THE BATMAN Director Matt Reeves Explains How The Riddler Was Inspired By Real-Life Zodiac Killer

The Batman director Matt Reeves has confirmed that he drew inspiration from the real-life Zodiac Killer for Paul Dano's Riddler, while Robert Pattinson praises the filmmaker's vision for the Dark Knight.

While The Batman will clearly be as grounded as Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, it still feels like a very different beast. For starters, director Matt Reeves appears to have abandoned many of the familiar trappings (a technologically advanced Batcave and larger than life villains) for a Caped Crusader who, like his comic book counterpart, is known as the World's Greatest Detective.

Talking to Movie Maker, star Robert Pattinson praised the filmmaker for committing to the idea.

"In the first meeting, he was saying, we want to lean into the ‘world’s greatest detective aspect,’ and be a detective noir movie. And, you know, normally when directors say that, they just do like a mood board, and it’s just about the imagery. But I read the script, and it is! It’s a detective movie. It happens all the time in the graphic novels, but it’s always kind of on the backburner in the movies."

Pitting Batman against a twisted killer like The Riddler should give the Dark Knight ample opportunity to demonstrate his powers of deduction, and Reeves confirmed that the real-life Zodiac Killer was a key source of inspiration for this take on the classic comic book villain.

"The premise of the movie is that the Riddler is kind of molded in an almost Zodiac Killer sort of mode, and is killing very prominent figures in Gotham, and they are the pillars of society," the filmmaker teases. "These are supposedly legitimate figures. It begins with the mayor, and then it escalates from there. And in the wake of the murders, he reveals the ways in which these people were not everything they said they were, and you start to realize there’s some kind of association."

"And so just like Woodward and Bernstein, you’ve got Gordon and Batman trying to follow the clues to try and make sense of this thing in a classic kind-of-detective story way," he concludes.

It's probably inevitable that comparisons will be made to movies like Zodiac and Se7en, but providing Reeves brings enough new ideas to the table, that shouldn't matter too much. Ultimately, that will boil down to how clever and compelling the mystery at the heart of The Batman is, but based on these comments from Reeves and Pattinson, it sounds like we're in store for one heck of a ride.

The Batman is set to be released in theaters on March 4.

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