While The Batman is treading fairly well worn ground with its title hero having some experience into his career as a superhero detective, its chief villain is another story. Paul Dano’s serial killer take on the Riddler is something of new ground for the green baddie, and it’s a new angle that Dano apparently nearly lost himself in.
Since it’s press time for The Batman, Dano admitted that when the cameras were off, there was some difficulty in stepping away from his evil persona. A particular sequence with Peter Sarsgard’s district attorney character Gil Colson especially rattled him: “There were some nights around that I probably didn’t sleep as well as I would’ve wanted to,” Dano told Entertainment Weekly. Channeling the Riddler is something that took a lot of energy, according to him, and as such, “It was a little hard to come down from this character…you almost have to sustain it once you’re there because going up and down is kind of hard.”
Riddler’s outfit change has been no small topic of discussion on social media, and Dano contributed to the character’s homemade threads. To him, it made sense for the Riddler to cover himself in plastic wrap and avoid leaving evidence at his various crime scenes. Once director Matt Reeves signed off on the idea, they tried it out. The first day with this costume didn’t go so hot — Dano recalled how his head was “throbbing with heat” after he took the mask off, and almost didn’t sleep — but the costume department found a way to allow for more oxygen and make things more comfortable.
Doing a superhero movie has always been on Dano’s bucket list, but he was very much waiting for the right one. What drew him to The Batman was how it truly felt like it came from Reeves’ mind. “I was totally surprised that the script was so good,” he said. “I felt immediately, you could tell that the director was seeing the film that they wrote…it was just very fully conceived.”
It’s an experience that Dano has found a lot of enjoyment in. He admitted to being quite giddy at getting to both film and see the scene where Gotham police and Batman arrest him at a diner. “Seeing what Matt was doing, what the camera was doing, and Rob out the window…It just felt like, ‘F — -, this is making a movie. Like capital M movie.’”
The Batman opens in theatres on March 3.