Guarded. That’s the way I would describe Christian Bale when I participated in a group interview with him last August on the set of Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises. Then again, when you’re making one of the biggest films of 2012, you probably don’t want to be the one who gives away any of the secrets. While Bale was very careful with his answers, he was also in a great mood, which made for a fun back and forth with the visiting journalists.
During the interview Bale talked to us about filming in IMAX, if he’ll miss making Batman movies, his relationship with Anne Hathaway‘s character, if he’s happy with the way the story ends, what it’s been like working with Marion Cotillard and Tom Hardy, the fight scenes, and a lot more. Hit the jump to either read or listen to the interview.
As usual, I’m offering you two ways to get the interview: you can either click here for the audio, or the full transcript is below. The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20.
Christian Bale: I have had a little experience from the last one and when we made The Prestige, Chris was experimenting with it at that time. Some of the stuff with twin brother and everything like that, we used it. It’s bloody noisy with those cameras, you know you’re going to have to do ADR whenever there’s the IMAX camera coming out, but it’s going to be a hell of a great looking shot. It was stunning in The Dark Knight. I remember sitting in the premiere and people were just like, “Oooh!” feeling like they’re in it. It’s a lovely piece of machinery.
Can you talk about the percentage that he’s been using it on this film?
Bale: No bloody idea. Ask him about that. I’m not an actor that tends to care. I don’t ask “Is this a close up? Is this a master? Is this a wide? What are you doing?” If I look up and notice the camera I go “Oh, it’s a big one today, must be an IMAX.” And that’s kinda it for me because it doesn’t affect what I’m doing.
There is a lot of hype about this film. Was there any doubt in your mind to make another with Chris Nolan again?
Bale: I knew it was going to happen for me because I was contracted to do this film. I had no choice, I would have been sued up the ying-yang and be on the street and penniless if I hadn’t done it. Chris, my understanding was, could have chosen not to do it, but he had always talked about this as being a trilogy and he liked the challenge that an awful lot of movies fail on the third one. There are some exceptions but most of the time that’s the tricky one to pull off. And I think he really likes the challenge of that.
Are you going to miss playing Batman after this?
Bale: Course I will, yeah. Yeah, definitely.
Will you miss wearing the suit?
Bale: For all the discomfort and the heat and the sweat and the headaches and everything from it, when you sit back and watch the movie at the end of the day, you go: “Well, that’s fuckin’ cool. ” I will miss that, I liked the good bit of rubber.
Can you talk about Bruce’s relationship with Selena in this movie? We’ve seen pictures of them holding hands.
Bale: Have you? You think you have, have you? Aaah, maybe some people are seeing things and they don’t know what they’re looking at? It’s quite interesting to watch and hear what people think we’re doing. You look and go, “That’s not what we’re doing. But never mind, let’s let people think that’s what we’re doing. ”
How much does he fall in love with her?
Bale: I’m figuring it all out as I go along. And I’m seeing Chris sitting on this shoulder here and my Emma Thomas sitting on this shoulder right now as you’re asking the question going: “Don’t say anything! You know you’re not allowed to answer that one. ” I think let’s leave that one until you see the movie.
Your hair’s a bit longer in this movie than the others. Is there any significance to that?
Bale: Yeah, a little. But we’ve always had to mess around… Every single movie that we’ve done for the Batman stuff has always had hair that we’ve had to be able to adapt to different looks throughout. So the longer you keep it the more you can do with it. Am I doing a good job? I’m kinda answering the questions but not really giving you shit.
Bale: I have no clue what the audience is going to think about the movie. Thank god I got someone like Chris who is really great at gauging that. He represents the audience for us on the set. So for me, I love the character so much that you’d get a very bizarre Batman movie. People would go, “What the hell? Why are we delving so much into his psyche? ” He is a fascinating character and then Chris just has to tell me the points when it gets tedious and boring and doesn’t want to see what I’m doing. It’s great having someone at the helm who’s – He’s remarkably confident at going with his gut and not desiring any safety net or anything to fall back on. There are a number of times when I say to him: “Are you sure you don’t want me to do a few other variants? I can do this one, and what if later down track you choose to change this part of the story, in that case we need to change the domino effect. If you want I can give you three or four different ways you can play it. ” He’s like: “No, no I know what I want. ” That’s exactly the thing that I need, he’s very firm with it. It is a fascinating character. In honesty, there are probably a lot of stories that can be told with Batman. I like the idea of him growing older and he can’t quite do it as much anymore. But I kind of feel, you have to leave when the going is good and this is when Chris wants to wrap it up. And it’s the right time.
Bale: Yeah, very.
By the third movie is Batman’s drive still fed by the death of his parents? Or has he accepted a larger responsibility for Gotham that is not necessarily fueled by that anymore?
Bale: To me, he has it all; it’s all in there. The thing is, he is still that child basically. The one thing that I do know, and there’s an awful lot in the graphic novels, which we’ve played with a little bit, is this whole notion of him genuinely being a playboy versus what we’ve done, which is he sort of performs that but his heart’s not really in it. And the eternal problem that Alfred has with watching this guy who has no life. He’s put his entire life on hold because, yeah, he still does. He’s got this fierceness in his mind and emotions that he just will not forget the pain of the parents. With most people it’s like time heals all wounds, but with him it’s like, “No, no, no. ” He doesn’t want to forget it, he wants to maintain that anger that he felt at that injustice but equally he wants to present this very vacuous soulless persona to Gotham so hopefully no one will suspect him but will just think he’s a spoiled bastard. But consequently in his most intimate moments he has Alfred, he has Rachel and there is not a whole lot there, because it’s complete arrested development. And the recognition that at some point he’s got to start living. He is seriously behind in terms of life and enjoyment of life. That’s all been sacrificed and at some point, hopefully it’s Alfred’s wish that he will start to live again. Of course this tragedy has defined him but to a degree he’s sacrificed everything that most people would consider worth living for in life and he’s going to have relearn that, embarrassingly late in life.
Bale: There’s an awful lot of new discoveries, truths coming out, and the whole question of what’s the correct thing to do? Continue with lies and make people feel good or have the truth come out and devastate and ruin people’s lives. So yes, absolutely, it goes back to Batman Begins and Dark Knight and deals with an awful lot from both of those movies.
How much time has passed?
Bale: It’s been, I would say years. I don’t know if Chris would want me to say exactly how long, but it’s not the next day. There’s been quite a change within him.
Tell us about working with Marion Cotillard and Tom Hardy?
Bale: It’s a real good cast. I worked with Marion really briefly in Public Enemies and she’s wonderful and versatile actress. So far the work’s been really great with her. With Anne [Hathaway] likewise, I think she’s doing something very different then what most people probably would have seen her do before. And Tom, who I’ve been working with mostly the last few weeks, he’s a real fascinating actor. He’s going to be creating some wonderful characters over his career and he’s doing so with this. He’s kind of just gleeful coming into work every day. He’s got a great character that he can chew the scenery with in a good way He’s the real deal. I’m very impressed with him. I’m very impressed with all the cast on this one.
Bale: I’ve seen them.
Can you talk about crafting fight scenes with Tom?
Bale: We have fantastic stunt guys. Buster Reeves, who’s have been with us since the first one, and Tom Struthers. And thing is, this is sort of what we do. They kind of work out what they’d like to see in the fights and Tom and myself come in and bring in the story to the fights. Because a fight that is just a knock down, everyone punching each other, ceases to be really exciting after a while. You’ve got to figure a way to tell a story within the fight. And also you can get some very trained fighters who can follow and incredibly fast and furious fight, but I don’t know about you guys but as you watch UFC sometimes you’re going “I dunno what’s going on. ” It looks like a bloody mess. You sometimes have to be able to just look at it with eyes like myself, someone who’s not a trained fighter and understand what’s happening, and it’s amazing the difference that between the fantastic stuntmen that come in and do their jobs and when we, Tom and I, come in and say “all right I get that, but this is what I’ve got to be thinking here, so I’ve got to do it this way. ” And actually seeing a fight that has description and a beginning, middle, and end to it is a wonderful thing, keeps it so much more entertaining and means so much more then showing off a few martial arts moves.
Has Mark called you about another Fighter?
Bale: We haven’t spoken anything about it, I’ve heard that he’s been talking with some people about it, but he hasn’t spoken to me about it.
For more from our The Dark Knight Rises set visit:
- 20 Things to Know About The Dark Knight Rises From Our Set Visit; Plus a Recap of the Filming Including Bane’s Big Entrance
- Anne Hathaway Talks Fighting in Heels, Adapting to Christopher Nolan’s Universe, Filming in IMAX and More on the Set of The Dark Knight Rises
- Tom Hardy Talks Following Heath Ledger’s Joker, Bane’s Costume and More on the Set of The Dark Knight Rises
- Producer Emma Thomas Talks Drawing from Comic Books, Bane, Filming in IMAX and Much More on the Set of The Dark Knight Rises