Plenty of new details revealed in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES production notes

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We’re just a couple weeks away from director Chris Nolan’s final installment in his Batman trilogy. Just calling it one of the most anticipated films of the year, is a gross understatement. And the guys over at Warner Bros, know exactly how hungry we are for this film which is why they’ve been feeding us a steady diet of promo material tidbits for the last month and a half.

This latest release though, is not so much a morsel as it is a veritable feast, as they’ve released 50 pages of production notes. Luckily for us, ComingSoon.net has sifted through all the pages to find the most relevant bits of info.

And while I have not included any details relating to the actual plot, keeping it to just a technical or character motivation nature, I do know that there are some of you that would want to go into this film completely blind, in which case I suggest you rather turn back now.

Speaking about the 8-year gap between the last film and this, director Chris Nolan says:

“Our story picks up eight years later, when it seems that Batman and Commissioner Gordon have succeeded—the Dark Knight is no longer needed in Gotham.  In that regard, Bruce Wayne has won the battle, but he is traumatized by what happened and doesn’t know how to move on from being the figure of Batman.  ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ very much deals with the consequences of his and other characters’ actions in the previous films.”

Christian Bale posits on how Bruce Wayne has changed through the story:

“In ‘Batman Begins,’ you see the tragedy and the pain that motivates this angry young man, who feels useless and is searching for a path—who wants to find out who he is and what he can become.  Then in ‘The Dark Knight,’ he’s discovered that path.  He is useful; he is doing what he imagines is the best thing for him to be doing in his life.  Now, we are eight years on and he has lost the one thing that gave him a purpose…until he is forced to deal with a new threat to the city and to himself.”

Christian Bale discusses Bane:

“While the Scarecrow was a madman and the Joker an anarchist, “Bane is a terrorist in both  his mentality and his actions,” says actor Tom Hardy, who plays  Batman’s new arch-nemesis.  “He is physically intimidating and he’s also very intelligent, which makes him even more dangerous.

Nolan on Bane:

“In deciding on who the next villain would be, it was imperative that it  was someone completely different from the Joker—that he be a  brute force.  The physical component of what Bruce Wayne does as Batman is of  extraordinary importance, and we had not truly challenged that in the first two films.  I really wanted to see Batman meet his match physically, as well as intellectually.  Bane is raw strengthwith a fanatical devotion to duty, and that combination makes him unstoppable.”

“This is the first time it appears highly unlikely that Batman will come out on top in a physical altercation,” Bale  allows.  “He has  been dormant for years, so he’s in a weakened condition to begin with, and Bane is not only incredibly strong but ruthless in terms of his sheer militancy and the ideology that drives him.”

Tom Hardy on Bane: 

“Bane has come to do a job and has no feelings of remorse.”

Anne Hathaway admits about Selina Kyle aka Catwoman: 

“It’s hard to reveal anything about Selina Kyle because she is intensely private and very mysterious.  She has her own code of ethics, which sometimes involves doing things that other people might consider questionable.”

“I think Selina does what is necessary to survive and that includes crossing a few lines that others might find unforgivable.  Even if she wants to change, it’s hard to escape your past…and she does have a past.  That makes her vulnerable, especially these days when anyone with a computer or smartphone can look up almost anything about you.  Everybody has moments in life when they think, ‘If I knew then what I know now…’  Selina might like the opportunity not to have to live by the choices she was forced to make up to this point.”

Screenwriter (and Chris’s brother) Jonathan Nolan also talks about the cat burglar: 

“Something about her morally ambiguous philosophy finally gives Batman someone he can relate to.  In a weird way, she’s the yin to his yang.  The dynamic between them is so fresh—the playful way she kind of pokes fun at him—it  sparks a connection between them and takes some of the somberness away from his character.”

On the use of IMAX for the film:

The director also raised the bar for “The Dark Knight Rises” in expanding on hisuse of IMAX cameras.  Nearly half of the movie was shot with the large-format cameras, utilizing ultra resolution  15 perf/65-millimeter film.  Nolan  states, “We got great results with the IMAX cameras on the last film.   I appreciate what it offers from the technical side, but I’m most interested in what it can give me as a storytelling tool.  How can it help me pull the audience deeper into this world?   IMAX provides the  broadest possible canvas, creating the most immersive experience.”

On Commissioner Gordon:

“Gordon was more useful to the political leaders of Gotham when the city was overrun by organized crime,” Nolan points out.  “Now that is under control, so there are people eyeing his job, presuming he’s no longer needed.  But Gordon has been struggling with the fact that all of this is based ona false foundation.”

Gary Old man also talks Commissioner Gordon:

“It’s a secret that’s eaten away at him for years.Crime is at an all-time low in Gotham, but Gordon knows that it’s tainted.  Now he’s ready to come clean, but there doesn’t seem to be a right time or place, and he also questions if the city is ready for the truth.  Then, because of Bane, he’s in the field again.  I think he’s like a soldier who likes to be on the front lines, getting his hands dirty.  He’s probably been doing a lot of paper pushing in the intervening years and that has dampened his spirits.  Now you really feel like the old Gordon is back.”

Chris Nolan also talks about Bane and Batman’s epic fights in the film:

“This was very much a toe-to-toe, blow-to-blow physical clash, and Christian and Tom put an incredible amount of work into it.   Just the demands of the costumes—one character has the lower half of his face obscured, the other the upper half—posed problems.  They had trouble hearing each other because they were wearing those masks and working in very noisy environments while performing these feats.”

“It required very intense preparation. And when it came time to shoot, Christian and Tom worked extremely well together.  It was frighteningly real, and quite intimidating to see these iconic, larger-than-life characters really go at it. There are plenty of other large-scale action  scenes  in the film,  but that  face-to-face confrontation between these two adversaries was something I really felt  was the centerpiece of the film.”

On the music of the film:

For this final installment, Zimmer included echoes of the earlier scores, but, he says, “We went in a completely different direction for  Bane.   I wanted to use a big symphony orchestra, but I said to them, ‘I’m going to make you unlearn everything you’ve learned.  I’m going to treat you as if you were a primeval drum circle.’  And it turned out to be very liberating for them, like a musical adventure,” he smiles.  

Zimmer says that, like the character, the theme accompanying Selina Kyle is “full of ambiguity, which is far more interesting than just being bad or good.  Chris’s movies always contain a certain amount of ambiguity, and I try to put some of that into the music.”

If you don’t mind a couple of minor plot spoilers, you can head over to the official Dark Knight Rises site where all 50 pages can be read, including details on how they filmed the incredibly dangerous and unprecedented mid-air plane escape shown off in the trailers and prologue of the film in just two days, and also how they went about designing the new Batcave for the film.

 

Last Updated: July 6, 2012

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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