Joe Chill didn't mean to create Batman when he killed Bruce Wayne's parents, but in a strange twist of fate, the man who killed Martha Wayne on film in Batman v Superman... was the same one who helped save Martha Kent in the very same movie.
The man in question is none other than Damon Caro, frequent collaborator of director Zack Snyder all the way back to 300. As Stunt Coordinator and Second Unit Director, Caro was responsible for some of the most impressive action in Batman v Superman. But as an actor, he is immortalized as the nameless mugger who "creates" Ben Affleck's Batman in the opening prologue of the film. Giving him a truly 'meta' arc of his own in the process.
But believe us, this strange bit of movie kismet didn't happen the way fans might expect.
Screen Rant had the chance to interview Caro about his BvS work, including coordinating what many fans consider the best Batman fight scene yet filmed. We would recommend any movie fan watch the Batman Warehouse Fight stunt video to see how the sequence took shape. It's a reminder that the hardest working stunt teams often go overlooked... but there was another 'uncredited' role of Caro's we simply had to bring up:
You're not credited for it, but if I'm correct you portrayed the role of the gunman, presumably Joe Chill, in the opening scene.
Correct. And that was just a silly credit issue with the studio And yeah, it's Joe Chill. I play Joe Chill. Even IMDb wouldn't accept it, it was kind of funny, but yes. That is true.
The comic book historians may know the famous name of the Waynes' murderer, but it's never confirmed in the movie itself. So for fans of Bat-mythology, Caro's confirmation can be added to the DCEU canon (no matter how long the Affleck version of Batman lasts). Some may realize the strange inversion that Caro's roles in the film now create: killer of Martha Wayne in front of the camera, architect of Martha Kent's rescue from behind it.
Caro wouldn't confirm that such a poetic pairing was Zack Snyder's plan all along, but did explain how he came to play a part that, one might assume, would be scrutinized over just as much as the Waynes themselves:
So since you did the Martha Rescue, and also played Joe Chill, you kind of got to both kill and rescue Martha. Was that intentional? I know Zack likes to do fun parallels like that.
Not to my knowledge, but you would have to ask Zack... [The Warehouse Fight] was actually the first thing we shot in the movie... we started in April 2014 with that scene. It was crazy... We shot it together, then Zack moved on and I shot several more days of second unit there. But the Joe Chill scene wasn't until the end of 2014. The Joe Chill scene, that was actually in Chicago. That scene was at the sort of end of our run right before we went to New Mexico so that was probably October. That wasn't by design. Normally I'm so busy and Zack often offers me parts, "Hey, play this role, you should play that role,” but I'm so busy. He wasn't finding anybody he liked for the role, and it got down to scouting the location, we were still in Michigan and went to scout Chicago. And one weekend on a Sunday we went down there, and we were going to be in Chicago in like a month and he goes, "Why don't you play this?" And I had a lot on my plate, I was shooting other second unit and coordinating, I said "I've got a lot going on. I appreciate it, but I'm just too thin."
I went home and I was thinking about it a couple days later and I was like, "Are you kidding me? Ten years ago I would have wet my pants for an opportunity like this." I get so focused behind camera. I've been behind camera for years mainly, that's all I really do anymore. Second unit directing and that sort of thing. So that's where my head was and I just had to stop and think and go, "I have the opportunity to play Joe Chill. I have the opportunity to make Batman who he is." So the next day at work I go, "Hey man, if you haven't cast that I'd actually love to play that, lets figure that out," and that was it. That was really fun, it was good to do.
The truth behind movie magic is oftentimes stranger than fiction, and the origins of the DCEU's newest Joe Chill is exactly that. Still, whether intended or not, Caro's presence in these two scenes in particular could be seen as intensely symbolic. Two scenes that couldn't be more opposed in their representation of violence. And whether actor or director, the man who Bruce carried in the forefront of his mind as he accepted a mission descending into darkness... was the same man who guided him on his mission back into the light.
Considering how passionately fans have analyzed Batman v Superman for its symbols and themes, we expect they will appreciate the dichotomy more than most. And will never see Martha's scene - either of them - the same way again.