Whenever a lead actor is cast in a film role, especially a high-profile role such as the part of Batman, they are asked to conduct a screen test. Screen tests are essentially auditions, to see if an actor is correct for the part they are being considered for, and usually involve a short performance.
When actor Robert Pattinson was up for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2022’s The Batman, he was also asked to conduct a screen test. The production team, including director Matt Reeves, wanted to see how Pattinson would handle the part, and so the actor performed a sequence from the movie to prove he was the man for the role.
But with this being such a key piece of casting, Pattinson didn’t just perform his screen test in his regular clothes, he had to do it in costume. That costume was of course a Bat-suit.
But what Bat-suit did he wear?
For his screen test in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Batman, Robert Pattinson wore a Bat-suit previously used by Val Kilmer in the 1995 movie, Batman Forever. The Batman director, Matt Reeves, revealed the details during a conversation as part of the recent DC FanDome 2021 event.
During a discussion with Robert Pattinson (Batman) and Zoë Kravitz (Catwoman), Reeves said: “Rob did (his screen test) first by himself, and literally was wearing, I believe Val Kilmer’s Bat-suit. Which by the way, like the moment you put it on, that was kind of a crazy moment.”
Robert Pattinson commented: “That was crazy, but I remember putting it on and thinking that this is impossible – that this is going to be absolutely impossible.”
The impossible that Robert Pattinson is referring to is the notion of trying to act in such a bulky, cumbersome, and incredibly hot costume, and making it all seem workable. The weight and restrictive nature of the costume means it just makes every actor who wears it begin sweating profusely.
Speaking to Reeves, Pattinson said: “I remember we did two takes, and I remember you just saying ‘what can we do about this sweat?’ “And I was like ‘nothing – there’s nothing that can be done. I have to be drained of liquid.’”
But as uncomfortable as that costume was, it really was a case of ‘the clothes making the (Bat)man’, because it ultimately won Robert Pattinson the role. Confirming this to be true, Matt Reeves said: “At the end of that costume test, where you came and you put on the eye make-up, and began the transformation, that moment for me, that was when I was like ‘oh my god, it is so you!’”
So, what does this tell us? Well, it would seem that if you really want to convince someone you are Batman, then you had better put on Kilmer’s costume! How do we know this for sure? Because this isn’t the first time an actor has landed the part of Batman while wearing Val Kilmer’s clothing.
During the early ‘00s, when Christian Bale was auditioning for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Begins, he wore Kilmer’s suit during his own screen test. This helped Bale to bag the role of the Caped Crusader, and the rest is history.
So, if you’re an actor and you’re ever up for the role of Batman in a future DC movie, you know what to do!
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