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About The Characters
"You either die a hero… or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

"The Dark Knight” reunites several members of the ensemble cast from "Batman Begins,” leading with Christian Bale in the title role. Bale says he welcomed the opportunity to once again inhabit the solitary figure, who has had to relinquish much of his personal identity for the greater good. He offers, "Bruce is certainly sacrificing, both mentally and physically, as a consequence of this character of Batman whom he has unleashed and now is unable to rein in anymore. More than a persona, he has created a symbol, and that symbol can't have limits. He can't show weakness ever. So you have the conflict between what is good for Bruce Wayne and what is the right thing for Batman to do, because the two of them are not always compatible.”

"Working with Christian is a joy and just a lot of fun. He is a very engaging presence to have on the set,” says Nolan. "He also has an intensity about him; he is incredibly focused on tapping into the psychological reality of whatever character he's playing. He applies the same disciplined approach to finding the truth of that character and sticks to it. That is a great help to me as a filmmaker because I know he is prepared and has a handle on how his character is going to move through the story. In fact, he has a lot of the same qualities that Bruce Wayne brings to bear in changing himself from an ordinary man into this extraordinary crime-fighting figure.”

"Christian brought everything to his performance that you could want for the character—the stature, the emotional resonance, the complexity,” Roven states. "It was amazing to be on the set watching him. He took his role to another level in this film.” Nolan adds that although Bale portrays the same character in "The Dark Knight” that he did in "Batman Begins,” the two films presented the actor with very different challenges. "On ‘Batman Begins,' it was a lot of physical effort—he had to get himself in terrific shape and learn all kinds of skills in terms of the way Batman fights, the way he moves. On this film, I would say it required more of an internal process because Bruce is realizing the personal toll of living this double life and is questioning the choices he's made. Christian conveys that emotional struggle very convincingly, often without saying a word.”

Nevertheless, the role of Batman has an inherent physicality, so Bale immersed himself in a refresher course on the Keysi Fighting Method (KFM) that Batman employs against his enemies. A relatively young martial arts discipline, KFM is an intuitive fighting method with a strong emphasis on mental focus, but Bale also had to be in peak physical condition. He trained with Keysi fight coordinators Andy Norman and Justo Dieguez for two to three hours every day. "In KFM, you learn to develop every part of your body as a weapon, and it's not easy,” Norman relates. "We worked Christian extremely hard, and it was fantastic how quickly he absorbed everything. There was a definite progression in his training since the first film. He understands KFM a lot better, so he was more powerful and his movement was incredible.”

"It's a fascinating fighting method,” says Bale, "because it uses the adrenaline that everyone feels entering into a threatening or violent situation. It really comes from the gut. Rather than the kind of Zen calm that some martial arts call on, KFM is based on animal instinct and honing those instincts to be lethal, so it's perfect for Batman.” But The Dark Knight is about to confront a singular criminal called The Joker, who has little regard for Keysi or any other fighting method. In a fair fight, "Batman would obliterate him,” Bale asserts, "but The Joker doesn't fight fair. He has other tricks up his sleeve, so it's more of a mind game. But he finds in Batman<

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