The Batman director Matt Reeves revealed one of his inspirations for the upcoming movie was the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The two characters made their appearance in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde all the way back in 1886. The novel examines the dual nature of humans through the lens of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with Mr. Hyde representing more of an evil nature and Dr. Jekyll being good.
Indie Wire spoke with Matt Reeves at the Television Critics Association where he explained how Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde inspired his Batman script:
“I think that it’s interesting, because one of the things that I’ve found interesting, just as we’re working on the story, is looking back at Jekyll and Hyde, and the idea of your shadow-self, and the idea of, we are all multiple things. It’s different aspects of who we are, and I think there are times when maybe the surface of Bruce is not really who he is, but that’s his disguise. There are times when Batman’s the disguise, but there are times when his true essence comes out, because by being veiled, a kind of instinctual side comes out that’s very pure.”
Reeves would continue:
“It’s not an easy question to answer, in that I think that we are all made up of so many different aspects of ourselves that make the whole. I don’t know if you could ever reduce anyone to one part of what they express. That’s what’s fun about his character, is that there’s a very bright light that shines on his shadow side. The idea of all of that is incredibly exciting. It’s part of what makes it fun for me to work on.”
I’m digging that answer and the nuance that Reeves uses. It’s not just about whether Batman and Bruce are two separate versions of nature like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it’s about Bruce Wayne and Batman being part of a complex human being. A human being who can be rational and logical, where he meticulously examines a crime scene or maps out a strategy to defeat Superman. But as both Bruce and Batman, and he can also give way to bouts of emotion whether it be anger in the face of Joker or love when he comes face to face with gorgeous Catwoman.
Bruce and Batman are part of the same person, they aren’t separate entities, and it’s good to hear that Matt Reeves understands this.
Reeves previously described his vision for The Batman:
“I’ve talked about making it a very point of view noir-driven definitive Batman story in which he is investigating a particular case and that takes us out into the world of Gotham.”
Matt Reeves continues to say the right things about his upcoming The Batman film. Here’s hoping Warner Bros. gives it the green light and puts it on the fast track.