THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
About The Production
Batman is the hero Gotham deserves but not the one it needs right now.
Those words, spoken by Commissioner Gordon at the end of 2008's "The Dark
Knight," set in motion a fateful conspiracy that labeled Batman a murderer and
Harvey Dent-who died, unbeknownst to the public, as the vengeful Two-Face-a
crime-fighting crusader who paid the ultimate price. Predicated on that lie,
Gotham City enacted tough new laws that put criminals behind bars or drove them
beyond Gotham's borders.
Director/writer/producer Christopher 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."
With this film, the last in his Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan completes the
story arc he commenced with 2005's "Batman Begins." He recalls, "We were all
very excited to bring this tale full circle; that was our chief inspiration for
returning to Gotham. We also felt a tremendous sense of responsibility to
fulfill expectations based on the first two movies while giving the audience
something they hadn't seen before. It was a tricky balance."
The filmmakers and cast were also intent on maintaining a balance between
heart-pounding action and intimate emotion. Producer Emma Thomas affirms, "Right
from the start, Chris set out to make each of these films something that could
not be categorized into any one genre. 'The Dark Knight Rises' has all of the
excitement and fun that a big summer movie ought to have. The action is huge,
but the story and characters are equally, if not more, important, because it's
hard to care about all the bells and whistles if there isn't something to engage
you in an emotional way."
Producer Charles Roven adds, "We all want to be wowed, but we also want to be
invested. Regardless of the scope, Chris has never lost his focus on the story
and relationships, which goes back through all of his movies."
At the center of the story through all three films is one character. Nolan
states, "Our guiding impulse in this telling of the Batman legend has always
been to follow
Bruce Wayne's journey. That was something I was very keen on, as were
(co-writers) David Goyer and my brother, Jonah (Nolan)."
Christian Bale, who reprises the film's title role, details, "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 purposeā¦until he is forced to deal with a new threat to the city and to
That threat comes in the form of a merciless, masked villain named Bane, who
makes his presence known to the citizens of Gotham with an explosive display of
power. 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 relates, "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 strength with 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
Initially, however, it is not Bane who draws Bruce Wayne out of Wayne Manor;
it is an intriguing encounter with a particularly skilled thief named Selina
Kyle-better known in the Batman canon as Catwoman. Nolan says, "We felt very
strongly that we should have Catwoman in this film, but we always look for an
organic way of grounding the characters in our world. Selina is a cat burglar, a
grifter, a classic movie femme fatale, really. That was my way in, and we drew
the iconic figure of Catwoman from that."
The only member of the main cast who counts this film as her first
collaboration with Nolan, Anne Hathaway admits, "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
Screenwriter Jonathan Nolan says, "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."
"The Dark Knight Rises" introduces two new allies for Bruce Wayne and, by
extension, Batman. Marion Cotillard plays Miranda Tate, a wealthy
philanthropist, who sits on the board of Wayne Enterprises and later becomes a
trusted friend. Joseph Gordon-Levitt joins the ensemble as another original
character: Gotham City police officer John Blake, who impresses Commissioner
Gordon with his courage and integrity.
Gary Oldman returns to the role of Gotham City's top cop, Commissioner
Gordon, who withheld the truth of Harvey Dent's demise at great personal cost.
"He respects Batman's sacrifice, but allowing the citizens of Gotham to be fed a
lie goes against everything that Gordon believes in," the actor says.
Bruce Wayne's loyal butler, Alfred is portrayed once more by Michael Caine.
Nolan says, "Alfred and Bruce have the strongest of emotional bonds, which has
been tested in one way or another in each film, but in 'The Dark Knight Rises,'
it's tested as never before. As somebody who cares deeply for Bruce, Alfred
questions the decisions he's making and the direction his life is going, and
that inevitably brings about conflict."
Another person who has been entrusted with the knowledge of Batman's true
identity is Wayne Enterprises' ingenious CEO Lucius Fox, again played by Morgan
Jonathan Nolan remarks, "One of the great pleasures of working on this film is
the opportunity to write again for Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan
Freeman. The common link of their three characters is that each has represented
a father figure for Bruce Wayne, the closest, of course, being Alfred. But
Alfred, Gordon and Lucius have all, in their own way, shown him different
aspects of how to be a better man."
Throughout the trilogy, Fox has equipped Batman with his ever-evolving
resources, from his Batsuit, to the Tumbler, to the agile Bat-Pod, which enabled
the Dark Knight to maneuver nimbly through the streets of Gotham City. In this
film, he can finally navigate above them, via his new airborne vehicle-part
helicopter, part jump jet and aptly named The Bat.
The director also rai
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