When it was announced that Warner Bros. would make a live action Nightwing film as part of its DC Extended Universe, fans had a number of questions. One of the top ones being how would filmmakers portray the acrobatic fight style of Dick Grayson?
Director Chris McKay spoke with Collider about his plans for the movie.
“I’m a big comic book fan, and being able to do the story of Nightwing, to do a Dick Grayson story, which is a character that every single person in the world knows, but has never really had a lot of screentime,” he said. “They make a billion Spider-Man movies and a lot of Batman movies, and they’ve tried The Hulk. When they were making the Tim Burton movies, they were always like, ‘Oh, maybe we’ll do Robin in this now. Maybe we’ll save Robin for Returns. Nope, we’ll save it for the next one.’”
“With Christopher Nolan, people were like, ‘Is he gonna do Robin?’ When they made Batman v Superman, they were talking about it,” he continued. “I’m a big fan of underdog stories, and he is one of the biggest underdog stories in comics. And he’s a character that I grew up with. I like the arc.”
Nightwing is the hero identity of a grown up Dick Grayson, the first Robin. He still works alongside Batman, while also fighting his own battles and rogues gallery.
McKay is excited to tell the story of Robin’s journey to becoming Nightwing.
“You always thought Robin was the dork and were like, ‘I don’t want to be like Robin. I don’t want to play with Robin. I wanna play Batman,”‘ said McKay. “But Robin was there as a window character for little kids like me to understand Batman’s world and see into Batman’s world.”
“There’s no other character in comics that went through this real-time transition. Every other character lives in a rough version of the age that they’re in” he said. “Very few characters actually grow up in the comics and become something else, and go from being a boy to being an adult, and have their own life and become their own thing.”
As for the action and fighting involved, the director wants to take a real world approach.
“It’s gonna be a badass action movie with a lot of heart and emotion. It’s gonna be a crazy, fun ride,” said McKay. “Whoever gets cast as Nightwing, and any of the other actors around, are gonna go through a boot camp experience because it’s gonna be a lot.”
“I’m not gonna do a lot of CG. It’s gonna be all real. It’s gonna be real stuntwork, and they’re gonna need to do all of the stuff on camera and do it credibly,” he continued. “For the cast and the crew, it’s gonna be a visceral experience, and for the audience.”
“It’s not gonna be like a lot of these movies where there’s a lot of CG and flying, and things like that,” said McKay. “Everything he does is gonna have to be real. His superpower is being really…good, as a human being, at fighting and gymnastics…so you’re gonna see that on-screen. It’s gonna be fun!”
Nightwing is still in the very early stages, so there’s no real information yet. The rest of Warner Bros. DCEU production slate includes Shazam! in early 2018 and Suicide Squad 2 scheduled to begin filming later in 2018.
Upcoming DCEU releases:
Justice League – Nov. 17
Aquaman – December 21, 2018