DC is set to expand its animation slate by introducing DC League of Super-Pets, a movie headlined by a stellar cast that includes Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kevin Hart, Keanu Reeves, Natasha Lyonne, and John Krasinksi. The upcoming film will revolve around Krypto, Superman's dog, uniting a team of super-powered pets to help free the Justice League after being captured by Lex Luthor and an evil guinea pig named Lulu.
Of course, the DC superhero movie wouldn't be complete without the Justice League. The film features a familiar lineup of heroes, with Superman and Batman leading the charge. Krasinski is voicing Superman while Reeves is portraying the Super-Pets' Caped Crusader.
Given that DC has featured a plethora of Batmen through the years, most recently featuring Robert Pattinson in The Batman, many fans are wondering how Reeves' portrayal would be different. Now, in an exclusive sitdown with The Direct, the film's director explained how this animated Batman would stand out.
Keanu Reeves' 'Different' Batman Explained
In an exclusive interview with The Direct, DC League of Super-Pets director Jared Stern explained how Keanu Reeves' portrayal of the film's animated Batman is different from other versions of the Dark Knight.
Stern first pointed out that "it's a real challenge" to find the right Batman for the movie, especially after the "animated funny" version from the LEGO Movie and LEGO Batman Movie:
“Yeah, that's a great question. You know, having worked on, especially LEGO Batman, it's a real challenge. There's already been just recently an awesome animated funny Batman. So I just wanted to do something different for this film. And I think the LEGO Batman is [a] very confident guy. Suave, you know, he's the guy that Emmett [LEGO Movie], the love of his life, Lucy Wildstyle, he’s the guy that you don't want to be dating a woman who you like, right? He hangs out with the guys from Star Wars. He's just super cool, Will Arnett. So we knew we wanted to go a different way.
When asked why the John Wick actor was the right choice for Super-Pets' version of Batman, Stern revealed that Reeves fits the role perfectly since his voice is perfect for someone that is "a little bit haunted by his past" but "deep down a good guy who could use a dog:"
"And so we thought our Batman is haunted. You know, he's a, he's just sort of a little bit lost in this kind of crazy eyes. And he's still Batman. He still kicks butt, but he's still an awesome superhero. But he's just, he's seen some stuff in his life. And most importantly, for our movie, he's a guy that could really use a pet. And so Keanu [Reeves] fits so perfectly for that his voice just was so right for this guy that's a little bit off. A little bit haunted by his past. But deep down a good guy who could use a dog.”
From the get-go, Stern and the film's crew knew that Reeves was "going to be great" for the role. In addition, the Matrix actor approached his Batman voice for the role by channeling the character's "haunted" past:
"I'm a huge Batman fan. I love the new Batman movie. And so that was a fun take as sort of this Noir-ish detective take was really cool. And, yeah, so our guy is just sort of, as I as I was saying, He's haunted. So, he was haunted by what happened to his parents. And as a child, he fell into a well, this is a guy who has been sort of scarred. And so he has a thousand-yard stare. And, and I don't know, just Keanu's voice, when we're testing stuff out, we knew he was going to be great. But sometimes, we'll play the actors’ voices against the image, and it just fits perfectly."
The Internship screenwriter continued by explaining how Reeves' passion for comic books carried over to the film's recording session:
"And then when he came in, it was even better. And, he just he felt to me, like a guy who, ever since he was a kid, he's a huge comic book fan himself, he makes comic books. And so he was just like, ‘I get to be Batman,’ what kid hasn't dreamt of that, and then he was living that moment. He really loved it and just kind of got lost in it. And, you know an actor's having a good time when you're recording with them when they want to go back. Like, you know, if they're kind of ready to be done with it, and you tell them ‘Okay, I think we got it ready, to move on to the next time.’ They're like, ‘Okay, next slide.’ But I felt like he kept on going back and that relaxed me because I was like, okay, he's having fun. He's like, ‘I got a better idea.’ I think you're gonna do a little better than that. Or what if I said this? So, when that happens, you’re like, ‘Okay, he's having fun.’ And I always want the actors to be having a good time. It comes through into performance, and you want people to have a good time you work with.”
Will Keanu Reeves Ever Play a Live-Action Batman?
Batman was only seen briefly in some of the trailers for DC League of Super-Pets so director Jared Stern's latest comments managed to shed some light on the character's backstory in the movie.
The director's description of his Batman being "haunted" suggests that the hero will hesitate at first about adopting Kevin Hart's Ace, considering the trauma from the death of his parents. Ultimately, Stern's hint that Batman is the kind of person "who could use a dog" indicates that Gotham's protector will eventually give in and adopt Ace at the film's ending.
Moreover, it is unknown how much will Reeves' Batman be involved in action sequences, but the director promised that the character "still kicks butt" in the movie. That said, it's likely that a team-up between Batman and Ace will be featured in the closing moments of the film.
Keanu Reeves' dream of becoming Batman came true when he was tapped to portray the animated version of the Dark Knight in DC League of Super-Pets. However, playing the character in live-action is an entirely different ballgame.
Reeves almost portrayed Batman in 1995's Batman Forever, but he turned it down. In a recent interview, Reeves expressed interest in portraying a live-action Dark Knight, but he acknowledged that Robert Pattinson is "doing awesome" now:
"It's always been a dream, but [Robert] Pattinson's got Batman right now and he's doing awesome, so maybe down the road. Maybe when they need an older Batman."
Despite that, Reeves' passion for Batman will likely translate toward his on-screen portrayal, and this animated movie could serve as a good audition if DC decides to hire an older Batman that the actor can pull off down the line.
DC League of Super-Pets premieres in theaters on Friday, July 29.