Christopher Nolan Talks THE DARK KNIGHT RISES; Reveals Why They Chose Bane as Villain

     December 12, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises marketing campaign has kicked into high gear. Last week a group of journalists (including Steve) got a peek at the six-minute IMAX prologue from the film, which you can read about spoiler-free here. Then a swell new teaser poster featuring Bane and a chilling tagline was released. Now an extensive interview with director Christopher Nolan has hit the web.

The director talks about the emotional final days on set (given that this is the final film in his trilogy), the ambition of shooting a great deal of the film in IMAX, how he and David S. Goyer chose Bane as the film’s villain, and he also explained his reasoning behind a certain plot point of the pic (Nolan says this plot point isn’t a spoiler since it’s the jumping off point of the film, but if you’d rather steer clear then skip the final two paragraphs of the article). Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

Christopher Nolan image Batman The Dark KnightIn the interview with Hero Complex, Nolan talked about the emotion that came with realizing he wouldn’t be directing another Batman film again:

“I tend not to be too emotional on the set, I find that doesn’t help me do my job, but you definitely get a little lump in your throat thinking that, ‘OK, this is going to be the last time we’re going to be doing this.’ It’s been quite a journey…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. And with these newer characters too, finishing with Anne and all these guys. It was quite touching, I must say.”

The director confirmed that, depending on how the final edit of the film ends up, he expects about 45 to 50 minutes of the film will be comprised of IMAX footage. He and director of photography Wally Pfister have made no secret of the fact that they favor IMAX to any other camera, and they ambitiously chose to film a large portion of The Dark Knight Rises with the bulky, noisy cameras. The IMAX cameras are so loud that any dialogue scenes shot with them have to be re-dubbed in post-production because it’s impossible to hear the actors over the sounds of the machines.

It was no easy task choosing a villain to follow-up Heath Ledger’s brilliant portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight, and Nolan admits that he wasn’t too familiar with Bane at first:

“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.”

dark-knight-rises-movie-image-tom-hardy-bane-hi-res-01The key to the villain again seems to come down to the performance:

“Getting an actor like Tom [Hardy] 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. He’s a very, very physical actor. He transforms himself and it’s there in every movement. He’s not afraid to look at a character from the outside as well as the inside so there’s a deep psychological branch to the character but also a very, very specific awareness of how he’s going to use his body and his appearance to express that character too. Christian is like that too, very much.”

In finding a story to conclude his trilogy, Nolan said that Bane provides an opportunity to “close out the trilogy in a powerful and definitive way.” The character provides a formidable opponent to Batman in the way of pure brawn:

“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.”

dark-knight-rises-bane-teaser-posterNolan seems to not be hiding the fact that The Dark Knight Rises picks up eight years after The Dark Knight. Why such a long time jump? It all comes down to weight. The director says the leap make sense once we’ve seen the movie:

“It will make a lot more sense to people when they see the film, 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.”

The specificity of the time period was crucial, and Nolan says Bale went to great lengths to portray what that time lapse means to Batman on the screen:

“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.”

You can check out the entire interview at Hero Complex, but be wary of minor spoilers. While we’re still quite a ways away from The Dark Knight Rises, fans will be given some goodies to tide them over. The prologue will be attached to certain IMAX prints of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and a new trailer for the pic hits this week. The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20th, 2012.

Tom Hardy Bane THE DARK KNIGHT RISES image

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