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Tuesday, October 25, 2022 

More about Paul Dano's new Riddler comic

Gentleman's Quarterly interviewed actor Paul Dano, who's spent the past year writing his new Riddler comic, based on the performer's role in The Batman movie of this year, which, unfortunately, symbolizes the problem with Hollywood Bill Maher and Joe Rogan have complained about of recent:
The weariness comes in part from the fact that Dano has spent most mornings of the past year with his most recent serial killer, writing a real-live comic book, The Riddler: Year One. Dano’s principal preparation for any role is to figure out, as best he can, how his character “gets to page one.” For The Batman, he’d put so much thought into the Riddler’s backstory that the film’s director, Matt Reeves, set up a call with DC Comics, which hired Dano to write his own book.

For the first half of 2022, Dano gave himself entirely over to *The Riddler: Year One—*which he describes as “an emotional horror story about trauma,” partially inspired by one of his favorite graphic novels, Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. “One of the gifts of the pandemic is that I developed a writing practice that I never had before,” Dano says. Though he and Kazan co-wrote the script for Dano’s directorial debut, Wildlife, Dano says he doesn’t consider himself a writer like Kazan, who has several play and screen credits to her name.

[...] The Batman experience scaled in a way Dano previously hadn’t experienced. It was not just the largest-budget film he’d worked on, or the longest production, but the first taste of how much people care about this stuff. “When it was said I was going to do that part, I never received that many texts, phone calls, emails,” he says. On set, he submerged himself into the epic cache of production materials. They’d give Dano hard copies of all the renderings: “Don’t lose this. Put it in your ‘special binder.’ ” He’d seen other ways of keeping secret materials secure. “But this was the first time I had a binder with a locking code on it. Then they added a tracking device.”
When somebody says themes like these have influenced him, including, but surely not limited to, Miller's would-be classic writings, that's cause for worry. Because at this point, it's all these Hollyweirdos seem to care about. Most hugely disappointing.
Dano is in Southern California this weekend to present the first pages of his book at Comic-Con, in San Diego. Drafting off the excitement of revealing the project to fans for the first time, he suggests we swing by Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue, where he shows me some inspirations for his own book. As we stroll the aisles, he seems to me like a self-aware amateur athlete, who lives to play ball but doesn’t harbor delusions of turning pro. The process reminds him, in part, of his experience behind the camera, as a director, on Wildlife: “This image we shot, I could love it, like tangibly.” In a small way, he says, “This comic feels like my next film.”
One can only wonder if in time, that's exactly what'll happen, much like Keanu Reeves wrote up a comic titled BRZRKR, all for the sake of producing something to build a movie off of. No wonder modern moviemaking is such a joke.
“I would have been less ready to do a film like The Batman when I was 25,” Dano says. “I think I would really have had a hard time doing all the press and getting recognized. And I can handle that now. The biggest difference now is that I want it more clearly, frankly. Like: I want to be an artist, and I want to be an actor, I want to be a director, I really want to make my next film. And, um, I guess I want to be a comic book writer?”

[...] We talk about the shift that has occurred to make him, at 38, more welcoming of this higher-profile moment. “I think I’m probably shy and definitely more of an introvert. There’s some part of me that must have wanted it, because I kept pursuing it,” he says. “The Batman was definitely a turning point, because I think I shielded myself from bigger opportunities when I was younger.”
Something tells me if he'd been a cast member in a Superman film, he wouldn't be speaking of it as highly as he does The Batman from earlier this year. Such a shame Mr. Dano considers these bleaker roles the finest one can achieve in Hollywood, and goes on to script what amounts to little more than "celebrity writing", which doesn't equal good writing straight off the bat. Of course, this also says a lot more about DC's staff than it does about the material they're spotlighting here, with yet another villain lavished with a whole starring vehicle, and another serious risk of criminal idolization being promoted over heroic fantasy spotlight. The aforementioned Maher and Rogan should consider doing a commentary about that, if they haven't done so yet.

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