The Batman and War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves points out the striking parallels between Bruce Wayne and Caesar. After making his feature film directorial debut in 1996 with the Gwyneth Paltrow-David Schwimmer romantic comedy The Pallbearer, Reeves moved to TV, where he honed his skills directing such character dramas as Homicide: Life on the Street, and Felicity. The latter was co-created by Reeves and prolific producer J.J. Abrams, who in turn convinced Reeves to jump back into feature films in 2008 to direct the modern monster classic Cloverfield. Six years later, Reeves directed his biggest movie yet with the blockbuster sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
And while Reeves was already busy on War for the Planet of the Apes – the third film in the Twentieth Century Fox reboot – Warner Bros. came calling when Ben Affleck backed out of directing the upcoming DCEU movie The Batman. Taking on two major franchise films at once seems like a tall order for any director, no matter how talented he or she is, but to Reeves it was a rare opportunity to do films involving the two very characters that helped define him during his childhood.
In a new interview with the Los Angeles Daily News, Reeves explains that while the Apes and Batman movies exist in two different genres, Bruce Wayne (Affleck) and Caesar (Andy Serkis in motion capture) are more similar than people think. Reeves says:
“It’s a strange thing to be involved in the two franchises which were the two that I was connected to most as a child. I just was obsessed with Batman when I was a kid. What I find so interesting about him as a character is that, as far a superhero goes, he’s not superhuman, he is a person. And he is a tortured soul who is grappling with his past and trying to find a way to be in a world that has a lot that’s wrong with it and trying to find a way to reconcile all of that … That is a really powerful character, in the same way that Caesar is such a powerful character.”
Since Reeves has already proven to be an effective storyteller with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the odds are in his favor to construct another emotionally compelling action tale with War for the Planet of the Apes. And while The Batman is Reeves’ first superhero film, he’s shown with Cloverfield and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that not only does he have the wherewithal to direct exciting action sequences, he can emotionally engage fans by creating characters (human or simian) that people care for at the same time.
Having a love for the Dark Knight since he was a child will certainly aid Reeves when he dives into making The Batman – which he reportedly has creative control over – and his keen sensibilities of balancing action and character will only help enhance the future DCEU entry. While Reeves clearly gets what makes Bruce Wayne/Batman tick, it’s exciting to know that he’ll have a talented actor like Affleck (Gone Baby Gone, Argo) at the ready to help give fans the richly complex character they deserve.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Wonder Woman release date: Jun 2, 2017
Justice League release date: Nov 17, 2017
Aquaman release date: Dec 21, 2018