The coronavirus pandemic has put nearly every major studio production on an indefinite hiatus, but the Hollywood shutdown hits closer to home for “The Batman” director Matt Reeves than it does for other filmmakers. Andrew Jack, a Hollywood dialect coach who worked on and even appeared briefly in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (as General Ematt, the silver-haired Resistance commander gazing through binoculars before the final battle) passed away in late March at age 76 due to complications from the coronavirus. Jack’s final movie is now “The Batman,” Reeves’ upcoming tentpole starring Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight. Warner Bros. put “The Batman” production on hiatus in mid-March, a couple weeks before Jack’s death was confirmed. Reeves paid tribute on Twitter at the time, calling Jack a “kind man” and “a legend,” but he opened up more on losing his crew member in a new interview with The Daily Beast.
“It has been a really hard time, because one of our crew members out here actually got the virus and died,” Reeves said. “It’s been a very heartbreaking time. It’s one of those moments when you take stock of things, I think the way everyone is, because suddenly their lives are on hold, and they know people that are getting ill, and some people are getting very ill and dying. It’s very scary. It makes you really think about what matters.”
Reeves continued, “Of course, there’s a part of me that’s frustrated that we were in the midst of this movie. But at the same time, I really think priorities are such that you’re like, hey, the one thing we don’t want to do is put anyone at risk. We want to make sure everyone is going to be as safe as they possibly can be. That’s why we shut down, and obviously, it was the right thing to do. That’s why everyone’s shut down.”
Reeves had shot a quarter of “The Batman” by the time production was suspended indefinitely. The filmmaker told Deadline last week he would not be tinkering with the script while on hiatus from filming. The only thing Reeves is doing is going through footage and studying the tone so that he can maintain a sense of continuity through the remaining scenes and set pieces that need to be filmed.
“It happens any time you shoot anything,” Reeves said. “The unexpected — happy accidents and things you didn’t quite expect: That is the lightning in a bottle for something that is alive. I would say that the changes really have to do with ‘Oh, seeing the tone of this’ with these scenes we haven’t done which connect to that part of the storyline. It feels like there might be an opportunity to explore some of that unexpected tone that we found.”
Warner Bros. has set a June 25, 2021 release date for “The Batman.”