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Christopher Nolan Took Inspiration From 'Lord Of The Rings': 5 Things Learned From 'Dark Knight Rises' Feature In EW

by The Playlist
July 14, 2012 1:02 PM
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THe Dark Knight Rises, EW

This week's issue of Entertainment Weekly is on newstands now. On the cover, undoubtedly, is "The Dark Knight Rises," and within is a rather large and engrossing feature on the film with extensive interviews with director Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, some new photos and lots goodies for Batman fans. We strongly encourage you to pick up the issue, and in the meantime, here's five quick highlights.

1. Christopher Nolan wasn't sure if he wanted to make a third Batman film at first. Two things eventually changed his mind. 1. Coming up with the soon-to-be-discussed ending to the film and 2) finding the right tone with co-writers Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer that would fit with the preceeding two films.
"There are very few very great third films," he said. "I think in some cases dissatisfaction with third films comes from the sheer exhaustion of the people making it. So I made the decision to do one film at a time and put everything into that film. There are certain third films that exist to fulfull a requirement for a sequel. I wanted a third film that had something to say, that was a conclusion to a larger story." Nolan says the development of the final film was "tricky," but ultimately his Batman finale aspires to blend the "romanticism" of "Batman Begins" with the "relentless crime thriller" of "The Dark Knight."

2. Peter Jackson's epic feat was an impressive inspiration for Nolan. At least through sheer determination and scale.
"I will cop to this: 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy was in the back of our minds the entire time we were making these," he admitted. "What Peter Jackson did was completely different. He had the whole story for all three films; he was physically capable of shooting it all at once. I can't imagine doing it myself. It's one of the great achievements in movies."

3. Nolan reiterates that the final saga of his Batman trilogy makes for a unified story. He also hints about the larger themes in the film, possibly hinting at what EW calls the "sure-to-be-talked-about climax."
"It all comes back to 'Batman Begins' and the scene between Bruce and Alfred on the plane, when Bruce explains what he's going to do. It's not about beating up criminals one by one. It's about being a symbol. Bruce sees himself as a catalyst for change and only ever thinks of this as short term thing... Batman is the most interesting figure for dealing with the theme of the ends justifying the means. It's something I've always been interested in."

4. While a bit off his rocker, when examining Bruce Wayne closely, Nolan says the man is a "very aspirational figure."
"He's a human being. He's not Superman. He has no super powers," Nolan stressed. "Yes, he has extraodinary wealth [a theme evidently addressed in the movie], but on a very basic level, the way he tries to push himself, physically and mentally and dedicate himself ruthlessly to a cause, setting rules for himself -- there's something obsessive about that. Even distubring. But there's something admirable about it, too."

5. Christian Bale says the fascinating psychology behind Bruce Wayne's motivations -- his "multiple personalities" -- drew him to he character.
"I was playing the idea of there being three Bruce Waynes," he explained. "The public vacuous billionaire. The private Bruce Wayne who is still a child. And then the vengeful one who is a monster. It was a man playing multiple parts, a man who dresses up as a monster for a reason, because he feels monstrous, and so he must become a monster in those moments."

Check out the latest issue of EW to read more extensive thoughts from Bale, whether Nolan feels like he was snubbed by the Oscars in 2008, what both artists feel about Batman reboots that will happen without them and more. "The Dark Knight Rises" ascends on July 20th.

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  • Pete | August 9, 2012 2:25 PMReply

    #1 is total bullshit... nolan was given the green light for his pet project, inception (supposed to be more low key then it was) if he agreed to do 2 more batman films.....

  • triguous | July 14, 2012 7:37 PMReply

    Another director who could have taken inspiration from The Lord of the Rings trilogy -- George Lucas.

  • jon | July 14, 2012 4:07 PMReply

    "5. Christian Bale the fascinating psychology behind Bruce Wayne's motivations -- his "multiple personalities" -- drew him to he character." Is that even a sentence?

  • rodie | July 14, 2012 3:53 PMReply

    Nolan's just saying that LOTR was something of a benchmark when thinking of his Batman movies as a series, a trilogy, not that the films are alike or on par. In fact he says he couldn't do what Jackson did. There's admiration there, not piggybacking.

  • Zack | July 14, 2012 2:55 PMReply

    God, he's starting to piss me off with this. This isn't as bad as the "MY MOVIE IS JUST LIKE A TALE OF TWO CITIES, BRAH" but it's still way more pretentious than a guy making movies about a rich guy who dresses up like a bat has any right to be.

  • Jerry | July 14, 2012 10:15 PM

    what are you talking about?? He simply said that the premise of this film is loosly based around a tale of 2 cities?? What is pretentious about that?? Are you making the tenuous link of thinking he is saying 'my comic book film is on a par with the literary classic A Tale of 2 Cities'.. so what if he did..I could write a film starring Miss Piggy and Kermit and base it on Romeo and with all people who dont enjoy Nolans take on Batman, fine, no one makes you..but your statements at times are just non-sencical..I didnt like any Harry Potter film but I get it that there are millions of people who think its brilliant...comment...

  • tristan eldritch | July 14, 2012 1:15 PMReply

    Does anybody know did Letterman actually spoil the ending? I'm afraid to look at any of the articles about it!

  • oogle monster | July 14, 2012 2:14 PM

    No, he didn't. Anne Hathaway looked shocked but then she laughed it off and they brought it up AGAIN... which if he had spoiled the ending, the interview would have most likely derailed on the spot. Late, Letterman was giving Anne shit and asking who "Chris" was after Anne had brought up Nolan's name multiple times.

    Also here's a little tid bit - if the ending was in fact revealed and it were true - then Bale wouldn't have even hinted at the slightest possibility of coming back for a 4th film. He said he would only do it if Nolan were up to it (which isn't happening but you get my drift).

  • Fred | July 14, 2012 1:41 PM

    There's no spoilers in this piece. I also stayed away from letterman.

  • Sam | July 14, 2012 1:39 PM

    Considering Lettman doesn't go out live, I'm sure someone from Warners would have demanded the "spoiler" was cut if it had been accurate.

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