John Blake and Miranda Tate – Who are they, really?

Interesting article on The Dark Knight Rises in LA Times. This is the most intriguing part:

Entire essays have been written about the big-picture possibilities of Gotham cop John Blake (Levitt) and Miranda Tate (Cotillard) and they may actually be on the right track; again and again on the set those characters were conspicuously avoided conversation topics.

I wonder how strongly the studio pushed for 3D?  And I had no idea how all-encompassing digital shooting has become. At some point, manufacturers will stop making film stock if most people are not using them, right? What will Nolan do then?

The 41-year-old filmmaker is defiantly old school — not only did Warner Bros. fail in a push to close out the franchise with a 3-D release (as “Harry Potter” did) but here in the digital summer of 2012 the Batman movie is the only major popcorn project that was shot on film stock.

On the secrecy aspect:

Even Bale, an actor of austere intensity who has a low tolerance for Hollywood hype, said there’s been a special aura about this project since Day One. “I remember when I first read the script, of course it was all top secret,” Bale said during a break in the shoot. “I went round by Chris’ house, was shut in the room with the script — not allowed to leave with it — and it hit me that this was the last one. What Chris couldn’t believe was how slow I read because I go back and re-read until I have it all in my mind. I was in there six or seven hours. It was dark when I came out. And I was smiling.”

Christopher Nolan’s Interview with DGA Quarterly

A long interview with Chris Nolan in DGA Quarterly (DGA is Directors Guild of America. Very interesting and worth reading in full. Some interesting tidbits:

On his fascination with non-linear storytelling:

When I was 16 I read a Graham Swift novel, Waterland, that did incredible things with parallel timelines, and told a story in different dimensions that was extremely coherent. Around the same time, I remember Alan Parker’s The Wall on television, which does a very similar thing purely with imagery, using memories and dreams crossing over to other dreams and so forth.

On his favorite film, Blade Runner:

The atmosphere of Blade Runner was also important, that feeling that there was this whole world outside the frame of the scene. You really felt there were things going on outside of those rooms where you’ve seen the film take place. That’s something I’ve always tried to carry with me. Every film should have its own world, a logic and feel to it that expands beyond the exact image that the audience is seeing.

On working with actors, and trusting their instincts:

I learned lots of things on Memento, but one thing I’ve always adhered to since then is letting actors perform as many takes as they want. I’ve come to realize that the lighting and camera setups, the technical things, take all the time, but running another take generally only adds a couple of minutes. I was shooting a very important scene with Guy Pearce in which his character is extremely upset, and it’s the lead-in to where Carrie-Anne Moss’ character takes Pearce’s shirt off and sees all the tattoos on his chest. That day, the financier of the film just happened to be visiting the set and was literally standing right behind me. We did a take that I thought was very good, and I knew we were out of time. So I asked Guy if he felt he’d gotten it, and he said, ‘No, we should do it again.’ I remember having a ‘What do I do?’ moment. Do I let him do it and risk running over? Or do I insist that we move on, which Guy would have done, because he’s flexible and professional? But I let him do another take, and that’s the one used in the film. It was very special, beyond what he had done previously, and way beyond what I had imagined was even possible for the scene. I’ve carried that with me ever since: If an actor tells me they can do something more with a scene, I give them the chance, because it’s not going to cost that much time. It can’t all be about the technical issues.

On 3D:

I find stereoscopic imaging too small scale and intimate in its effect. 3-D is a misnomer. Films are 3-D. The whole point of photography is that it’s three-dimensional. The thing with stereoscopic imaging is it gives each audience member an individual perspective. It’s well suited to video games and other immersive technologies, but if you’re looking for an audience experience, stereoscopic is hard to embrace. I prefer the big canvas, looking up at an enormous screen and at an image that feels larger than life.

On not working with a second unit director:

Let me put it this way: If I don’t need to be directing the shots that go in the movie, why do I need to be there at all? The screen is the same size for every shot. The little shot of, say, a watch on someone’s wrist, will occupy the same screen size as the shot of a thousand people running down the street. Everything is equally weighted and needs to be considered with equal care, I really do believe that. I don’t understand the criteria for parceling things off. Many action films embrace a second unit taking on all of the action. For me, that’s odd because then why did you want to do an action film? Having said that, there are fantastic filmmakers who use second and third units successfully. So it all comes back to the question of defining what a director does.

On how he has managed to avoid reshoots in all his movies so far:

I’ve never done a re-shoot, knock on wood. It all comes down to editing, just craft, just hammering it with my editor every day, trying radical cuts, pulling things out, abandoning bits of exposition, saying, ‘OK, does the audience really need to understand this? What if they don’t?’ I always overwrite the exposition in my scripts so that I’ve got multiple ways to get a point across. If you tell the audience something three times they won’t understand it, but if you tell them only once, they will. It’s an odd thing. So a lot of cutting for time is, for me, cutting for clarity. It’s finding where you can just pull dialogue out that you have overwritten, so you can find that one simple way an audience can get the right point.

There are also interesting photos with the article, but this one is my favorite. That’s really Christian Bale on the ledge, right? Not a stuntman?

PG-13 Rating for The Dark Knight Rises for Violence, Action and Sensuality

CNN reports that The Dark Knight Rises has been given a PG-13 rating by MPAA for “intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language”. The interesting part is “sensuality and language”, which is not present in MPAA PG-13 ratings for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I’m guessing “language” is for the use of profanity, while “sensuality” is related to Catwoman and Miranda Tate? (Miranda Tate has to be Thalia al Ghul, right? With those clothes, and the men with guns and everything, she can’t just be Miranda Tate, some Wayne Enterprise corporate person. Or maybe Miranda Tate is working with Bane in secret.)

New Photos from The Dark Knight Rises in Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly has Batman on the cover. In January, for a movie that won’t be out until July? Seems to early, but hey, what do I know, I’m sure the marketing people have done their research.

The cover photo. The Batsuit looks really weird in this picture, so fake, like it’s photoshopped.

I love the way the Batsuit looks here. Is it the lighting, or does he have another suit in blue??

Christian Bale and the Batsuit.

Commissioner Gordon.

Bane. Tom Hardy must be under a lot of pressure, after how well the late Heath Ledger did as The Joker in The Dark Knight Rises, there will be comparisons, even though Bane and The Joker are completely different characters.

Bane and Batman. Hey, this looks pretty tame!

Related articles:


The Dark Knight Rises Trailer and Poster

“There’s a storm coming, Mr Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

I’m trying to stay spoiler-free as much as possible about The Dark Knight Rises, so I wasn’t really interested to know anything about the prologue attached to Mission Impossible. But then I found out that Aidan “Carcetti/Littlefinger” Gillen is in the prologue! Well, there goes my resolve. No Aidan Gillen in the trailer, but it looks amazing nonetheless, especially the Selina Kyle/Catwoman part. Shades of Occupy Wall Street and 99 Percent Movement, no? Does that make Bruce Wayne the Jamie Dimon of Gotham? But Chris Nolan and his brother must have been working on the script before Occupy Wall Street happened. Probably just a coincidence, or maybe they tweaked the script.

I’ve read some interpretations of this poster that Nolan is going to kill Batman. Nahh, I don’t think so, no matter how influential and powerful a director Chris Nolan is, Warner Bros. is not going to let him kill the golden goose franchise. Nolan’s Batman trilogy might be over with TDKR, but of course WB will revive it with some other director, probably pretty soon, too. Batman’s life is safe, I’m quite sure.