The Batman director Matt Reeves is breaking down how Martin Scorsese’s film Taxi Driver and Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli’s graphic novel Batman: Year One influenced his movie.
Reeves was discussing some of the challenges of juggling the many identities of Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne / Batman — in a practical and grounded way — in Dolby’s Sound + Vision Lab podcast.
To draw inspiration, Reeves turned to the classic Dark Knight origin story, in which he also found a connection to a classic 1970s neo-noir film.
“There was something in my deep dives going back to the Frank Miller / [David] Mazzucchelli [Batman:] Year One and in it, there’s a moment before he becomes Batman where Bruce Wayne goes to the [Gotham City’s] east end,” Reeves explained.
The moment in question appears in a special release of the book, and mentions Travis Bickle, Robert DeNiro’s character from Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.
“And he’s dressed kind of as this drifter. And in the notes in the commemorative edition, you can see that Frank Miller wrote to Mazzucchelli and he said, ‘in it, ‘Bruce looks like he just won the Travis Bickle look-alike contest.’ And so he’s wearing this sort of like drifter outfit. And I was like, oh we could use that!” Reeves said.
Pattinson does sport a very disheveled-looking “drifter” outfit in the film, consisting of basic street clothes and a scarf to cover his face, which he uses to spy, creepily, on Zoë Kravitz’ Selina Kyle at one point — in order to “gather clues,” let’s say. The scene is especially interesting, because it parallels a moment earlier on in the movie, in which Paul Dano’s Riddler is spying from afar on his next victim. Such behavior definitely seems like something that wouldn’t be out of character for demented vigilante Travis Bickle, the antagonistic, pimp-murdering protagonist of Scorsese’s masterpiece.
The Batman is in theaters now.