If you’ve been on the internet lately, you likely know that The Batman is coming out this weekend. The Bat and the Cat—Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz respectively—have gotten a lot of attention and coverage for the film.
Paul Dano, the Riddler himself, is now also getting some additional media attention with a profile in The Hollywood Reporter. During his conversation with THR, Dano shared how he approached portraying his majorly messed-up character in Matt Reeves’ noir detective take on Batman.
Very mild spoilers for Dano’s the Riddler lie below.
The Riddler commits a lot of very planned-out murders in The Batman, and Dano want his character’s look to reflect that. “The thoroughness of this person, the almost maniacal detail that he puts into plotting—I was like, ‘Okay, well, should I just shave all my body hair? So there’s no evidence?’” Dano said to THR.
Dano (whose last name rhymes with Draino, by the way) ended up going another route and decided to wrap his head in Saran wrap and then put on a U.S. Army winter combat mask that effectively covered up the rest of his visage. Reeves loved the look and thought the Saran wrap made the Riddler all the more terrifying (and as someone who has seen the movie, I assure you, it does).
Acting in Saran wrap, however, is no easy feat. “Paul takes off the mask, his head, his face is beet red,” Reeves told THR about the effect of the thin plastic film enshrouding Dano’s noggin. “The heat can’t escape. I was like, ‘Okay, all right, Paul, let’s rethink this. You don’t have to do this.’ He goes, ‘No, man, I told you that I wanted to do it. I’ll do it.’”
Dano’s level of commitment isn’t that surprising given the actor’s track record in other movies including There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine, and the Beach Boys film Love & Mercy. It was his performance as Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, in fact, that attracted Reeves to Dano in the first place.
“That character, he’s caught up in his artistry and he struggles to communicate with those around him,” Reeves said. “That was spiritually connected to the idea of this isolation that the Riddler felt. The Riddler is a product of our time, the way that people become isolated online and retreat to mental activities that substitute for not having contact…Paul is just off center in a way that makes him very relatable. I didn’t want this character to be a villain. Even in his darkness, I wanted to see that humanity.”
You can see Dano’s performance as the Riddler when The Batman hits theaters on March 4, 2022.