The Batman Director Says Movie Inspired By An Iconic Nineties Rock Band

By Tyler Pisapia | 4 months ago

the batman

It’s been clear since the first rumors about Matt Reeves’ The Batman that the director was planning to take the character in a direction never seen before on the big screen. However, few could have predicted the role that the 1990s rock band Nirvana would play in the director’s vision for the character. 

It has been long teased since the officially casting of Twilight actor Robert Pattinson that The Batman would be taking place early on in the caped crusader’s career as a vigilante crime fighter. Now, speaking in an in-depth interview with Esquire, Matt Reeves confirmed what many comic book fans have speculated for months — that The Batman will be an adaptation of the Year One comic book story from writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli from 1987. 

However, in adapting the project for the big screen, the director noted that he’s taking a bit of creative license with the tone of the story that was inspired by the 1990s band Nirvana. He explained that he started listening to the band around the time that he was writing The Batman. Specifically, the song “Something in the Way,” which appeared in the main trailer for the upcoming movie. 

Reeves explained that he was trying to figure out a way to portray Bruce Wayne in a way that hadn’t been done before by other directors who took a swing at bat (pun intended) in adapting the caped crusader like Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder, Joel Schumacher or Tim Burton. The Batman, in many ways, is defined by the tragedy of seeing his parents die. However, Matt Reeves, inspired by the song, saw a version of Bruce Wayne that became a recluse. His Bruce Wayne isn’t putting on an act of a rich playboy. He’s just hiding in Wayne Manor possibly doing drugs? “He’s like a Batman Kurt Cobain,” Reeves said. 

nirvana kurt cobain mtv unplugged
Kurt Cobain on MTV’s Unplugged

However, while it would be easy to have Batman just think about his parents and go on a punching spree against Bane, Two-Face or even The Joker, Reeves decided to pit Robert Pattinson’s version of The Batman up against the character’s most confounding foe — The Riddler. As a result, he’ll have to channel his rage and showcase the fact that he’s the world’s best fighter as well as the world’s best detective, adding subtly and nuance to a character that doesn’t necessarily have to have those things. Of course, a character based on a single song, however good it may be, is a little lacking. Elsewhere in the interview, Collider notes that Reeves listed other film inspirations that the tone of The Batman will draw from.

Ever since Christopher Nolan hit massive acclaim and essentially kickstarted the brief era of the “gritty superhero movie” genre, it’s been largely considered that any movie like The Batman cannot be fun in tone. While Robert Downey Jr. gets to get away with dancing while the Iron Man armor flies to him, Batman needs to exist in a world where crime is the norm and heroes rising up is not just unheard of, but largely suicidal. That’s why the director noted that similarly depressing and gritty films like The French Connection, Chinatown and, of course, Tax Driver played heavy influences in the making of The Batman.