The Dark Knight Set Visit : Charles Roven


The rain is no more as Ipods were being switched off and conversation between foreign nationals quickly halted. All in time as the coach pulled a corner that gave the occupants of the coach a view of a very odd parking lot. Instructed not to take any pictures, I can only describe what was on show. Your regular sedans, mini-vans and executive vehicles are each parked along the edge of gravel and grassy parking spaces, however stuck between them every so often are over-sized ‘boys toys’.

Gotham City Police vehicles, a SWAT truck and a taxi. Chunky, meaty metal, like a giant kid’s Tonka set.

Pulling up, I hear a couple of hacks whisper; “Get your questions in before that guy.” They look at me. “The one with the beard.” It wasn’t me they were talking about, as I didn’t have a beard. Not since it was er ‘cool’ to have one like De Niro in ‘Heat’ back in ’97. I knew it was a former colleague of mine from one of the big mags. He always has great questions, so I felt the need to inform him and create some necessary rivalry.


The beautifully kind folk at the WB show us around. I catch a glimpse of some odd extras, eyeballing our passes. I’m with ‘Super Mary’ from Warners, an impressively experienced ace I’ve met a few times over. I feel like I’m on spectacular zoo tour from outer space, passing glances at wide-eyed and curious ‘background artists’, wondering who the hell I was. “We’ll be having lunch in there.” I’m told, as I’m gestured to peer into a canteen. Mmm, nice dinner smells escape and fill my nostrils as I ascend a narrow stairwell.

A small room with the odd comfy chair and sofa, each arranged in a circle, facing a ‘Mastermind’ leather office chair. Whilst the overseas journos take heed of the freebie biscuits and tea, I take a seat near that one, naturally presuming the leather one is for our interviewee. I’m handed a tea and a cookie by unseen, friendly hands, also gaining narrowed scowls from the Bitter of Hacks around me.

A big ole plasma screen, that wouldn’t go amiss in my flat, is fixed nearby. It flickers and depicts CHRISTIAN BALE as BATMAN running through a warehouse-looking building, with scaffolding and sparks and gunshots sounding off. Brightlights and a greenscreen can also be seen. It’s live footage for what is being shot downstairs.

Entering the circle first is Charles Roven.

Charles Roven has produced some of the most diverse and in my mind some truly impressive and favorable movies in Hollywood, ranging from ‘’Batman Begins’’, ‘’Brothers Grimm’’ and ‘’Scooby-Doo’’ to ‘’City of Angels’’, ‘’Twelve Monkeys’’ and ‘’Three Kings’’. His upcoming releases will include ‘’Get Smart’’ and the recent Jason Statham hit ‘’The Bank Job’’.

I’m about to ask my first question when one of the overseas guys chips in before me with a typically wasted question.

Overseas Journo: Will you keep The Dark Knight title or will you have ‘Batman: The Dark Knight’? Audiences could get confused and not know it is a Batman movie.

Charles Roven frowns. I curl my lip, tilting my head, exchanging a look with a former colleague who is tutting and sighing.

Charles Roven: I think people will know that it’s Batman. The Bat logo will be present and it’s a big movie.. er… I don’t think it’ll confuse anyone.

Damn right. I think everyone of the face of the planet will know Warner Bros have a new Batman movie and rightly so. It’s BATMAN. I remember lining up one Wednesday afternoon in 1989, pre-internet, pre-the-media frenzy life is today and the audiences knew THEN that Batman was upon us because of that glistening yellow Bat logo set against the simple black background.

I digress.

Bowdie: What can you tell us about The Dark Knight movie?

Mr. Roven reclines in his chair and reels off that this is the first time Batman actually leaves Gotham, AS Batman. He goes to Hong Kong. Batman’s going to Hong Kong. He says. It’s exciting stuff.

Charles Roven: It’s being shot on IMAX. That’s expensive.

Bowdrie: Joel Schumacher made me feel Gotham was actually New York due to the shot of the Statue of Liberty in one of his Batman films. How does Gotham City look this time round? Is there anything iconic to look out for?

Charles Roven: It looks and feels like Gotham.

Bowdrie: Is anyone contracted for a third movie?

Charles Roven (smiling): I believe Christian is contracted to a second sequel… and Gary Oldman. I don’t know if anyone else is.

Charles tells us that the opening of The Dark Knight movie will be the trailer intended for the Will Smith starrer ‘I Am Legend’. It’ll be the ‘Joker Prologue’, but only viewed in IMAX theatres. That trailer is of a scene featuring Heath Ledger’s Joker in an apparent 7 minute scene that kicks off the movie.

Charles is due back on set. We’re expecting lunch soon and after lunch, we’re told Christian Bale will make an appearance, though for how long, it’s unclear, due to his shooting schedule. Director Chris Nolan is also expected.

During my impressive lunch I catch up with the Warner Girls and ask what else we can expect.

WB Girl: Wait until you see the bike. Oh, you wanna see the set, too, right? How you been, anyway? Didn’t we last meet on….

My mind races at the thought of seeing THE bike and THE set.

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