Paul Dano was ready to commit to his first-ever big-budget movie role in “The Batman”.
In a new cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, Dano says he got really into the mythology behind the villainous, puzzle-loving Riddler.
“The thoroughness of this person, the almost maniacal detail that he puts into plotting — I was like, ‘OK, well, should I just shave all my body hair?’ So there’s no evidence?” Ultimately, Dano opted not to give The Riddler the hairless treatment, instead deciding, “I’m going to wrap my head in Saran wrap.”
Sharing a few of his thoughts on The Riddler and what viewers can expect from director Matt Reeves’ take on the Caped Crusader, Dano says, “The audience is sort of indicted. I’ve not seen that before in this kind of mass entertainment.”
While we all know The Riddler loves a good puzzle, has he jumped on the Wordle bandwagon? “That actually was very important to my backstory — not Wordle, literally — but the idea that puzzles were the only place that he would be given any form of positive feedback in his life,” Dano shares. “They were the only thing that ever said to him in his whole life, you win.”
Though his career spans 25-years in mostly indie movies, the 37-year-old is now bracing himself for major worldwide attention with “The Batman”.
“I am more clear in myself now about what I want and what I get from my work,” Dano says. “I can enjoy it now.”
Dano won’t be leaving the spotlight any time soon with another major movie role heading his way in Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans”. A semi-autobiographical tale based on Spielberg’s own childhood, Dano is stepping into the role of what is essentially the director’s father, Arnold Spielberg.
“Somebody like Steven making a film about his life and you’re playing a version of his father… the stakes felt really high,” Dano tells THR. Arnold died in 2020 at age 103 and, “in some ways, it was a heavy cloak to bear because of that,” Dano says. “You’re embodying one of the most important, influential, complicated figures in [Spielberg’s] life. It was incredible to see how much of this was in his work the whole time.”