It was the best of times in Gotham City, it was the worst of times in Gotham City. At this weekend’s press day for The Dark Knight Rises, director Christopher Nolan and co-writer Jonathan Nolan explained how the end of their Batman trilogy was influenced by Charles Dickens‘ 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities. The connection makes sense since all the marketing shows us a Gotham crumbling in a way that’s similar to the destruction in the days leading up to the French Revolution in Dickens’ novel.
Hit the jump for how the Nolans explained the intentional similarity between their movie and Dickens’ book. The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20th.
Speaking to ComingSoon, Christopher Nolan said that Jonathan’s screenplay was around 400 pages (I’d love to set aside half a day to read that). He went on to say:
“It had all this crazy stuff in it. As part of a primer when he handed it to me, he said, ‘You’ve got to think of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ which, of course, you’ve read.’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I read the script and was a little baffled by a few things and realized that I’d never read ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. It was just one of those things that I thought I had done. Then I got it, read it and absolutely loved it and got completely what he was talking about… When I did my draft on the script, it was all about ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.”
The class warfare in the film connects back to Dickens’ novel, and Jonathan commented how their movie was developing the socioeconomic revolution plot years before the Occupy movement:
“Chris and David [Goyer] started developing the story in 2008 right after the second film came out,” he says. “Before the recession. Before Occupy Wall Street or any of that. Rather than being influenced by that, I was looking to old good books and good movies. Good literature for inspiration… What I always felt like we needed to do in a third film was, for lack of a better term, go there. All of these films have threatened to turn Gotham inside out and to collapse it on itself. None of them have actually achieved that until this film. ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ was, to me, one of the most harrowing portrait of a relatable, recognizable civilization that completely folded to pieces with the terrors in Paris in France in that period. It’s hard to imagine that things can go that badly wrong.”
Personally, I’ve never read A Tale of Two Cities (my Dickens book in high school was David Copperfield), and I’m not sure if I’ll have time to read it before The Dark Knight Rises comes out. However, if you’ve got some time to kill, you’re in the mood for some classic literature, desperate for anything The Dark Knight Rises, and have a Kindle, A Tale of Two Cities is free to download.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Dark Knight Rises:
Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act.
But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar(R) winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar(R) winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake. Returning to the main cast, Oscar(R) winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar(R) winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox. The screenplay is written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven, who previously teamed on “Batman Begins” and the record-breaking blockbuster “The Dark Knight.” The executive producers are Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull, with Jordan Goldberg serving as co-producer. The film is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane.
Click here for all of our previous coverage or browse the links below:
- 13-Minute TV Special
- New Footage in Latest TV Spot for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES plus Bane Viral Poster
- The Dark Knight Rises Trailer from the MTV Movie Awards Officially Goes Online
- The Dark Knight Rises Figures and Toys Reveal New Vehicles and a Mystery Character
- A New TV Spot for The Dark Knight Rises Features Banter between Batman and Catwoman
- Bane’s Weapon is Revealed!
- Viral Campaign for The Dark Knight Rises Reveals a New Character and Plot Points
- Fan-Made The Dark Knight Rises Banner
- Viral Campaign’s Gotham Observer
- New Promo Posters
- Newest TV Spot for The Dark Knight Rises
- Create Your Own Dark Knight Rises TV Spot for Christopher Nolan to Judge
- New Footage Galore in Latest TV Spot
- New Images of The Bat
- Listen to Samples of Hans Zimmer’s Score from The Dark Knight Rises
- First Teaser Trailer for The Dark Knight RisesMobile Game
- Batman Begins to Be Converted to Digital IMAX for Trilogy Marathon
- Soundtrack Listing and New TV Spot
- Advance Tickets Now On Sale
- New footage from the MTV Movie Awards
- Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Trailer 3, Trailer 4
- Warner Bros. Initially Wanted Leonardo DiCaprio as The Riddler for The Dark Knight Rises
- Gotham Rogues Wide Receiver Hines Ward Action Figure
- Christopher Nolan Says He Was “Nervous” to Include Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises; Christian Bale Talks the Future of the Franchise
- TV Spot “Retired”
- 20 Things to Know from our The Dark Knight RisesSet Visit
- Limited Edition The Dark Knight Rises-Themed Nokia Phone
- TV Spot, Banners, Images, SDCC Action Figure, and Promo Posters
- Mega Gallery featuring 50 Images and 15 Posters
- Catwoman Poster
- New Footage to Premiere During the MTV Movie Awards
- Set Visit Preview and Four New Banners