Chris Clow is a comic book expert and contributor to Batman-On-Film.com. You can find his Dark Knight Rises Countdown column here at Movies.com every other Wednesday.
This time, news on the front for The Dark Knight Rises has been relatively sparse. There are several smaller components that are worth discussing for those that want to keep up with all of the news, but don’t expect anything earth shattering this time. There haven’t been any new publicity photos in the last couple of weeks, but there have been several small hints laid as to what the aesthetic of the marketing will be, which may provide us with a hint of the demeanor of the film as a whole. There’s also been a new addition to the cast, but let’s start with some of the smaller, maybe not-so-surprising details in this week’s rundown first.
Pittsburgh Casting Call
Back on June 4th, BOF reported that a casting call for the Pittsburgh, PA area had gone out for The Dark Knight Rises. The shoot will be occurring there from July 28th through August 21st, and will be running on a Wednesday through Sunday workweek schedule. The website lists the film under the title of “Magnus Rex” and details that their needs are on all types, with a specific focus on thugs, business people, and even sports fans. The only detail revealed about what kind of activity is going on is the site’s description of the work as taking place in an “urban action adventure ripping through the streets of Pittsburgh.” Yep, that sounds like Batman all right.
Home is Where You Hang Your Cowl
Back on the 7th, Jett reported on BOF that the primary location for the exterior of Wayne Manor may have been found and secured. Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, UK seems to be standing in as the rebuilt mansion, especially due to the mammoth house’s proclamation that it will be closed from June 20th to July 6th, “in order to enable a film to have exclusive access to the site.” The Mentmore Towers, the location used for Wayne Manor for Batman Begins back in 2004, is actually a reproduction of Wollaton. Ironic that they’re using an older home as a “new” version of the newer home they destroyed. Back in the last article, as well as according to BOF reports, the Osterley Park location will be used for the interiors of the new Wayne Manor.
Still no substantive word on the appearance of the Batcave in this film, and whether or not the location used in the first film will serve as the Cave in the new film. Hope springs eternal for this Bat fan, as it would definitely be great to see Batman’s war evolve with the use of the lair that we all know and love. “Nolanized,” of course.
The Butler and the Brilliance Return
On the 10th, a BOF reported that Michael Caine divulged his start date for DKR sometime around the 17th of this month, so Alfred could be back at work as this article goes live. Out of all of the prominent cast members, Caine has had the loosest lips concerning production details over the course of the last two films, so his word here seems likely as well. Caine prepares now for a final turn as Bruce Wayne’s surrogate father in a celebrated set of performances giving the character appropriate depth and dimension only really previously seen in the source material. One of the things that will be hard to part with in this series (among many others) will be Caine’s portrayal of the faithful confidant to the Dark Knight, easily my personal favorite of the entire series of Batman adaptations.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Morgan Freeman also divulged his return to the series as Wayne Enterprises front man and technological confidant to Batman, Lucius Fox. Freeman briefly explained that he would be starting his work on the film on or around June 30th in the United Kingdom, before revealing they’d move to “Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.” While Fox was always a known element in the Gotham of the comics and animated series, Nolan’s films have given Fox a niche never quite filled in the world of Batman: a quartermaster. By making Fox a little older, Nolan provided a connection to Bruce’s father and a desire in Fox to see the Wayne legacy return to its rightful place, and also allowed an unspoken (but later more explicit) partnership concerning Batman and his nocturnal activities. Add it to the list of elements that will be missed as we head into Nolan’s finale of Batman films.
No Presence in San Diego
As reported on BOF early this week in a bit of surprising news coming out of an article in the New York Times, Warner Bros. (in addition to several other major studios) has apparently decided that it will not be showcasing any future releases at this July’s Comic Con International in San Diego. Citing reasons of spreading negative word of mouth too quickly, that leaves Batman fans trekking out to the mecca of conventions with a little less to look forward to in the treacherous journey to the San Diego Convention Center’s mammoth Hall H auditorium (a pain to secure a seat in short of camping out the night before your presentation of choice, I can assure you). However, just because there won’t be a presentation of Dark Knight Rises per se, doesn’t mean that the film will entirely lack a presence at a definite opportunity.
Back in July of 2007, a full year before The Dark Knight hit theaters, Warner Bros. did not feature a showcase at Comic Con, either. They did, however, give the film a presence across the street from the convention. It was a component of the film’s critically acclaimed viral marketing campaign by 42 Entertainment, which created the world of the film within ours to create buzz and anticipation for the July 2008 release. So, while there’s no presentation that’s being touted with the full bells and whistles of the Warner Bros. booth in the convention center, because this precedent exists, that doesn’t necessarily mean that fans in attendance at the convention won’t find something having to do with the film somewhere in the city of San Diego. With just over a month until the convention begins, we’ll find out soon enough.
A New Resident Gothamite
As reported by BOF and Variety this last Tuesday, June 14th, a new actor has been cast in an unspecified role. Mostly known by audiences for his television work, actor Josh Stewart may be best known for his role on the FX series Dirt, as well as a turn on the final season of NBC’s Third Watch. With a few film roles under his belt, Stewart will definitely see his highest profile turn yet in Dark Knight Rises, and the fan community has been set aflame with speculation regarding Stewart’s role. While the past has indicated that his casting doesn’t necessarily have to be a character that’s been in the source material before, that doesn’t stop a lot of rabid fans from guessing in exactly that direction.
Licensing Expo and Dark Knight Showcase
As reported by BOF as well as in a previous article on this website, the Licensing Expo 2011 may have revealed certain aesthetic details about the forthcoming film. The less telling one concerns the film’s logo, which utilizes the same Bat logo (this time unbroken, unlike its use for The Dark Knight and as it was used for Batman Begins) is employed with what looks to be a blue or purple backlight, illuminating it against the darkness. The film’s title is in the same typeface as the previous two, which more than anything solidifies that this film is a sequel to The Dark Knight.
The more telling clue, though, was in a full-on promotional render of Batman himself. While the lighter tone of the suit might simply be attributed to the amount of light with which the model was rendered, it looks as if Batman will not be getting any alterations to his costume for the new film. The costume transition from Begins to Dark Knight ended up being an interesting and well explained plot point of the last film, and was definitely the only time in the Batman film series when a director and writer decided to implement a costume change into the narrative. The previous films had costume changes across all four of them with no explanation about Batman’s upgrades for his “regular suit” (Sonar suit from Forever doesn’t really count).
It looks like both Bruce Wayne and Christopher Nolan are happy with what they assembled last time around, but just because there appears to be no change based on this render, doesn’t solidify Batman’s costume by any means. Does he need a costume change? Probably not. Is at least a minor alteration likely? I’d say so. If anything, it helps the studio and its licensing partners sell more toys and other likeness goods like statues and busts, but if there’s no alteration to the current suit, I will be neither surprised, nor worried/annoyed/exhibiting fanboy rage.
All in all, while news is relatively sparse this time around, that doesn’t exactly concern me. Now that production’s started, it means that those involved are laying the hype machine down for a while and actually working, which is fine by me. Some publicity photos in the near future would be nice, but for this week, it’s time to take a little focus off one DC property and go to the theater to watch my favorite will-powered, ring-slinging space cop this weekend. See you in a fortnight!
There are 399 Days Until The Dark Knight Rises.