Tinseltown’s history is full of tales, both true and exaggerated, about performers going all-in on a role. Sometimes actors do whatever they think they must to get lost in a part. That might mean gaining or losing weight, staying up for days, or sending a co-star a pet rat. But we’re not sure anyone ever did what Paul Dano insisted on doing while filming The Batman. To play the most terrifying Riddler ever to appear on screen he wrapped his head in saran wrap. But even more impressive—or worrisome—is that he kept it on even after he learned why that was not the best idea.
In an interview with The Holllywood Reporter (that we learned of at IGN), Dano told the story of how his character’s noggin ended up covered in plastic wrap. While working to develop the Riddler’s costume, meant to evoke a homemade aesthetic, Dano decided his character would leave nothing to chance. That included not leaving his DNA behind at a crime scene. At first he thought that might mean shaving all his body hair. An option that sounds terrible until you hear what actually happened.
Instead director Matt Reeves loved Dano’s idea of wrapping the Riddler’s head entirely in saran wrap. That pliable plastic is a great way to keep things encased. It provided a clever, cheap solution to the Riddler’s concerns about evidence. Unfortunately saran wrap did more than lock in all his DNA. It also locked in all of the heat from Dano’s head. A fact he did not learn until after shooting a few scenes. When he took off his mask his head was, according to Reeves, beet red.
The director told Dano he didn’t have to keep wearing the plastic covering. However, Dano insisted he wanted to do it that way, so the saran wrap stayed. Only this time with a few strategic punctures to let some heat out.
Not that any cosplayers or trick-or-treaters should even do that. Dano says he hopes nobody wraps their head in saran wrap as part of their costume. He fears someone will pass out “from heat exhaustion.” And if the Riddler himself is saying that you know there’s no mystery about what a bad idea that would be. (But really, don’t shave your body either.)