Tenet Star Robert Pattinson Had to Lie to Christopher Nolan About His Audition for The Batman

The Batman star Robert Pattinson admits he tried and failed to lie to his Tenet director Christopher Nolan when auditioning to be the new caped crusader. Much like the next Batman, where the 34-year-old Pattinson replaces the 47-year-old Ben Affleck as a less experienced costumed crime-fighter, Nolan's latest is shrouded in secrecy. The Dark Knight trilogy filmmaker has clarified that Tenet is not a "time-travel film," saying instead that his twisty espionage thriller "deals with time." This clandestine operation involves Pattinson's enigmatic character, who joins an unnamed and just as mysterious Protagonist (John David Washington) armed with a time-reversal tactic known as "inversion" to stave off World War III.

"It's funny because Chris is so secretive about everything to do with his movies," Pattinson told The Irish Times. "And then I had to be really secretive about Batman stuff. So I had to lie to Chris about having to go for a screen test — I said I had a family emergency. And as soon as I said 'it's a family emergency' he said: 'You're doing the Batman addition, aren't you?'"

Warner Bros. named Pattinson their new Bruce Wayne in late May 2019, around the time Tenet headed in front of cameras. When word of his involvement with The Batman leaked before the star auditioned for director Matt Reeves, Pattinson feared he'd lost the role.

"When that thing leaked, I was f—ing furious," Pattinson admitted in a 2019 interview with Variety. "Everyone was so upset. Everyone was panicking from my team. I sort of thought that had blown up the whole thing."

Hand-picked by Reeves, Pattinson won out over X-Men star Nicholas Hoult, who also screen-tested in a Batsuit for the two-time Planet of the Apes filmmaker.

A Warners insider later told The Hollywood Reporter the audition process was "quicker than normal," and Reeves was particularly impressed by Pattinson's roles in the films Good Time and High Life. The director "knew what he was looking for," according to one insider.

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Pattinson will don the cape and cowl opposite Zoë Kravitz as the elusive Catwoman, Paul Dano as the clue-dropping Riddler, and Colin Farrell as Gotham City mobster the Penguin. Allies for this younger and fresher Batman include Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth and Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon.

In Tenet, rolling out internationally August 26 before opening in select U.S. theaters starting September 3, Pattinson belongs to an ensemble that includes John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. The Batman will open in theaters October 1, 2021.