Robert Pattinson is set to join an exclusive club that includes the likes of Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck.
The former Twilight actor, who has emerged in recent years as a respected actor in indie films, is in talks to take over the role of Batman in the next movie in the franchise, to be titled The Batman, Variety reported Thursday night. Pattinson’s participation is “not yet a done deal,” the report said, but the deal is expected to get done.
Shortly after the Variety piece was published, Deadline reported that while Pattinson is on the “short list” to play Batman in the film, Nicholas Hoult is also under consideration for the part.
The film will be directed by Matt Reeves, who is best known as the director of Let Me In and both Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes.
The Batman, part of the DC Extended Universe, has been in development for several years. Ben Affleck, who played Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, was originally scheduled to both return as Batman and direct the film, but eventually dropped out of both, with Reeves announced the director in early 2017.
Pre-production is expected to start this summer on the film, which has a tentative release date in the summer of 2021. Pattinson, who is 32, is the youngest actor to ever be cast as Batman in a movie. He is also set for an untitled movie from another past director in the Batman franchise, Christopher Nolan, which is scheduled to come out in 2020. Pattinson most recently drew positive reviews for his role in High Life, an artsy sci-fi film directed by the French auteur Claire Denis.
Reeves said in a 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he saw the film as “an almost noir-driven detective version of Batman,” although now that two years have passed it’s unclear if that’s still the plan.
The announcement of the new Batman film comes at a time of flux for the DCEU franchise. The last two releases, 2018’s Aquaman and 2019’s Shazam, were both hits, and both departures from the tone of the earlier films: Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Justice League, which were directed by Zack Snyder.
Also coming up in the DC Extended Universe film series are Joker, with Joaquin Phoenix, which arrives this October, followed by Birds of Prey in early 2020, the Wonder Woman sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, in June of 2020, as well as another untitled release in April of 2020. A sequel to Suicide Squad is set to follow in 2021, with a sequel to Aquaman scheduled to release in 2022.