The Dark Knight Set Visit : Nolan & Bale


Within the upstairs ‘interview’ room enters Director Christopher Nolan, who helmed ‘Memento’ and, in my opinion, the excellent film ‘Insomnia’, starring Al Pacino, Hillary Swank and Robin Williams. (I actually pretend that Pacino’s role is the same character from ‘Heat’ and he’s just investigating a different case).

There isn’t a great deal of time as – well – he’s directing a multi-million Dollar comic book movie sequel and strike me down if I’m wrong, but I’d go out on a limb to state there’s some heavy pressure to get it right. He’s not only directing, but taking up screenplay duties with his brother, who’s a damn good scribe in his own right.

He looks exhausted. The plasma TV screen behind us loops a scene we’ve been viewing over and over nearing two hours now.

A journo gets in with a question before he’s even sat down, asking him what his objective is with this movie.

Chris Nolan: To make it better than the first.

Bowdrie: Tim Burton’s Batman films were very dark and your own Batman Begins movie was a dark movie too, as was Memento, Insomnia and even The Prestige had similar haunting tones. To me it’s one of your traits. What can you say about the tone of The Dark Knight?

Chris Nolan: Well it’s dark too. (smirking), especially with The Joker. It’s an incredibly frightening perfomance from Heath. Entertaining and very intense.

I have a flashback of The Joker costume and a shiver is sent down my spine. Christopher Nolan and I exchange a look. It’s either the same as mine, which is that of a disturbed nightmarish thought of The Joker, or he’s just wanting the whole interview process to be over. Thinking now, I’d say it’s the former.

I ask him what his thoughts are on the Justice League movie currently in development (hell) and if it will interfere with his own Batman Universe.

Chris Nolan: I’m just concentrating on my own Batman film. I don’t know much about what else is being discussed and haven’t even been asked my opinion, so…

Bowdrie: Does Batman have any new gadgets to play with?

Chris Nolan: Um.. Yes.. Sonar Vision.

I glance back at the plasma screen and see Bale’s Batman having a fight with some henchmen. Batman’s eyes flash bright white. He looks devilish as several men attack him from all sides.

Bowdrie: There’s a rumor Russell Crowe is in the movie. Is that just another piece of tabloid gossip?

I don’t know where I got that from at all, but it causes Nolan to raise his eyebrows and then frown, just as another journalist intercepts with his own stammering, long-winded question, centring on ‘The Dark Knight’ title, previously answered by producer Charles Roven. Ugh! Why ask the same question to everybody and waste time?!

Christopher Nolan had to get back to directing duties and we’re informed Christian Bale may be spared between takes.

Christian Bale enters wearing the lower half of his Bat Suit, a dark fleece and a green baseball cap. His eyes are blackened, like a panda, due to him having just worn his cowl. He sits down and swigs a bottle of water.

A former colleague from one of the mags reels off a lengthy question about the current trend in revenge movies (Death Sentence, The Brave One, etc) and the ideas of vigilantism, linking death wish Dirty Harry and the Vietnam war period and Batman and the turmoil the world is in today…

Christian Bale: Er… I ‘aven’t gotta clue.

The bitter of hacks erupt in laughter, as Bale swigs another gulp of water.

Christian Bale: Is vigilantism even a word? You think far more than I do.

Bowdrie: How does this movie differ from the first one for you?

Christian Bale: Er.. There’s a lot of changes to the suit.. er.. kind of er.. It’s easier to move and erm.. You know I’ve done 3 movies with Chris now and this one is a lot more slicker. There’s no back story to tell.

Bowdrie: You have more time to tell the story?

Christian Bale: Yeah, we can get straight into it. Yeah.

Bowdrie: What are the challenges you’re facing now?

Christian Bale: Er.. I dunno.. erm.. In the last one it was looking for a good fighting form for Batman. Now we know what we want and like. Batman’s more confident. I can move easier, improvise better. Just making it better than the first one. Not just for me, but for everyone.

An overseas journo asks how it feels to play a superhero that is basically dead. (an odd one to ask, but hey, he’s been doing it all day)

Christian Bale: Er.. huh? Um.. I don’t think about it. I’m not a comic book fan. I never paid attention. This isn’t a comic book fashion, it’s a graphic novel fashion.. I don’t walk walk around racking my brains for seven months… You know, people talk about actors becoming their characters when they’re not filming. I’m er.. Batman. C’mon. I didn’t think when I did The Machinist that I was really out there, but er.. looking back.. I was really out there!

Bowdrie: How scary is The Joker?

Bale looks at me with his darkened eyes and nods his head, thinking. Is he Bale, Bruce Wayne or Batman?

Christian Bale: In Batman’s eyes he’s somebody full of nihilism. Batman has ethics… The Joker is different. He has no code. No strength. How do you fight somebody who is like that? He’s unpredictable. Yeah, he’s very scary. – Batman has achieved from the last film. He’s completed longevity.. He knows his past and it suggests in the last movie.. Batman can only deal with chaos and crisis.

Christian Bale is called back to the set and our coach is waiting to take us back to the smoke of London. Id like to thank , Charles Roven, Christian Bale, Lindy Hemming, Christopher Nolan and the welcoming professionals at Warner Bros for providing me with this opportunity, their precious time and talent and revealing the wonders of this magnificent production. Here’s to The Dark Knight.


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