What do a prestige sci-fi drama adapted from a series of paintings and a big budget superhero movie have in common? Well, apart from exec-producer/director Matt Reeves, they share an exploration of the personal that belies their genre surfaces. When I chatted with Reeves about his new Amazon series Tales from the Loop, he shared his thoughts on the similarities the projects contain and how he’s more interested in subverting archetypes and genre-headings than sticking to them.
Though the recently released Tales From the Loop might seem a world away from Batman, for Reeves they’re intimately connected by theme and intent. In fact, Reeves went so far as to say, “I feel like they’re totally, exactly the same thing. You know, for me, I see them as being precisely the same. That’s not to say that my movie will be identical to what Nathaniel’s show is. But it’s that the intent is the same. To find the way to do something that feels personal, something that you connect to, something emotional. To use the facets of that particular genre thing as a surface entry point into something that is humanist.”
Over the course of 80 years, Batman has gone from fitting into an archetype to becoming one, something that Reeves is clearly aware of. As with all of the stories that he chooses to tell, the director is most interested in deconstructing these archetypes to create something new and different. “It really is about trying to find the ways to use those archetypes within the myth to get at something that’s deeper than that,” Reeves said. “That’s what’s so great about Batman and the world and the story; it really is amazing how many times you can come at it and find something new in it and, most importantly, find something that resonates. So in that sense, I don’t really see a difference in the aims between The Batman and Tales from the Loop.”
Of course, that Batman myth is still key to bringing his vision for Gotham to life. For Reeves, it’s just a matter of finding a hook that speaks to him and the audience. “I think there’s something very powerful in the Batman myth. The idea of being able to bring it into a context that I can relate to and into the context of today’s world without trying to underline it in any way to say like, ‘Oh, I’m doing X, Y, and Z,” he said. “To find those connections that you make when trying to do something that you relate to, you’re finding connections that you don’t even know are there as you’re making the movie. But there’s all these connections and these parallels.”
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The making of Reeves’ Planet of the Apes movies taught him a lesson about the universality of stories that he’s applying to The Batman. Where the director felt like he was telling a very personal story about the growth of his young son, he ended up creating something that spoke to many, many people in a number of ways.
“I remember having that with the Apes movies, where people were going like, ‘Oh, wow, are you doing this?’ Well, we really weren’t. We were trying to do something really personal. That was so interesting. It’s that classic sort of thing people say, which is to get to the universal through the specific. You know, you have to find that way to make something as personal as possible.”
Tales From the Loop is streaming on Amazon now.
Featured Image: Amazon Studios