The Dark Knight Rises press notes are out and we’ve had a look through them. Here are ten of the most interesting things that we found out when reading them.
1. Miranda Tate and John Blake are still distinctly suss
The two characters get seven paragraphs between them and they’re spoken of in the broadest possible terms. Miranda Tate is described by Christian Bale, on page 10, as: “She is beautiful, smart and altruistic, and all the good that she aspires to earns his respect and also intrigues him a great deal” whilst Blake is described on the same page by Nolan as “Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne have become somewhat jaded, so we wanted to contrast that with a younger, more idealistic individual who, in a way, represents where they’ve come from.”
If these aren’t characters who are being hidden from us they are doing the best impressions of characters being hidden from us that I have ever seen. Ever.
2. “We come back to find a man who is no longer on a mission, even though that had always been the goal.”
Christopher Nolan, on page 7, talking about the end of Bruce’s journey.
The idea that Bruce dies or is incapacitated at some point in the story, leading to John Blake taking over, is one I’m conflicted about. Nolan likes a clear throughline, even if he does like to build surprises around it and if nothing else, that’s a good reason for Bruce to leave the movie alive, if not necessarily in the suit. Then Nolan starts talking about survivor’s guilt, and the story coming full circle and we’re off to the races again. Still, not long now.
3. “Bane has come to do a job.”
That’s Tom Hardy, on Page 8, talking about Bane’s motivation and, maybe, the first clear indication that he’s the instrument of someone else. Could it be the League of Shadows? Or Ra’s al Ghul? What could anyone gain by occupying an American city for so long?
4. “Joe really captured the strength and courage of a man who refuses to back down, regardless of the odds.”
Christopher Nolan, on page 10, talking about John Blake and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s performance. The ongoing speculation about how many men wear the bat suit in this movie is really only going to get solved when we see the movie but, if you’re a believer, this does seem to mark Blake out as an exceptional crimefighter. In the immortal words of Wil Wheaton, I’ll just leave that there…
5. “He is our spokesman. He’s not tough like the others; he reacts like an ordinary human being in this situation.”
Michael Caine, on page 12, talking about Alfred’s position in the story. Alfred has always fascinated me as a character and Caine has done extraordinary work in these movies but I’ve never seen Alfred positioned as the audience viewpoint before. It may well have happened but this is the first time I’ve seen it articulated and it makes perfect sense. Plus it means he might not die which is always a plus.
6. “His clothes are militaristic, but are not in any way a uniform.”
Costume designer Lindy Hemming on page 12, talking about Bane’s costume design. It was decided, because Bane lived on the outskirts and undergrounds of the world, that his clothes would look scavenged and cobbled together, whilst still being militaristic. Apparently part of his outfit is a reconditioned old army tent.
7. ““Tom was already in fantastic shape when he arrived and he was up for anything. In fact, we practically had to kick him out of rehearsals because he wanted to train all the time. He wore us out.”
Fight coordinator, and Hardy’s stunt double, Buster Reeves, on page 15, talking about Tom Hardy. Hardy is an extraordinary actor who has show absolute willingness to change his physical stature and appearance drastically and his presence in the movie as Bane fascinates me.As they say later on, Bane speaks deliberately but moves incredibly quickly and that contrast is one that I’m really looking forward to.
8.”It was just a matter of finding my balance and building up my comfort level, but within a few hours I was racing around, having fun.”
Jolene Van Vugt, professional motocross and stunt rider, on page 17, talking about driving the batpod. The amount of work put into it, and the way the other production members talk about this sequence suggests we may have been sold a red herring here. Catwoman on the Batpod has been, to date, portrayed as her making a run from the city, but this seems to suggest she may spend more time with the vehicle than previously apparent.
9. “It occurred to us that we could carry over the same idea by flooding the Batcave so everything is hidden underwater. When you enter, it’s just a cave, but you press a button and up come these perfect cubes that hold different objects, from the Batsuit to a super computer.”
Nathan Crowley, one of the movie’s production designers, on page 20, talking about the bat cave. Wayne Manor is back and and the bat cave is finally operational. Crowley talks in further detail about how they tried to combine the design of the original cave, first seen in Batman Begins, and the Bat Bunker from The Dark Knight. The idea of closing the circle with Batman’s technology and approach in the story, as well as his own narrative path, sounds fascinating and I love the idea that he’s simply adapted to his suroundings rather than change them and attract attention.
10. “I always wanted the music to somehow pose the question of ‘what if’ for Bruce. But I do think that this movie leads to a sort of resolution—that those same two notes have shifted and now provide an answer.”
Hans Zimmer, on page 24, talking about Bruce’s theme. The scores are one of the highlights of these movies for me and only the other day someone pointed out to me that that the new trailers, with the score included, show this two-note theme rising instead of dropping. What this means for what sort of closure Bruce gets, of course, remains to be seen.
The Dark Knight Rises is released on July 20th.