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THE DARK KNIGHT

About The Production
"Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

With "Batman Begins,” writer/director Christopher Nolan opened a new chapter in the Batman film franchise by taking the legendary character back to his origins, reimagining why and how the billionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne became the enigmatic crime fighter known to the world as Batman. In "The Dark Knight” Nolan returns to the Batman saga with the character now, in the director's words, "fully formed.”

Nolan continues, "I thought we left the world of Batman at an interesting place in the first film, and the end suggested an intriguing direction in which the story could continue.” Nolan developed the story with David S. Goyer, with whom he had collaborated on the screenplay for "Batman Begins.” Nolan and his brother, Jonathan, then partnered on the screenplay for "The Dark Knight.”

In "The Dark Knight,” Nolan says he focused more on how Batman's very existence has changed Gotham City…and not, at least initially, for the better. "At the end of ‘Batman Begins,' we hinted at the threat of escalation—that in going after the city's crime cartels and attacking their interests, Batman could provoke an even greater response from the criminal community and now that has come to pass. There are some very negative consequences of his crusade brewing in Gotham City.”

Producer Charles Roven offers that the issue extends beyond Gotham's resident criminals. "On the one hand, Batman has begun to rid Gotham of the crime and corruption that has plagued the city, but, ironically, the vacuum he created draws in an even more powerful criminal element, who see it as their chance to take over the city.”

Producer Emma Thomas notes, "In ‘Batman Begins' we largely concentrated on the origins of the character—how Batman evolved out of Bruce Wayne's own early trauma, his fears, his anger and, finally, his resolve to fight crime and corruption. In ‘The Dark Knight,' Batman has become well-known to the police and citizens of Gotham City, but while some consider him a hero, others wonder if he is doing more harm than good. And the arrival of a new kind of criminal raises the stakes on that debate.

"What's intriguing,” Thomas adds, "is that the billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne— with his fabulous cars, a beautiful woman on each arm and not a care in the world—is not at all who this man really is. So while Bruce Wayne wears a mask to hide his identity as Batman, it is actually Batman who defines Bruce's true identity, and the public persona of Bruce Wayne is the ‘mask' he wears to co-exist in this world.”

It didn't start out that way. Returning to the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, Christian Bale asserts, "I believe Bruce thought it would be a finite thing, that Batman would serve as an inspiration to Gotham City and that he would eventually be able to leave this character he conceived behind. But he is coming to understand, more and more, that this is not something he can easily walk away from now…or possibly ever. There are new enemies to protect the city from.”

The most dangerous of these enemies is Batman's most infamous nemesis—a maniacal, remorseless fiend known as The Joker. "The Joker is the ultimate screen arch-villain,” Nolan attests. "In his own way, The Joker is as much an icon as The Dark Knight is, and that presented us with both an opportunity and a challenge in terms of exploring the character's distorted point of view. But we also wanted to create a villain who, as colorful and outrageous as he is, is still coming from a place of reality. In keeping with the tone we established in ‘Batman Begins,' we determined he is a pretty serious guy, despite being called The Joker. So we began with the notion of The Joker as<

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