How Nirvana Influenced Matt Reeves on ‘The Batman’

by Eric Lee
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The Batman director Matt Reeves has revealed that he gained inspiration for his approach to the film from various sources, including Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.

Reeves talked about how he was not inspired by the heavy Batman lore from the comics. Instead he grabbed his influences from the legendary band and Cobain’s drug addiction problems. To Reeves, Cobain’s state is analogous to Bruce Wayne’s obsession with fighting crime.

Early on, when I was writing, I started listening to Nirvana, and there was something about [Nevermind song] “Something in the Way”, which is in the first trailer, which is part of the voice of that character. When I considered, “How do you do Bruce Wayne in a way that hasn’t been seen before?” I started thinking, “What if some tragedy happened [ie: Wayne sees his parents murdered] and this guy becomes so reclusive, we don’t know what he’s doing? Is this guy some kind of wayward, reckless, drug addict?’”The truth is that he is a kind of drug addict. His drug is his addiction to this drive for revenge. He’s like a Batman Kurt Cobain.

The New Batcave

The thought of Wayne letting his public life fall apart while he’s out fighting crime is reflected everywhere in the film. It’s even in the design of the Batcave.

Reeves has also spoken about how the Dark Knight’s HQ is an old abandoned railway system that Bruce let rust over.

He doesn’t care about any of the trappings of being a [millionaire] at this point. The new Batcave is based on a secret underground railway that still exists in New York. The idea being that some of these wealthy industrialist families had private train cars at the turn of the century. So the Batcave is actually in the foundation of this tower. It was [another] way of saying, “How can we root all these things in things that feel real, but also extraordinary?”

Matt Reeves and Other Inspirations

Not to say that Matt Reeves has totally ignored the Batman comic book source material because he’s also cited Year One and The Long Halloween as huge inspirations.

Of course, the idea [to fit with the Year One story] was to make him a younger actor. In the process of writing the movie, I watched [the fantastic 2017 Safdie brothers film] Good Time, and I thought, “Okay, he’s got an inner kind of rage that connects with this character and a dangerousness, and I can feel this desperation.” I became dead-set on it being Rob [Pattinson] and I had no idea if he had any interest! Because, of course, he had done all of these indie movies after he established himself in Twilight.

Other film influences include 1970’s crime movies, like The French Connection, Chinatown and Taxi Driver. Of course, The Batman shares similar DNA with Joker. Todd Phillips also stated that similar films, specifically Taxi Driver, influenced his direction of Joker.

The Batman hits theaters on March 4, 2022. It will also stream on HBO Max on April 19, 2022.


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