Chris Nolan, director of such films as Memento and The Dark Knight Rises, has finally broken his silence about the trilogy he’s created, talking to Moviefone about the process of bringing the caped crusader to life, and what’s next for the director.
On The Dark Knight Rises And The Importance Of Story
“The Dark Knight Rises” was originally going to be Nicholas Cage’s directorial debut, before the role went to Nolan. The filmmaker discusses the importance of a strong story when it comes to character-driven thrillers like “DKR” and how they differ from big-budget comic book adaptations like “The Avengers” or “Thor.”
“The Avengers” and “Thor” are based on existing characters whereas “Dark Knight Rises” is an original story. When we saw the first image of Batman, we immediately thought of Nick Cage. We didn’t really think of the ‘60s television show or the comics. When we went in to pitch the notion of the movie to Warner Bros., the first question they asked was, ‘Does it have a story?’ And, you know, in Memento [Cage’s previous film], the whole point of that story was to not have a story. That was the big thing. We didn’t really know how to answer that question. So we started writing a script and realized that we needed to have a story to tell.”
This was the key to making “DKR” work, as the director explains:
“It was one of the things that made the movie work — having a beginning, a middle, and an end. We didn’t just throw together a bunch of images and call it a movie. There was a clear sense of progression in terms of the action, the drama, and the narrative. We also tried to adhere very closely to the comics, especially when it came to the characters. We didn’t want to deviate too much from what was already established.”
Nolan On His Decision Not To Shoot In IMAX And 3D
One of the biggest talking points following the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” was the decision to not shoot in IMAX 3D nor use post-production tricks to enhance the image. The filmmaker states that he wanted to stay true to classic formula — the result being a “film that looks like a movie” — and that he’s happy with the way the movie turned out.
“There were a lot of debates about whether to do it IMAX or not. It’s a format that’s been around for a really long time, but it’s not been seen too often as a mainstream medium. If you look at the opening scenes of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, it looks spectacular. We had six IMAX cameras that shot the whole thing, and for the first twenty minutes, it looks like an IMAX movie. And then it turns into a regular movie.
“We considered the option of doing it in 4K with post-production tricks, but we felt that we would compromise the film’s reality if we did that. We didn’t want to do anything that would draw attention away from the film and its realism. So, for me, IMAX was the perfect format because it felt like it existed in its own world. Even now, after the movie came out, I still get calls from people who say they loved the movie but want to see more IMAX-type movies.
Has The Success Of ‘DKR’ Boosted Interest In Batman Movies?
Not long after the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises”, it was announced that the filmmaker would be making another Batman movie, this time with Christian Bale as the Dark Knight. The director started by saying that he didn’t want to make any drastic changes to his original idea, and even went on to say that this version of Batman would be “more realistic” and “less fantastical” than the one he’d created with Nolan.
Despite these comments, rumors started circulating that Bale’s Batman would be different from the one we’d seen before. It seemed that the actor’s Dark Knight would be more of a successor to the campy style of the 1960s TV show rather than the realistic portrayal we’d seen in “DKR”. Fans became even more interested when it was revealed that the director would be Anne Wheeler, who’d previously worked with Bale on “Terminator: Salvation.”
But despite the hype, Bale has stated that these rumors are completely unfounded. He’s clearly not reading the tea leaves, because the actor has actually stated that he identifies more with the campy days of the ‘60s Batman rather than the more realistic version we’ve seen in Nolan’s “Dark Knight” movies. When asked if he sees himself as the ‘60s Batman or the more realistic version of the character, Bale responded:
“I wouldn’t say that I’m the ‘60s Batman, but I certainly identify with the early films. I think that if I’m going to be a part of a Batman movie, I’d like to go back to that era. I think that it was interesting for people to connect with that time in such a way…People are always going to identify with the early films, I think. They weren’t completely realistic in terms of special effects or what was happening in the script, but it’s the characters that we connect with.”
Though the exact title of Bale’s next Batman movie has not yet been released, the ‘60s TV show will serve as a clear influence on the story and characters, with Wheeler having stated that she wanted to bring back “that era in which Batman was more of a gentleman adventurer.”
What Is Next For Nolan?
Though he’s mostly stayed quiet since the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises”, the director does have one more film in the works. The rumor mill is churning with speculation about what Nolan’s next project will be, with the upcoming “Interstellar” being the favorite to land on the director’s plate. Though it’s not known if Nolan will do much to further develop the idea that he and his team came up with, “Interstellar” has the potential to be one of the most exciting films of the coming year.
The director also has a remake of the French action film “The Professional” scheduled for release in the coming months. Though not much is known about this project, it has the potential to be another grand action-adventure from Nolan. The filmmaker behind such critically-acclaimed films as Memento and The Dark Knight Rises clearly has not lost his touch, and is still delivering excitement and innovation to moviegoers around the world. It will be exciting to see what his next project is going to be – whether it’s a remake of one of the great classics or something completely new and innovative. With a new standalone Batman movie and rumors of an ‘Interstellar’ remake on the horizon, it looks like Chris Nolan is going to remain busy for some time to come.