Entertainment

David S. Goyer Breaks DC Character Mold With Podcast – The Hollywood Reporter

David S. Goyer thought he had scratched his Batman itch for good, however then a novel problem offered itself within the type of the narrative podcast.

Goyer, who’s written for Batman throughout 4 motion pictures and quite a few comedian books, returns to the character by the use of Batman Unburied, a story podcast from Spotify, DC and Warner Bros. The first two episodes have been launched on May 3, and so they’re already rating atop Spotify’s podcast charts within the U.S. and eight different nations.

The story begins in uncharted territory as Bruce Wayne (Winston Duke) is a forensic pathologist who’s investigating a Gotham serial killer generally known as the Harvester. If that premise wasn’t distinctive already, it’s additionally price noting that Thomas (Lance Reddick) and Martha Wayne are nonetheless very a lot alive on this unconventional Batman story.

The Michigan native, who’s most recognized for his writing contributions to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, imposed his personal mandate if he was going to decide to telling one other Batman story.

“It wasn’t a mandate that DC or Spotify gave me. I just wanted to do something I hadn’t done before. So I was interested in coming up with a storyline that had a number of twists and turns in which we pull the rug out from under the audience,” Goyer tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Goyer additionally not too long ago noticed Matt Reeves’ The Batman, a novel scenario, because it was the primary time he’s been in a position to watch a live-action, Batman-centric film that he wasn’t concerned with since Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin (1997). 

“I didn’t know exactly what to expect or what I would think of it. I saw it with a number of my crew members on Foundation, and they were all expecting me to hate it. But I really enjoyed it a lot. I really like [Robert] Pattinson’s Batman, and I like what they did with the Riddler. Reeves is a really good filmmaker, so I was in for the ride,” Goyer says.

In a latest dialog with THR, Goyer additionally mentioned the methods by which he modified his writing model for Batman Unburied’s audio format. Then he seems again at The Dark Knight Rises as its tenth anniversary is correct across the nook. 

You’ve been part of a number of Batman tales through the years. What made you come again to the character on this vogue?

Well, it was two-fold. Spotify really reached out to me and requested if I’d be curious about doing a story podcast, an authentic audio story. I’m a fan of them, and I at all times like experimenting in several mediums and completely different codecs. When I labored on the Call of Duty franchise, as an illustration, I’d by no means labored on a online game earlier than. So the completely different challenges of what every medium requires form of excite me as a creator. When I labored on Vader Immortal, the VR undertaking, I had the same expertise. And it’s the identical right here with an audio authentic. This story, in the event you have been making use of it to comedian books, is like an Elseworlds Batman story, or it’s like one thing we would do with DC’s Black Label. It’s simply extra arduous hitting. Suspense and horror, these issues work rather well within the audio house, and so I used to be curious about doing a Batman story that was extra psychological and verging on horror.

Did you alter your writing model in any respect for the podcast medium? 

The manner that you just cope with exposition is completely different than in the event you have been coping with a purely visible medium. Certain issues like automobile chases or motion scenes don’t actually work nicely within the narrative medium, whereas you may be capable to talk data purely visually in the event you have been doing a tv present or a function. So we had to determine other ways of getting that data throughout both by means of the voice performing or by means of the soundscape and the sound cues. So simply as a inventive technical problem, that me.

There are some actually cool casting selections akin to Lance Reddick as Thomas Wayne. What was the casting philosophy basically?

We had much more liberty with the voice casting than we would have if we have been making a function movie. So after I talked to Spotify, Warner Bros. and DC, I stated that I actually wished to go for some actors who won’t be historically considered to play Batman, the Riddler or Barbara Gordon, and so they have been fully open. In truth, they have been enthusiastic about it, in order that’s how we bought such an extremely thrilling casting. Winston Duke [as Bruce Wayne] was one in every of my first selections. I’m an enormous fan of his and I like what he’s executed. 

The story begins in a novel place as Bruce is a forensic pathologist, and he’s doing an post-mortem to study extra about this serial killer generally known as the Harvester. Was it a prerequisite for you that you just couldn’t start the place most Batman tales start?

Yes, it was for me, nevertheless it wasn’t a mandate that DC or Spotify gave me. They simply stated, “Hey, we want to know if you’d love to come up with a Batman story.” But I’ve written Batman comedian books, and clearly, I’ve labored on no less than 4 Batman motion pictures. (Laughs.) So I simply wished to do one thing I hadn’t executed earlier than. I’ve additionally by no means labored on a Batman serialized streaming or tv present. The final time I handled Batman in an episodic format was within the comedian books, and one of many issues that’s enjoyable with comedian books is which you can mess around with cliffhangers. You can flip over completely different playing cards. So I used to be curious about developing with a storyline that had various twists and turns by which we pull the rug out from beneath the viewers.

One of the issues that’s actually enjoyable about this story is that the first villains who’re pulling the strings behind what’s occurring to Bruce and Batman aren’t instantly obvious within the first few episodes. Even although they exist and seem within the first few episodes, not all is what it appears.

Batman tales are sometimes formed by their villains. How did you arrive at Harvester as a brand new villain who’s first as much as bat?

I used to be curious about seeing if I may discover some completely different members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery. To be frank, I believe if we did the [Harvester] justice within the visible medium, it might most likely get an NC-17 ranking or one thing like that. (Laughs.) So what’s cool if you’re simply doing audio is which you can let the audiences’ creativeness fill within the gaps. And typically, what they fill in is both extra graphic or horrific or disturbing than something we may have provide you with as filmmakers. So that was fascinating.

How else did the medium change your previous method to the character?

Loads of Batman tales are instructed from an goal standpoint. You’re displaying completely different characters as they relate to Batman, and we’re on the surface trying in. But what was fascinating with one thing like that is that you just virtually have to determine methods for Bruce or Batman to relate it. So that enables us a extra inside or extra subjective perspective on the character that we don’t regularly see depicted. Ironically, although, one of many issues that I appreciated about Matt Reeves’ The Batman is that we have been listening to his voice-over diary, which is frankly not one thing that had occurred to me earlier than in that regard. But we have been in a position to sort out that when he’s leaving his lab notes to himself or recording issues. We’re getting his inside observations or we’re listening to him in cellphone conversations or over the radio or issues like that. So as a substitute of being on the surface trying in, this story takes place extra from the within trying outward, and that was a enjoyable alternative for me.

You’ve been concerned with 4 Batman motion pictures since 2005 together with The Dark Knight trilogy and Batman v Superman, so Matt Reeves’ movie was the primary time shortly the place you have been in a position to watch a Batman-centric film like some other fan. Was {that a} rewarding expertise for you?

It was rewarding for me. It’s fascinating as a result of if you learn Batman comics, there are miniseries, graphic novels, Earth One variations, Elseworlds tales and Black Label tales, and all of those completely different writers and artists doing their explicit tackle a Batman story. So, lots of them are fairly completely different and lots of of them are fairly uncommon, and that’s one of many enjoyable components of consuming comedian books. So I simply noticed [The Batman] pretty not too long ago in Prague, and I didn’t know precisely what to anticipate or what I’d consider it. I noticed it with various my crew members on Foundation, and so they have been all anticipating me to hate it. But I actually loved it quite a bit. (Laughs.) It was a enjoyable expertise. I actually like [Robert] Pattinson’s Batman, and I like what they did with the Riddler. Reeves is a extremely good filmmaker, so I used to be in for the trip. 

The promoting level of The Batman was that it confirmed Batman as “the World’s Greatest Detective” for the primary time, which might typically immediate me to remind people who Chris Nolan’s motion pictures definitely had detective parts and sequences in them. So what do you bear in mind about your conversations with Chris concerning how a lot detective materials to incorporate?

It was one thing that we have been conscious of and one thing that we performed round a bit extra in The Dark Knight, specifically. And it was additionally one thing that I used to be curious about exploring with Batman Unburied. He’s not a detective per se, no less than when the story begins, however he’s a forensic pathologist. So the character lies on this intersection between fixing crimes and nonetheless being a medical knowledgeable. The inciting incident that often turns Bruce into Batman is the homicide of his dad and mom, so I used to be curious about exploring what would occur if his dad and mom had by no means been murdered. Would he have gone into crime combating? Would he have gone into the medical area? He most likely wouldn’t have turn into Batman, so no less than on this model, that’s how we arrived at him nonetheless being a detective. He’s simply extra of a forensics detective. But yeah, I used to be curious about exploring his detective facet each in The Dark Knight movies with Chris and on this new story.

Batman motion pictures have most likely gone as darkish as they will probably go with out changing into R-rated theatrical releases. Do you suppose there’ll ultimately be a paradigm shift that leads the character again to a lighter, perhaps even campier tone?

I do. I believe that these tales wax and wane; they’re cyclical. While there could be die-hard comedian guide readers that need to see an R-rated Batman, I don’t know that there’s a mainstream viewers that essentially desires to see an R-rated Batman. I’m curious how for much longer the viewers’s starvation for a totally bleak and nihilistic model of Batman exists on the market. So I do suppose we’ll ultimately swing again the opposite manner. I imply, there will probably be campy variations, there will probably be animated variations, however may there be a extra enjoyable and form of breezy adventurous Batman? I believe we’ll ultimately see that within the subsequent 5 – 6 years. I believe these items are likely to occur in 20-year cycles.

I do know there are extra DC character podcasts within the works, however are you concerned in any of them?

I’m concerned in no less than two others proper now. I don’t need to say what they’re, however one exists within the Batman: Unburied universe and one doesn’t.

The 10-year anniversary of Dark Knight Rises is correct across the nook, and its themes are as related as ever at this time. So how does that film resonate with you now?

When we have been engaged on these movies, it was actually necessary to Chris and myself to hopefully make movies that have been timeless. So as a lot as we have been taking a look at present occasions after we have been writing the movies and developing with the storylines, we have been additionally trying backward and taking inspiration from movies that we cherished 40 or 50 years in the past.

So we requested ourselves why these movies haven’t misplaced any of their luster 40 or 50 years after they’d been made, and what makes one thing a traditional. And as a rule, it’s since you’re coping with timeless themes. You’re coping with the Joseph Campbell fantasy, however you’re additionally not attempting to provide you with a plotline that’s particularly ripped from at this time’s headlines, as a result of these tales have a tendency to not date nicely. So it’s all about what’s traditional, what’s timeless and what are the considerations that each era offers with. Those have been definitely the sorts of questions we requested ourselves after we have been crafting these tales.

I’ve loved a few of the smaller movies you’ve produced not too long ago akin to The Night House and Antlers. Since you’ve principally labored on big tentpoles, how do these experiences examine?

They’re immensely rewarding. That’s why I began doing it with my producing companion, Keith Levine. It’s two-fold. It’s liberating to do a film that doesn’t have a $150 million or $200 million price ticket as a result of, in some methods, you possibly can take extra probabilities. There’s much less at stake economically with a $6 million movie than there’s with a $150 million movie. Not each story requires a $150 million price ticket and never each TV present requires $14 million an episode or one thing loopy like that. The different factor is that I actually like collaborating with filmmakers, writers and administrators, akin to [The Night House director] David Buckner. So hopefully I can lend a few of my expertise to their movie or my title, if it may assist get one thing made. I get simply as a lot pleasure from being a godfather to a undertaking as I do from creating one thing authentic. It’s only a completely different form of pleasure. It scratches a unique form of itch, I’d say.

Interview edited for size and readability. 

Batman Unburied is now airing on Spotify.




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