Matt Reeves tells stories about finding humanity in unexpected places. Let Me In found a friendship between an immortal vampire and a bullied teen, while his Planet of the Apes movies asked us to see ourselves in a society of rapidly evolving simians. Soon, Reeves will bring that humanist eye to the Dark Knight with his film The Batman. When I chatted with him about his Caped Crusader film—and his new Amazon sci-fi series, Tales From the Loop, its own exploration of humanity in a curious space—Reeves explained that there was only way he could make a story about the famous costumed crime-fighter.
Though taking on Batman seems like it’d be a daunting task, Reeves told me that he approached it like any of his other projects. “I’m going to pitch the version of Batman that I would do, which is going to have a humanist bent. And who knows if they’ll have any interest? If they don’t, then I won’t do it. And that’ll be okay,” Reeves explained. “I was really lucky that they said yes.”
Reeves revealed that he sees this penchant for this humanism as a necessity of his projects. “It’s not even like that’s an approach that I take, like it’s some kind of idea of, ‘Wouldn’t it be great?’ It’s sort of the only thing that allows me to understand how to do it,” he said. “I can only understand where the camera goes and how to talk about the story, how to write the story, how to talk to the actors, if I understand emotionally what it is I have to do. Otherwise I’d be lost.
The director added, “Some people are incredible choreographers and they know how to create an incredible visual dance, or all of that kind of stuff. And I love that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, I have to understand it emotionally.”
As for how those creative inclinations will impact The Batman, Reeves shared a little of what he was most excited to explore when it came to billionaire Bruce Wayne. “I wanted to do not an origin tale, but a tale that would still acknowledge his origins, in that it formed who he is. Like this guy, he’s majorly struggling, and this is how he’s trying to rise above that struggle,” Reeves explained. “But that doesn’t mean that he even fully understands, you know. It’s that whole idea of the shadow self and what’s driving you, and how much of that you can incorporate, and how much of it you’re doing that you’re unaware of.”
Reeves continued, “There’s something in there that feels very psychological, very emotional, and it felt like there was a way of exploring that along with the corruption in this place, Gotham. That feels very current. I think it always does. There’s almost no time when you can’t do a story about corruption. But today, it still seems incredibly resonant and maybe, from my perspective, maybe more so than maybe at other time.”
Tales From the Loop is streaming on Amazon now.
Featured Image: Warner Bros.