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BATMAN BEGINS

The Batmobile, Batsuit & Gadgetry
The Batmobile is an integral part of the Batman legend, and in accordance with director Christopher Nolan's credo that every aspect of the film be firmly rooted in reality, the vehicle driven by the Dark Knight in Batman Begins was conceived in such a way that ensured that its design be absolutely in tune with the narrative. Says Nolan, "We were looking to present Batman as a very functional figure, somebody very concerned with utility, and so we wanted to create a vehicle that would actually perform in ways that are useful to the character.”

Production designer Nathan Crowley set up a workshop in Nolan's garage, where he focused on many key elements of the film, primarily the Batmobile. As Nolan and co-screenwriter David Goyer wrote the screenplay inside the house, they would share ideas with Crowley about how they were envisioning the vehicle; their ideas informed Crowley's designs, and Crowley's designs contributed to important aspects of the script.

"I've never been on a project where I've gotten to do conceptual work so early on,” Crowley comments. "We set up a little machine shop and started making models of cars out of anything we could get our hands on. Chris would take a break from writing and come into the garage, where I'd be with my car concepts, covered in glue. We made about five or six versions of the Batmobile over a period of about eight weeks.”

Throughout the course of the Batman legend, the Batmobile has always been presented as a contemporary vehicle, but with a sense of exaggeration and extremity to it. Following Nolan's mantra of realism, it was important that every aspect of the Batmobile have a clear purpose, rather than just a mishmash of impressive-looking details. What resulted is a design that evokes a hybrid of a Lamborghini and a Humvee, a vehicle that combined the functional muscle of a tank with the finesse and handling of a sports car.

In the universe of the story, the Batmobile began as a military prototype bridging vehicle called "The Tumbler,” designed by the Wayne Enterprises' Applied Sciences division for the purpose of jumping across ditches and facilitating the moving of men and equipment over water and vast open space. Due to its expense, Wayne Enterprises never mass-produced the vehicle, but upon Bruce Wayne's discovery of the prototype, he maximizes its stealth design and extraordinary applications to become a powerful weapon in Batman's quest for justice.

Because Crowley preferred making three-dimensional models rather than conceptual drawings, when he and Nolan brought their Batmobile concepts to special effects workshop supervisor Andrew Smith, they had a fully-formed, three-dimensional plastic model that detailed exactly what they envisioned for the vehicle.

"Within six months, Andy and his team designed and built five of these things from scratch,” says the director. "I never expected them to be able to build a version of the Batmobile that could actually do all of the things that it's supposed to be able to do in the film, but they did it. It's a monster, it's a beast, and it's beautifully designed.”

"I finally understood men's fascinations with cars after I saw the Batmobile in action,” Katie Holmes recalls with a laugh. "I thought, Okay, I get it. This is awesome! I have the privilege of riding in it in the movie and it's even better on the inside.”

While most film vehicles are comprised of a pre-existing car frame with a plastic shell placed over it, Smith's team custom-made every aspect of the Batmobile, from the wheels to the chassis to the bodywork.

The Batmobile is equipped with a 5.7 liter, 350 cubic inch, 340-horsepower engine with approximately 400 pounds of torque. 9 feet, 4 inches at its widest point, the vehicle is 15 feet long and weighs 2.5 tons. It accelerates from 0-60 in under 5 seconds and can jump 4-6 feet in height, up to a distance of 60

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