» The Batman » is reminiscent of David Fincher’s masterful crime thriller » Seven » in terms of content and style, while the masked Riddler with his torture traps seems to have escaped most closely from a «Saw»-brand horror film. All the more surprising that this isn’t the main inspiration for the character. While director Matt Reeves wrote The Batman for Paul Dano as the Riddler, he had the actor’s other film in mind: the Beach Boys biopic Love & Mercy .
Studio Canal Paul Dano as Brian Wilson in «Love & Mercy»
In Love & Mercy, Paul Dano plays Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson in his younger days (although the older version of the character is portrayed by John Cusack ). Danos Wilson struggles with mental health issues in «Love & Mercy» and this is where Reeves saw the parallels to the Riddler in «The Batman»:
“This character [ie, Paul Wilson] is caught up in her art and struggles to communicate with the people around her. It was spiritually connected to the isolation that the Riddler feels,» Matt Reeves told The Hollywood Reporter in a portrait of Paul Dano.
If you are interested in «Love & Mercy»: the film is currently available free of charge on Amazon Prime Video as part of the Prime Video Channel Arthouse+. You can test Arthouse+ for 14 days for free:
» «Love & Mercy» on Amazon Prime Video *
«The Riddler is a product of our times, people are becoming lonely with the Internet and retreating into intellectual pursuits as a substitute for real contact,» Reeves continued. The director is probably referring to the fact that the Riddler and his fanatical followers are clearly based on misanthropic movements and ideologies that actually exist in our world .
The Riddler: Not a real villain?
Still, it’s important to Reeves that the Riddler isn’t seen as a mere villain — and that’s why he saw Dano as the ideal cast. Dano is quirky and approachable in just the right way, which allowed Reeves to give the character the depth it needed. «I didn’t want [the Riddler] to be a villain. Even in its darkness I still wanted to see the human.”
You can be sure of Paul Dano’s performance as Riddler in «The Batman» in German cinemas since March 3, 2022. You can hear how we liked the film and Dano in our podcast Love the Screen:
*The link to the Amazon offer is a so-called affiliate link. If you make a purchase through this link, we will receive a commission.