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Andy Serkis Talks “The Batman” Darkness

The tone of Batman both in the comics and on screen has frequently changed over the years, and those changes are usually what leads to debate between fans over each incarnation’s worthiness.

Some are set rigidly in their ways and so to them Batman must be serious and realistic (ala Nolan), or gritty and brutal (ala Snyder), or gothic and twisted (ala Burton), or highly stylised and comic booky (ala Arkham games). The material is so sacrosanct that it must be respected with a self-serious tone.

Others have no problem being a bit more flexible, embracing a variety of tones added to that mix from the 1960s show’s goofiness, to the viciously dark high camp of “Gotham,” to the brilliant noir detective tales of the original “Batman: The Animated Series”.

Across all of them though, bar maybe the Adam West series, the one thing associated with the property is darkness and it hasn’t been afraid to go there. The brutal civil unrest and domestic terrorism of the Nolan films, the kinky S&M elements of “Batman Returns,” even “Gotham” dealt with a face peeling Joker, a serial killer turning people into meat pies, and a child appearing to be blown up to initiate gang warfare.

Now though, actor Andy Serkis has revealed that the new “The Batman” film from director Matt Reeves apparently goes even darker. Serkis, who plays Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth in the film, tells LAD Bible this week he was “literally half way through shooting my part in it when we got shut down.” Asked if will be darker and broodier than previous incarnations, Serkis says: “I would say that’s not far from the truth”.

He also says the film will have a new emotional center to the story and Alfred is a key part of it, along with the fact that he had to find his own version of the character:

“It’s very much about the emotional connection between Alfred and Bruce. That’s really at the centre of it. And it is a really exquisite script that Matt has written.

He [Caine] was fantastic. His Alfred was legendary, I couldn’t even begin to go there, really. You find it for yourself. It’s like playing these iconic roles in Shakespeare, you go back, you revisit them and you have to make it your own, and see what it is about the character that connects with you and your personal venn diagram.”

The comments come as Batman made the news earlier this week via a profile piece on “Batman Forever” star Val Kilmer in The New York Times. Kilmer says he decided to quit the role after Warren Buffet and his family visited the set and his kids didn’t want to talk to Kilmer but rather wanted to try on the mask and play with the Batmobile. It made Kilmer realise anyone could be under the mask: “That’s why it’s so easy to have five or six Batmans. It’s not about Batman. There is no Batman.”

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