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Director Christopher Nolan recently sat down with Hero Complex to discuss the ending of his Batman trilogy, which kicked off with 2005’s Batman Begins, continued with The Dark Knight in 2008 and will conclude on July 20 with The Dark Knight Rises. After addressing the passion fans have for Batman and the franchise, the filmmaker went into detail about how he settled on Bane (played by Tom Hardy) as the main villain.
“I didn’t know him very well,” Nolan said. “David Goyer got me a bunch of stuff on him and we looked into him. I only knew him by name, I wasn’t familiar with his back story. He’s a very cool character. And getting an actor like Tom to take it on, you know you’re going to get something very special. Tom is somebody who really knows how to put character into every gesture, every aspect of his physicality in the way that great actors can. He’s a very, very physical actor. He transforms himself and it’s there in every movement. He’s not afraid to look at a character from the outside as well as the inside so there’s a deep psychological branch to the character but also a very, very specific awareness of how he’s going to use his body and his appearance to express that character too. Christian [Bale] is like that too, very much.”
Nolan delved into even more detail about why the schematics of the Bane character were not only a way for him to break new ground, but also to give Batman a big challenge.
“With Bane, the physicality is the thing,” Nolan said. “With a good villain you need an archetype, you know, you need the extreme of some type of villainy. The Joker is obviously a particular archetype of diabolical, chaotic anarchy and has a devilish sense of humor. Bane, to me, is something we haven’t dealt with in the films. We wanted to do something very different in this film. He’s a primarily physical villain, he’s a classic movie monster in a way — but with a terrific brain. I think he’s a fascinating character. I think people are going to get a kick out of what we’ve done with him.”
Nolan finished the interview by explaining that by picking up Rises right after Dark Knight, he intends to show the sacrifices that Batman and Commissioner Gordon made as having caused some real change in Gotham. “They have to achieve something for the ending of that film — and the feeling at the end of that film — to have validity,” Nolan said. “Their sacrifice has to have meaning and it takes time to establish that and to show that, and that’s the primary reason we did that. It’s a time period that is not so far ahead that we would have to do crazy makeup or anything — which I think would be distracting — but it gave them something to get their teeth into, particularly Christian in terms of [portraying] this guy who has been frozen in this moment in time with nowhere to go. He really has done an incredible job figuring out how to characterize that and express that.”
In addition to Bale and Hardy, The Dark Knight Rises also stars Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.