Robert Pattinson is playing The Batman in director Matt Reeves' reboot of the DC Comics movie franchise, and naturally, that casting has sparked a fair amount of controversy. After all, for some members of the Batman fandom, the idea of the Twilight star taking on Batman with the proper mount of grit and edge is impossible to imagine. One big point of judgement for any actor playing Batman is the voice that he chooses for The Dark Knight. Fans are definitely going to be giving Robert Pattinson's Batman voice a lot of scrutiny, so what kind of approach is the actor taking?
At the moment Pattinson is out doing press for his new psychological horror-thriller The Lighthouse, in which he stars opposite Willem Dafoe as two lighthouse keepers who start to experience madness and/or supernatural phenomenon while living on a remote island. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Pattinson reveals that Willem Dafoe's performance in The Lighthouse may actually be the inspiration for what his Batman voice will sound like:
"Willem's voice in this is quite inspiring for it to be honest. It is pretty similar to the voice I'm gonna do... I think Batman has a sort of pirate-y kind of voice..."
Cue the angry trolls who start tweeting, "Batman is NOT a pirate!"...
If nothing else, Pattinson's comment serves as good reason to check out The Lighthouse trailer, to get a sense of what he's referencing in terms of DaFoe's vocal performance. Check out that video above, and let's break it down, below:
So just be clear: Pattinson is probably not referencing the particular accent that DaFoe chooses for his character in The Lighthouse - rather the texture and tone of the voice. DaFoe indeed has a low, rumbling, gravely voice in the film - which is especially noticeable in the sections where DaFoe's voice is used in voiceover, seemingly to voice internal monologue of Pattinson's character ("Why'd you spill your beans?"). In terms of acting, it's understandable to see where Pattinson is looking as a starting point for his Batman voice - and if he can pull off something similar, his Batman may actually have a convincingly gruff and gravely voice that sounds natural, as opposed to "enhanced" by electronic devices.
That may be a crucial distinction in the case of Matt Reeves The Batman. The word is that the Batman reboot will be based on storylines from the comics like "The Long Halloween", which sees Batman embroiled in a year-long investigation of a serial killer stalking Gotham. That investigation requires Batman to interview quite a few villains from his rogues gallery as possible leads in the case - meaning, quite a few scenes of conversation between Batman an other characters in Reeves' film. That would arguably require the biggest "Batman" vocal performance ever from a live-action actor, so Pattinson would definitely need a voice to meet that challenge.
Joker is now in theaters. Upcoming DC Movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2020.