Robert & Nicholas: the acting duel

Lainey Posted by Lainey at June 5, 2019 14:33:44 June 5, 2019 14:33:44

We had a lot of fun here a couple of weeks ago and then again last week over the casting drama for The Batman. In the end, as we know, Robert Pattinson was confirmed to be the next Bruce Wayne. But there was a curious back and forth between him and Nicholas Hoult that played out in real time that made the situation a lot more interesting. 

To recap, Variety broke the news on May 16 that Robert was locked in. And the world reacted. But then a couple of other outlets chimed in and were like…he’s definitely on the shortlist, but it’s a list of two – and the other person is Nicholas Hoult. Which turned out to be true, because 10 days later, it was reported that they were both asked to screen test. Like a proper acting duel! An acting duel! Why can’t we get this movie instead? 

Eventually Robert Pattinson did secure the role. But, seriously, what was with all the “he’s in, he’s not in, he’s in again” business? The Hollywood Reporter published a piece yesterday about how the entire casting process was actually “notably smooth”. Sure. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is damage control but, at the same time, I don’t know that this is how they would have wanted it to play out, with all these leaks and conflicting information. 

As for what actually happened – according to THR, writer and director Matt Reeves had Robert in mind when he was still working on the script, because he knew he wanted someone around 30 years old. He supposedly never talked to RP about it, nor did he even know if RP wanted to be involved in such a heatscore of a project but, clearly, they’re trying to redirect the narrative now, framing Robert as The One all along, as Nicholas only came up as an option after Matt saw The Favourite and the studio didn’t mind too much, at the time, that he was associated with X-Men. RP’s advantage there, though, is that he’s not associated with anything comic book related and enough time has now passed since Twilight, given the body of work he built after playing Edward Cullen. 

So, after news broke that RP had won the part (the first time), the two actors were asked to screen test back to back in costume. Robert flew to LA right after appearing in Cannes, put on the batsuit, and became the guy. 

Do you think Robert and Nicholas called or texted each other before, after, or during this …contest? Can we call it a contest? Two people were competing over the same thing. I think it’s fair to call it a contest, non? Will we ever find out? 

If you want to build a conspiracy around this – is it possible that they really wanted Robert all along but put it out there that he’d had to beat Nicholas Hoult for it to make RP look even better? That he balled up and got dirty, that he dueled for it, and came out the victor? If you’re Nicholas Hoult, and you believe this conspiracy theory, do you feel played? 

How would this have played out differently if this had been two women competing over the same part? Would there have been headlines manufactured from Radar Online or In Touch about screaming matches and backstabbing? Sarah wondered initially whether the whole mix-up in the reporting may have been from RP’s camp floating the story out there to claim territory, like a dog pissing on a tree – which is actually a thing that happens in this business. She was just speculating but the whole thing was handled with such civility, you’d think, if you didn’t know any better, that Hollywood was no longer a cutthroat environment, LOL. 

Here’s another detail to consider where Robert and Batman and Warner Bros are concerned. RP is currently working on Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. Christopher Nolan has Batman history and a long history of his own with WB. That had to be a bonus in RP’s favour too – not only was Matt Reeves a fan of his work but he’s undoubtedly endorsed by Christopher Nolan. And now RP joins the likes of Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio as a Warner Bros boy. 

Also attached - Nicholas Hoult at Kimmel last night to promote Dark Phoenix. 

Photos:
Backgrid, Amanda Edwards/ RB/ Gotpap/ Bauer-Griffin/ Antony Jones/ Getty Images

Previous Article Next Article