The Dark Knight Rises isn’t set to swoop into theaters until next July, but that hasn’t stopped Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan from firing up the hype machine. Between the press screenings of the IMAX prologue (read our reaction here), the new teaser poster, and the viral Operation Early Bird campaign, Bat-mania is starting to grip the nation.
The LA Times caught up with Nolan recently, and the filmmaker opened up about 2012’s most highly-anticipated film. The entire chat is a must-read for Bat-fans, but we’ve culled some of the highlights that were particularly interesting.
Nolan spends a great deal of time talking about Bane – and why he chose the character to be Batman’s chief nemesis in this film, which surprised many fans since it seemed a fairly dramatic departure from the more grounded-in-reality villains of the earlier films.
When discussing the character, Nolan says, “I didn't know him very well. David Goyer got me a bunch of stuff on him and we looked into him. I only knew him by name, I wasn't familiar with his back story. He's a very cool character. And getting an actor like Tom to take it on, you know you're going to get something very special. Tom is somebody who really knows how to put character into every gesture, every aspect of his physicality in the way that great actors can... With Bane, the physicality is the thing. With a good villain you need an archetype, you know, you need the extreme of some type of villainy. The Joker is obviously a particular archetype of diabolical, chaotic anarchy and has a devilish sense of humor. Bane, to me, is something we haven't dealt with in the films. We wanted to do something very different in this film. He's a primarily physical villain, he's a classic movie monster in a way — but with a terrific brain. I think he's a fascinating character. I think people are going to get a kick out of what we've done with him."
It’s good to hear that Tom Hardy has nailed the physical aspect of Bane – now let’s hope that rumors about his dialogue being hard to understand are either false or corrected before the film hits theaters. We’d assume, given Nolan’s meticulous attention to detail, that if there’s a problem it will be resolved well before July.
Nolan also discusses the film’s time shift in the narrative. The Dark Knight Rises takes place eight years after The Dark Knight, which Nolan says will make sense once people see the opening of the new film.
“It will make a lot more sense to people when they see the film," Nolan explains. "But it's not a great mystery — it's the jumping-off point for the film — but it's hard for me to articulate it. I think the mood at the beginning of the film will make a lot of sense. If I had to express it thematically, I think what we're saying is that for Batman and Commissioner Gordon, there's a big sacrifice, a big compromise, at the end of the 'The Dark Knight' and for that to mean something, that sacrifice has to work and Gotham has to get better in a sense. They have to achieve something for the ending of that film — and the feeling at the end of that film — to have validity. Their sacrifice has to have meaning and it takes time to establish that and to show that, and that’s the primary reason we did that. It's a time period that is not so far ahead that we would have to do crazy makeup or anything — which I think would be distracting — but it gave them something to get their teeth into, particularly Christian in terms of [portraying] this guy who has been frozen in this moment in time with nowhere to go. He really has done an incredible job figuring out how to characterize that and express that."
Nolan rarely comes across as an emotional guy, but the director admits to getting a little choked up about his last trip to Gotham City.
“It was pretty emotional as we would finish these characters and say goodbye to Alfred for the last time and say goodbye to Commissioner Gordon and eventually, with Christian, fairly close to the end, saying goodbye to Batman … it was a big deal,” Nolan said. “And with these newer characters too, finishing with Anne and all these guys. It was quite touching, I must say.”
We wonder if fans will feel the same way, as The Dark Knight Rises will mark the end of an era – both for Batman and Nolan. We’ve no doubt that Warner Bros. will want to continue onward with the films, but it will be without Bale and Nolan, the two men who made the franchise what it is today. That’s not to say that someone else couldn’t pick up the gauntlet and run with it, but whoever does will have a mighty big cowl to fill.