The Batman star Paul Dano says playing the upcoming film’s sadistic villain took its toll on him in more ways than one, as the actor admitted the demanding role caused him to lose sleep.
Although Dano described director Matt Reeves’ take on the iconic villain as “more real [and] potentially more terrifying” than past live-action portrayals, there were other aspects of the role he recalled disturbing his sleep, such as the high energy levels the character demanded. “There were some nights around that I probably didn’t sleep as well as I would’ve wanted to just because it was a little hard to come down from this character,” Dano said during an interview with IndieWire. “It takes a lot of energy to get there. And so you almost have to sustain it once you’re there because going up and down is kind of hard.”
Another culprit of Dano’s occasional insomnia was the Riddler’s costume, whose gloves, goggles, jacket and cold weather mask all took a physical toll on the actor as well, with Dano going on to describe the relief that came with taking off the costume, saying, “My head was just throbbing with heat. I went home that night, after the first full day in that, and I almost couldn’t sleep because I was scared of what was happening to my head. It was like compressed from the sweat and the heat and the lack of oxygen. It was a crazy feeling.”
As opposed to the Riddlers’ more outlandish looks in the past, the Riddler’s heavily garbed design in The Batman was likely a result of Reeves taking a hyper-real approach to the film’s depiction of Gotham City. In fact, Reeves has even revealed the Riddler is based on a real serial killer. “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,” Reeves said. “These are supposedly legitimate figures. It begins with the mayor, and then it escalates from there… 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.”
Reeves has also elaborated on how Dano’s Riddler will realistically approach Gotham’s social media to spread his message and taunt the city’s Dark Knight. “I was thinking okay, so [Riddler] wouldn’t write to the Chronicle the way that Zodiac did,” Reeves explained. “He would start using social media, because that’s what it would be, and this idea of the kind of viral communication, I just wanted it to be very much of our world. That’s kind of how that came about.”
See Dano become the Riddler when The Batman hits theaters March 4.
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