Director’s Chair Introduction: Matt Reeves

by Tony Cogan · March 7, 2022 · Director's Chair · No Comments

Deadline: 2nd April 2022

Send Entries To: directorschairlamb@gmail.com

Hello everyone, it’s time to showcase the featured director for March and, with the release of The Batman, I’ve decided to highlight the work of Matt Reeves.

Reeves got his start in film making films with wind-up cameras, eventually becoming friends with JJ Abrams and being hired by Steven Spielberg to transfer his Super 8 films to video. At university, Reeves produced an award winning short film and wrote the script that was eventually repurposed into Under Siege 2. As a director, he got his start with a segment of the anthology film Future Shock, before moving into features with the romantic comedy The Pallbearer, which ended up screening at the Cannes Film Festival.

After The Pallbearer, Reeves went into television, creating Felicity with JJ Abrams, being the showrunner and a recurring director for the show. Along with his work on Felicity, Reeves worked on shows like Homicide: Life on the Streets and Gideon’s Crossing. Reeves returned to film with the found-footage film Cloverfield in 2008. Before release, Cloverfield had an extensive viral marketing campaign, including websites, fictional merchandise and, notably, a trailer which only showed the release date and not the title. Upon release, Cloverfield received positive reviews, although noting that motion sickness could be caused by the camerawork and was a box office success. It ended up spawning an anthology franchise, including 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox, with a direct sequel being greenlit in January 2021.

After this, Reeves was hired to write and direct the American remake of Let The Right One In, Let Me In. Whilst the film received mostly positive reviews, mainly praising the lead performances from Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee, there were some critics, such as Mark Kermode, who called the remake perfunctory when compared with Tomas Alfredson’s original.

Following Let Me In, Reeves was originally going to direct a new film version of The Twilight Zone before exiting the project in 2012. When Rupert Wyatt decided not to return for the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Reeves was hired to direct it, resulting in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This resulted in a film which was a critical and commercial success, with Reeves soon signing a 3 year production deal with 20th Century Fox and being hired to direct the follow up film in the series, War for the Planet of the Apes, this being another critical and commercial success.

As a producer, Reeves was set to produce an adaptation of The Mouse Guard, but this got cancelled following 20th Century Fox being bought by Disney, and for TV, Reeves has been an executive producer on shows such as Tales from the Loop and Away.

He returned to directing films with The Batman. Originally meant to be part of the DCEU with Ben Affleck writing and directing, reservations that Affleck had, following events like the tumultuous production of Justice League and issues in his personal life, resulted in him leaving the project as director. Warner Bros soon hired Reeves to write and direct the film, with Reeves only signing on if he was granted creative control. Originally planning for it to be part of the DCEU, with Affleck still on to play Batman, it was soon reworked into focusing on a younger Batman. Taking inspiration from Batman stories like The Long Halloween (written by Reeves’ former college teacher Jeph Loeb) and films like Seven and Zodiac, Reeves focused on this being a darker version of the character, focused more on his detective skills. Production was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in delays to the start of it and further delays when lead Robert Pattinson tested positive for COVID, with production limited to the UK by COVID restrictions. It also made extensive use of the StageCraft technology developed by DP Greig Fraser for The Mandalorian.

The film has so far been met with mostly positive reviews and, although the full financial success is not known at this time, it has had one of the highest openings following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended that The Batman will be the first of a trilogy, with TV spin-offs also being planned focused on the Gotham City police and on Colin Farrell’s version of The Penguin, with Reeves being an executive producer for both of them.

As a reminder, the films of Reeves that you can cover are listed below.

  • Future Shock
  • The Pallbearer
  • Cloverfield
  • Let Me In
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • The Batman

I look forward to reading what you send me.

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