' pitch meetings may be done, the scripting process is up next.
If these comments are any indication, he isn't very interested in including anything that wasn't in his initial pitch. There could be smaller instances of change that he could agree to, but it sounds like he will stick to his guns throughout the process. Using Wonder Woman again as an example, Patty Jenkins has said she had to fight to keep the No Man's Land sequence in the movie. And its a good thing she did because it wound up being one of the film's best scenes. If WB tries to push back on Reeves down the road or asks him to include extra characters for the sake of universe-building, he does not sound interested in doing so.
While Wonder Woman is an example of what happens when the director has control, WB may be trying to stop meddling throughout the process. They were the ones who cut down Zack Snyder's original cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and brought a trailer house in to create the final cut of Suicide Squad. Should they try to do something like this with Reeves and Batman, they could find themselves at a stand still. We've recently seen directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller stand by their vision for Han Solo until the very end, but hopefully any differences between WB and Reeves make it that far. In the end, if both sides are aware of the film they intend to make going into production, then there should be no cause for concern.
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