Matt Reeves Directed Robert Pattinson's Batman Via Microphone, And It Worked

Trying to fully encapsulate the impact the pandemic has had on the film industry feels like an impossible feat. For years, it seemed like every day there was a new headline to write about yet another delay or production shutdown related to a positive COVID case. The box office feels like it will never be the same, and in the interest of safety for all involved, the way movies are made looks quite a bit different. During the production for Matt Reeves' highly-anticipated "The Batman," star Robert Pattinson contracted COVID-19, temporarily halting production. Pattinson's positive test result came relatively early in the pandemic, before there were available vaccines, and people were rightfully terrified of the possible outcome. Thankfully, Pattinson recovered quickly, but "The Batman" had already suffered a crew member casualty when dialect coach and "Star Wars" actor Andrew Jack passed away from complications due to COVID-19.

Extreme measures were necessary if "The Batman" was going to be completed. Reeves transformed himself into a "burrito" to keep himself protected from possible COVID exposure, and with the self-imposed isolation between the director and his actors, he and Pattinson were fitted with earpieces and microphones in order to communicate with one another. This allowed Reeves to keep a safe distance from his performers while providing direction, and in a weird way, it may have made the production even stronger.

"We were always directly connected"

In a recent interview with Variety, Reeves discussed the microphone aspect saying, "We were always directly connected, and it's weird, because we were also physically distant." Reeves goes on to talk about how he and Pattinson were able to talk to each other in very low tones. "I think we were in each other's head," he said. "That had a particular effect." There's a level of intimacy established already between director and actor when working on a project, but for Reeves and Pattison to speak directly into the others' ear like an unseen force, really ups the ante of the situation.

In fact, the connection was made even stronger during the moments when Reeves' microphone was accidentally left on while the cameras were rolling. "You could hear his little reactions," Pattinson told Variety. "If it was a tense scene, you'd suddenly hear his breathing accelerate." The same way that theater performers are able to feed off the energy of a live crowd, Pattinson was then able to perform in response to his director's reaction. "Sometimes, it would be very, very distracting, but sometimes I actually quite enjoyed hearing his real-time reaction," he continued. "I've never been so close to a director's perception of what I was doing before's a strangely intimate experience." 

The news of Pattinson being able to hear Reeves from time to time was new information for the director, who took great joy in finding out. "He never told me," he said. "This is amazing."