September 28th, 2021 / 0 comments


Jeffrey Wright spoke to Haute Living about his latest roles and this is what he had to say about The Batman:

“It’s nice to see that Wright’s sense of humor is still intact, especially given the hardships of his last year, and given that there wasn’t much to be found on his last production, The Batman, a concurrent topic throughout all three of our interviews, as it was ongoing. “There was a bit of levity here and there [on that set], but it was a pretty dogged workplace, I have to say. I do my best to kind of undermine the seriousness, but it was reasonably pressurized. Still, I think we managed it pretty well. We did what we had to do, and we were there to do it.”

That included much more strict Covid-19 protocols. No one outside the cast or crew was allowed to do a drive-by on set. Each person was tested every single day, and N95 masks were required by everyone at all times, outside of the actors filming a particular scene. There were ten-minute breaks for ventilation, which prolonged the process, and very controlled movements around the studio. Entirely new facilities were built to mitigate the spread of the virus, and each actor had his or her individual pod to do hair and makeup.

And the hard work paid off; the production was safe post-Pattinson testing positive, and the film has managed to stay relatively under wraps. Just like its cast and crew, in a sense. “I have not seen Matt Reeves’, our director’s, face since March of last year. He was fully covered and protecting himself, because he has that responsibility on his shoulders,” Wright says.

While some parts of The Batman were a nightmare, others were a complete dream. “I think [this film had] the X factor, which was being unified around a common purpose,” Wright says, adding, “The thing we haven’t seemed to crack here in the States, and in certain parts of the U.K., even now, is that idea of being unified against this pathogen, so it was gratifying to recognize that we were all in it together — we were united around this thing — and we looked after one another and got through it together, at least on that set.” He hastens to add, “I don’t think I would like to do another film in that way, but we got through it together.”

We can’t say we’re surprised. Life imitates art sometimes, no? The film revolves around Batman’s second year of fighting crime and rallying the citizens of Gotham City against the corruption around them. They, too, are in it together.

The film, like so many of Wright’s projects, boasts a truly fabulous all-star cast that also includes Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis and Colin Farrell. And while there’s been a big to-do about the decision to cede previous Batman Ben Affleck’s cape and cowl to Pattinson, it isn’t the only casting choice fans are buzzing about: much has been made of Wright being cast as the first Black Commissioner James “Jim” Gordon in the DC Comics universe. Which, quite frankly, he finds to be asinine. He hasn’t reinvented the wheel, and he doesn’t feel this is a conversation we should be having in the 21st century.

“If you give it a little bit of thought, Batman and the characters within Gotham City are fluid, evolving creatures,” he says. “It would be doing a disservice, in fact, to these stories and to the history if we were actually beholden to the details of the original. When Shakespeare wrote female characters, they were written to be played by young boys. Are we to hold on to that tradition now in the 21st century because that was the limited lane that people were allowed at the time? It’s ridiculous. Beyond that, Gordon is many things. He’s relative to Gotham City, to the Gotham City police department, to Batman, to justice and to corruption — and none of those things require that he be white.”

He continues, “There have been some who I think have made more of it than they probably should, which I think reveals some deficiency [in our country]. In its first iteration in 1939, Gotham City was fashioned after an American metropolis much like New York City or Chicago. In 1939, New York was 90 percent white. The power structure in law enforcement in that city at that time would not have been inclusive of someone who looked like me; that’s the historical fact. But as these stories have continually evolved over these many decades, not only through the comics but also through the films, they’ve been reinterpreted through writers, directors and actors to be more contemporary to the times than they were made. Right now, if we were to imagine a Gotham City based on an American metropolis, to think of it as a place that’s only inhabited by white people is to be pretty idiotic. To be beholden to the demographic reality of 1939 urban America — what the f–k is the purpose of that?”

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Thanks for the heads up The Art of the Batman

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