Everything we know about the new Batman film so far

It's a common sight now to see film crews taking full advantage of Liverpool's incredible architecture as the setting for films and TV shows.

But it has to be said, if feels particularly special when Hollywood giants see the city's potential as the backdrop to the latest superhero blockbuster.

Fans rejoiced as the new Batman movie, titled The Batman started filming in the city in March, with barriers visible around St. George's Hall which said 'GCPD' and 'Gotham City Police Department' on them.

The film directed by Matt Reeves, who wrote the screenplay with Peter Craig, stars Robert Pattinson's in his first outing as the new Batman after Ben Affleck handed over the keys to the Batmobile.

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The movie portrays a younger Batman, with the director hoping to emphasise the detective aspect of the character to a greater extent than previous films

Other big names in the cast include Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as The Riddler, and Colin Farrell starring as The Penguin.

The Batman is scheduled to be released on October 1, 2021 with two sequels planned and a spin-off prequel television series is currently in development for HBO Max.

Filming in the city was to begin in March but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production ground to a stand-still.

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With filming set to resume this month, it seems coronavirus has struck again as one of the movie's major stars has reportedly tested positive for the virus.

So as we continue to wait for production to restart, we have put together a timeline of how filming the superhero blockbuster has progressed in the city so far.

Excitement as Liverpool turned into Gotham city

In March this year, anticipation spread as eagle-eyed fans learned that the latest film featuring the Dark Knight will be shot right here in Liverpool city centre.

On Twitter, one DC fan shared a post stating filming will take place at the iconic St George's Hall.

The post said: "Liverpool native here.

"They're currently setting up for filming around St. George's Hall in the city centre – specifically, they seem to be planning to film on the passageway that leads from William Brown Street down into the cells underneath the hall.

"They've got a green screen at the end of the street so it's definitely going on inside."

The post shared a link to an image of the catacombs below the hall, with some Batman fans suggesting they could be used for the famous Arkham Asylum's catacombs which have featured in Batman storylines including in the Arkham videogame series.

One Twitter user shared a photo of the catacombs from one of the Batman games, which prompted the original poster to say: "Damn!! Nice find [thumbs up emoji]".

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Batman filming cancelled in city centre amid coronavirus fears

The excitement was short-lived, however, as filming in the city centre was cancelled days later due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Production crews had already set up around St George's Hall for filming of the big budget flick, yet by the time the pandemic had taken hold of the country, filming equipment had been removed from outside St George's Hall and the plateau was deserted.

Warner Bros. sadly had become the latest major studio to halt production on a major film in the wake of the pandemic.

A statement released by the studio, read: “Warner Bros. Pictures feature production of The Batman will be on a two-week hiatus starting today [March 14].

"The studio will continue to monitor the situation closely."

The break between the start of the filming hiatus and when it resumed turned out to be considerably longer than two weeks.

Why Liverpool was chosen as Gotham City

Fans of the World's Greatest Detective rejoiced at the news filming is expected to resume in September, together with the news that Liverpool will play a massive role in The Batman.

American filmmaker Matt Reeves, who is directing the upcoming superhero film, had spoken at DC FanDome, a virtual convention held by DC Comics and Warner Bros.

During an interview, he confirmed Liverpool is to be the backbone for Gotham City as they shoot the remaining 75% of the film.

Matt was asked by a fan: "What should we expect to see from Gotham City in this film?"

He responded: "It's just as important as any of the Rogues Gallery, it's sort of like the nature of this place is and the history of it is critically important to our story.

"One of things I really wanted to do because it is the centre of this story, especially the history of corruption in the city, was I wanted to present it in a way that was really fleshed out.

"I wanted it to feel like an American city you'd never been to."

Gotham City Police Department barriers outside St George's Hall.(Pic Andrew Teebay).

Matt continued: "Let's say there's like a Gotham Square, so that's like Times Square, right, now if we shot it in Times Square then you'd be like I guess Gotham is New York.

"But in our case it's actually going to be Liverpool and the idea is to go to Liverpool, where there is all the foundation of the Gothic architecture and then add all of the more modern structures through CG.

"But in a way, that when you see the movie, you'll be like: 'Hey where's the city, where did they shoot?'

"So the aspect of Gotham and realising it has been for me one of the great pleasures in getting to mount the movie."

Batman row as Liverpool extras replaced by actors from London

Controversy struck the new Batman film as it was revealed London extras instead of locals were to be used over lingering fears about coronavirus.

The row broke out after local extras, originally employed as background in the Hollywood blockbuster, were told they are "ineligible" to return after the Covid outbreak.

One extra told the ECHO: "The deal seems to be that, yes, they're going to restart filming in Autumn and they're exclusively sending out availability requests to people outside Liverpool.

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"I found out when multiple people told me this had been the case – in that they, non-Liverpool residents, had received availability requests for week-long shoots and quarantines in a Liverpool hotel".

Commenting on social news website Reddit where the rumour came to light, one member posted: "The logic is that Liverpool-based extras will go home after the shoot, might fail to self-isolate, and would likely take public transport to get there.

"Whereas London extras can be shipped up in a coach and made to isolate inside a hotel for the entirety of the shoot.

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"Which kind of makes sense, but I don't see why they can't just have Liverpool extras isolate in the hotel instead.

"Presumably it's more dangerous to move people across the country for work like this?

"If a spike happens in one city you're guaranteeing a spread to the other."

With filming now given the green light to recommence, a spokesperson close to the production confirmed that for "health and safety reasons" they would no longer be using local extras.

They said: "It's about health and safety and bubbling and is part of a strict Covid measure.

"Everyone who is working as extras is being kept close together so that we're not introducing new people to the production."

The decision, they said, was made purely on the basis of keeping to health and safety measures in the current climate.

Production on The Batman film halted as Robert Pattinson reportedly has coronavirus

Just when it looked like the movie's run of bad luck had finally come to an end, another blow for filming in the city landed this week as lead actor Robert Pattinson is believed to have tested positive for coronavirus.

This meant production on The Batman again had to be suspended.

Vanity Fair reported Robert Pattinson had tested positive for Covid-19, and while entertainment conglomerate Warner Bros. would not comment on any individual worker's health, it said filming was temporarily paused.

The studio shared the following statement: "A member of The Batman production has tested positive for Covid-19, and is isolating in accordance with established protocols. Filming is temporarily paused."

Vanity Fair stated it "confirmed through a highly placed source that Pattinson was the individual who became sick".

And with this news, fans of the blockbuster will have to wait a little longer to see the caped crusader stalking the most famous landmarks in the city.

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