The Batman’s Paul Dano Reveals How The Soundtrack Influenced His Riddler, Now Bring On The Sequel

Paul Dano as The Riddler in The Batman
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Who can forget when our minds were all blown by the beautifully atmospheric first trailer for Matt Reeves’ The Batman? The trailer’s use of Nirvana’s haunting track, "Something in the Way", quite literally, underscored the fact that we were in for a Batman movie like we had never seen. In a recent interview, the Riddler actor Paul Dano says that the song wasn’t just a clever choice by the trailer house editors but played a significant role in shaping his portrayal of the character.

The There Will Be Blood actor appeared on the very popular Youtube talk show Hot Ones, where he revealed his love for the Nirvana deep cut and how the movie’s soundtrack influenced his take on the riddle-writing supervillain. According to Dano, it was the chorus of the song which made the character click for him. He says the lyrics made him realize both his character and Batman (played by Robert Pattinson) are dealing with two sides of trauma where Bruce Wayne had the resources to deal with his trauma, while his character did not. Paul Dano told Hot One’s host Sean Evans: 

Something in the Way is a great song, and I listen to a lot of Nirvana. But that chorus, for me, was like, what are we all trying… something in the way… what are we all trying to get through. I think it’s about the two sides of trauma and one person, you know, had a little more resources to deal with their trauma–Bruce Wayne. And my guy just didn’t quite have, you know, didn’t have the nurture, but probably didn’t have the nature either if we are being real.

I have to agree with Dano. If we are being honest, the actor’s take on Edward Nashton is a serial killer who feels like he would be more at home in a David Fincher movie than a comic book. This comparison has some merit because the film’s director Matt Reeves said in the past that his darker Riddler’s real-life inspiration was, in fact, the Zodiac killer. Something tells me even Bruce Wayne’s level of resources might not have helped this traumatized orphan overcome his issues. 

Even though a Penguin spinoff television series and The Batman 2 were seemingly confirmed back in April, DC’s slate of upcoming movies has been somewhat in turmoil. The reported underperformance of Black Adam calls into question a sequel, and following the Henry Cavill debacle of the actor announcing his return as Superman only to have to turn around less than two months later to say he isn’t returning, after all, makes fans question if anything is a sure thing. With the big regime change at DC Studios and James Gunn and Peter Safran now running things, some difficult decisions had to be made regarding DC movies. It’s unclear at this time if we will get to see a return to Matt Reeves’ Gotham and Dano's skin-crawling performance as on one of Batman’s deadliest rogues. 

If there are any updates regarding The Batman 2, we will be the first to let you know. For now, fans will have to settle for rewatching Dano’s disturbing performance as The Riddler, which can be streamed with an HBO Max subscription. For all other news or to plan your next trip to the cinema, stay tuned to CinemaBlend and check out our schedule of 2023 new movie releases

Ryan LaBee

Ryan graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in English/Creative Writing. An expert in all things horror, Ryan enjoys covering a wide variety of topics. He's also a lifelong comic book fan and an avid watcher of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.