Robert Pattinson had a lot of preparation ahead of him when he signed on to play the iconic Caped Crusader in The Batman — including about 80 years’ worth of reading material.

At Tuesday’s New York City premiere of the film, the actor detailed the daunting process to ABC Audio.

“A year just working on the script and then probably three months just physically training, and then fight choreography and then reading probably a trillion Batman graphic novels,” Pattinson admitted on the red carpet.

“[I] didn’t really think about the fact that you got a character that’s been around for 80 years, there’s quite a lot of comics you’ve got to read, so I had a whole suitcase full of them.”

Pattinson wasn’t the only cast member who came prepared. Paul Dano, whose villain Riddler takes heavy cues from the Zodiac Killer, told ABC Audio he practiced extensively with the creepy mask he wears for much of the film.

He also noted that in trying to put his stamp on the Riddler he focused on, “going as deep as I can into that character and bringing the history with me but going in a new direction.”

Darker in tone even than Christopher Nolan‘s Oscar winning The Dark Knight, director Matt Reeves‘ The Batman dives into the psychology of its titular character and his iconic nemesis.

In addition to Dano’s Riddler, admitted Bat-fan Colin Farrell is unrecognizable as a sleazy Penguin, and Pattinson’s hero tangles, and teams up, with Zoë Kravitz‘ Selena Kyle/Catwoman.

On how Gotham has changed in Reeves’ reboot, Pattinson said, “It’s very much about the corruptions of the institutions. The bad guys are not fantastical at all, and Batman is not fantastical at all in this movie. He’s not even known as Batman in this movie yet…he’s just a guy in a suit of armor.” 

The Batman hits theaters on Friday.

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