Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More First Reviews For 'Terminator Genisys' Suggest Franchise Didn't Need To Say "I'll Be Back" First Reviews For 'Terminator Genisys' Suggest Franchise Didn't Need To Say "I'll Be Back" Kit Harington & Dakota Fanning Replace Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska In 'Brimstone' Kit Harington & Dakota Fanning Replace Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska In 'Brimstone' The Essentials: The 5 Best Colin Farrell Perfomances The Essentials: The 5 Best Colin Farrell Perfomances Review: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 1, ‘The Western Book of the Dead,' How It Differs From Season 1 & More Review: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 1, ‘The Western Book of the Dead,' How It Differs From Season 1 & More First Listen: Here's Your 'True Detective' Season 2 Theme Song & The First Episode Music Cues First Listen: Here's Your 'True Detective' Season 2 Theme Song & The First Episode Music Cues The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far 'The Leftovers' Reboots For Season 2, Switches Setting And Makes Casting Changes 'The Leftovers' Reboots For Season 2, Switches Setting And Makes Casting Changes The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

The Playlist Interview: Christopher Nolan Talks The Writing Process, Batman As A Sociopath & Finding His Darth Vader [Part 2]

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist December 6, 2012 at 4:47PM

17
Christopher Nolan, Dark Knight Rises trilogy

Christopher Nolan is a hard man to track down, but after some patience and persistence, we were lucky enough to sit down with the (to name just a few) "Memento," "Prestige" and "Inception" director at length to discuss "The Dark Knight Rises," his debut feature film "Following" and much more about his lauded Batman trilogy. You can read all that right here in part one of our talk, and continue with us as we dug deeper with Nolan into the mythology of his Batman films and his process for putting the pieces of his entire series together, all of which we've presented in a part two below.

This week sees "The Dark Knight Rises," the closing chapter in his Gotham-based trilogy, arrive on home video, and whether you've seen it already or are waiting to pop it into your DVD or Blu-ray player, Nolan's thoughts are a solid primer before you re-discover the film or enjoy it for the first time. So below, the second and final part of our interview with the director, including his thoughts on the psychological and aesthetic underpinnings of the series.

"The engine of anarchy and chaos shapes things because 'The Dark Knight' is a very, very unconventional story."

Could you walk us through the writing process with David Goyer and your brother Jonathan [Jonah]?
The films were each a little bit different. On “Batman Begins” David and I sat down and talked a lot about the history of the character. I talked to him about the film and he came up with a story and very quickly wrote the first draft because he had to go off to direct the [“Blade: Trinity”] film. So he managed to squeeze it in.

I then took that draft and rewrote it and involved my brother in that process as well. I would talk to him about what I was doing and get him to look at particular scenes. You know Jonathan contributed a lot to [“Batman Begins”] as well, although he's not credited on the film. So when it came to “The Dark Knight” what I decided was to do it in a similar process. David and I came up with the story together and we handed that story to Jonah. He spent a very long time wrestling with that first draft of that movie which was extremely difficult. I then came on and wrote with him, sometimes on my own, sometimes with him and we tossed drafts back and forth. “The Dark Knight Rises” was the same process. Though Jonah was busy at that point and so I wound up doing more on my own. But, because he's my brother he's always at the end of the phone so he could squeeze in a little bit more.

It probably helps that he's your younger brother too.
Exactly. I can always call him up and say, “You've got to help with this or that.” The contributions of both of them are immeasurable. David from his knowledge of the comics, he's just a great storyteller.

Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight,
So how did David appear to you as the right choice to help co-conceive the Batman story?
I had met him before and liked him and I just talked to him about Batman, he just had a great handle on these sort of big-picture emotions. Jonah and his writing is so precise in capturing the nature in “The Dark Knight” and how that engine of anarchy and chaos would shape the story because “The Dark Knight” is a very, very unconventional story. It really shouldn't work, but it does. It does because of the veracity of the engine kind of driving it. There’s a point in the film where it just relentlessly does the same thing again and again and again.

Right after Rachel Dawes [played by Maggie Gyllenhaal] is killed.
Yes. Really from that point on you're not in any kind of pretty or comfortable story shape. You're into a very different and daring story. I told Jonah and David that draft couldn't possibly work and said “I'd have to rewrite it.” And eventually realized that it just needed to be the way Jonah had written it. It was the right thing for this story. The Joker’s never going to conform to conventional story structure, he just isn't. In fact, in some ways, it was a pleasure in “The Dark Knight Rises” to get back to characters who could conform, and we could do something a little more classical in the shape of the story, which felt necessary for the ending [of the series]. That's more how “Batman Begins” works, it's more shaped. “The Dark Knight” is a more anarchic film.

Sure, because of the villain's ideology.
Precisely. It doesn’t have rules, it doesn't obey the traditional screenwriting rules and what have you.

The interrogation scene seems crucial because The Joker tells Batman their ideologies are essentially the same, and it seems like he goes ballistic because the comment cuts to his core.
He's out of control, definitely. The point in which he has him up against the wall, Batman's still in control, but once his anger gets the better of him... That's why he makes the mistake he makes, essentially.

This article is related to: Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises, David S. Goyer, Jonathan Nolan, Interviews, Interviews, Features


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates