Warner Bros.’ relationship with new The Batman director Matt Reeves is off to a great start as both sides are excited for his vision. Following Ben Affleck stepping down as the director on Batman’s solo movie, WB moved quickly to try to find a replacement. Instantly, Reeves’ name was put into contention and wound up beating out a few other contenders to get the highly coveted gig. That was at the beginning of the year, but his commitment to War for the Planet of the Apes has kept him from turning his focus towards the DCEU.
However, even with Reeves now serving as the director, there was a period of time, albeit brief, when talks had fallen off between him and WB. With those talks ultimately coming back around and finding Reeves in the director’s seat, there was some sense that the two sides didn’t see eye-to-eye. Thankfully, Reeves says the experience has been (and hopefully will be) anything but.
In an interview with Variety, Reeves spoke about the process of joining the DCEU. After specifically being asked about dropping out of talks initially, only to come to back to the project, Reeves revealed that both he and the studio are excited about the early development of The Batman, and believes it will be a great working relationship based on his experience so far.
I certainly hope so. Let’s put it this way. I’ve never worked with them but my experience with them so far has been really good. As I describe what I want to do, they seem really excited. So its the beginning of a journey. When I came in to do Apes, I had no idea, I had never made a studio film like that before. Even Cloverfield, though it came out through Paramount, was not really a studio film. Bad Robot had final cut so it was like making an indie, and so they were just really supportive and released the movie so it wasn’t really a studio film. These two movies, I’ve been able to make exactly the movie I wanted to make. Whatever flaws are in there are in some way we weren’t able to achieve something, I wasn’t able to pull something off, we didn’t have enough time, or whatever it is. It is also not something where I look back and go, ‘That damn studio compromise.’ So I think there’s a way in which you can work with a studio. I’ve never worked with any studio other than Fox, so its going to be an exploration for me. I’m excited to say that thus far they seem really excited about it and I suppose if we should ever come to an impasse then we’d have to resolve it one way or another. I’m very hopeful and positive about it.
There is no denying that in the past, WB has had some difficulties with their directors in the DCEU. Zack Snyder’s original cut of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was trimmed down for the theatrical release, while David Ayer saw Suicide Squad go through many post-production changes at their request. But, things turned around in a big way with Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman – and appears to be the same way James Wan has been able to take on Aquaman. Based on these comments from Reeves, he is having a similar experience and being given the freedom to make the movie he wants.
Since taking on the job, Reeves has made it clear he wants to make a very personal story for The Batman. He’s described it as a detective heavy film with a film-noir approach. The personal aspects of his approach mirror what he has done with the Apes franchise, and has even compared his vision for Batman to Caesar or any of Alfred Hitchcock’s films. If WB gives Reeves full license to make this film, there should be no problems with development. But even if there are, he remains optimistic that they’ll get worked through.
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