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Claire Denis Reveals She Almost Directed Robert Pattinson in a Play

"The Batman" derailed Pattinson's plans to tread the boards for his "High Life" director.

"High Life"

“High Life”

A24

When Claire Denis directed Robert Pattinson in the sci-fi drama “High Life,” it was a creative high point for both artists. It was one of several indie films that helped the former “Twilight” star build his arthouse resume, and critics praised the project as some of Denis’ best work in years.

The two have yet to make another film together, but in a recent interview with The Playlist, Denis revealed that they almost collaborated on a stage play. After speaking about her passion for working with actors, Denis was asked if she has considered directing theatre. Not only did she say yes, but she revealed that she was once developing a play that would have starred Pattinson.

“Yeah, I have thought about it,” Denis said. “There was a moment when I was talking about doing something like that with Robert, before he was our Batman.”

Of course, the play was not the only Denis/Pattinson collaboration derailed by “The Batman.” The duo also planned to reteam on “The Stars at Noon,” Denis’ Cannes hit that starred Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn.

“The plan was he would finish ‘The Batman,’ and I’d wait for him, and he’d be free by September of that year,” she said. “That was good for me as well, because it would be the right season in Nicaragua. Then in one moment, COVID came, and Robert was working in London. I couldn’t even go and see him.”

Casting changes weren’t the only setback that Denis had to navigate to make “The Stars at Noon.” Political turmoil in Nicaragua also led to the director losing her preferred location.

“Nicaragua went through a terrible thing: Daniel Ortega, the President, wasn’t supposed to re-present himself in the election,” she said. “But he did, and he isolated Nicaragua even more. So there was an issue, I didn’t know what to do. And Robert was still in the middle of the Batman process at this point, which was a painful moment because I love both Robert Pattinson and Nicaragua a lot.”

Still, Denis was able to regroup and find a way to shoot the film in Panama. While “The Batman” reshoots made it impossible for Pattinson to participate, she found a suitable replacement in Alwyn.

“As soon as I could travel, I went to Panama, and at this time, Robert is still in London playing Batman,” she said. “I must cast someone else, which at first made me feel like I was dying. But I did it! Because Margaret was still there. She is such a young woman, incredibly generous. Same with Robert, who’s the same way — a movie star, and a real person. But most importantly, because of all this, I met someone I really like: Joe [Alwyn].”

It appears that things worked out for everyone, as Denis had plenty of praise for Alwyn. Still, she seems eager to work with Pattinson again, so fans shouldn’t count out another collaboration, whether in cinemas or on stage.

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