The Batman: Paul Dano Discussed His Transformation as The Riddler

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The Batman’s big terrifying villain, The Riddler, will be played by Golden Globe nominee, Paul Dano, who will be making his debut in his first-ever superhero film as a villain. Dano discussed how he crafted the terrifying villain and how playing the character gave him some ‘sleepless nights.’

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“There were some nights around that I probably didn’t sleep as well as I would’ve wanted to just because it was a little hard to come down from this character,” Dano said. “It takes a lot of energy to get there. And so you almost have to sustain it once you’re there because going up and down is kind of hard.” Dano explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Dano then added, “What I felt was the opportunity that Matt (Reeves) was giving with a villain in this film was more real, potentially more terrifying.”

Crafting The Riddler wasn’t very easy for Dano’s mental and physical health. The actor was completely restless after he himself suggested to director Matt Reeves that he should cover himself with plastic wrap since the serial killer he is portraying would go extreme measures to not leave any evidence or DNA in the crime scene.

“My head was just throbbing with heat,” Dano said of taking off the Riddler costume. “I went home that night, after the first full day in that, and I almost couldn’t sleep because I was scared of what was happening to my head. It was like compressed from the sweat and the heat and the lack of oxygen. It was a crazy feeling.”

Reeves also revealed that the inspiration for The Riddler came from the real-life Zodiac Killer who have murdered citizens in the 60s and even up to this date, the killer’s identity was still unknown. Dano still had his own strategy of portraying the character.

“I always felt instinctually that the Riddler is just so much more than that in terms of his intent and purpose, so I didn’t get too into the Zodiac Killer, frankly,” Dano said. “One thing Matt and I spoke about immediately was the two sides of trauma. Bruce Wayne, as a child, experiences this trauma and the Batman is born of that. Sometimes we can take our scars or whatever you want to call it, and that can be fuel for a fire that drives one towards greatness at times. There’s another side of that coin, where those traumas, scars, and pains drive you in another direction. And I thought that was really powerful in the script. I thought that the sense of good and evil was not as black and white as it often is in a superhero film. And I thought those gray areas were really exciting.”

The actor continued, “The flip side of that is that by withholding the Riddler, he had more power, he was more unsettling. He felt like a ghost throughout the whole movie, this kind of presence that you never knew where he would show up and how he was affecting things. And that that mystery would put Batman in a very vulnerable position because he didn’t understand from where and how and what the Riddler was acting.”

Even with the extremity of developing his character, Dano still enjoyed playing his character and starring in the new reboot of The Batman film. “It’s funny to be in something that has this much fan culture and fervor around it,” Dano said. “And to my surprise, I’m really enjoying it. Seeing what Matt was doing, what the camera was doing, and Rob out the window…It just felt like, ‘F—, this is making a movie. Like capital M movie.'”


Paul Dano’s performance in his last film, Prisoners was really phenomenal and quickly categorized him as an A-list actor. In The Batman, we will more of him as a psychotic, terrifying villain who will antagonize Gotham City and Robert Pattinson’s The Batman.

The Batman is set to hit theaters on March 4, 2022.

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