Movie Chronicles » The Dark Knight

No ‘super heroes’ in Nolan’s universe November 7th, 2008

In speak­ing with the LA Times and asked whether Bat­man would par­tic­i­pate in any DC crossovers, Christo­pher Nolan responded,

Nolan: I don’t think our Bat­man, our Gotham, lends itself to that kind of cross-fertilization. It goes back to one of the first things we wran­gled with when we first started putting the story together: Is this a world in which comic books already exist? Is this a world in which super­heroes already exist? If you think of “Bat­man Begins” and you think of the phi­los­o­phy of this char­ac­ter try­ing to rein­vent him­self as a sym­bol, we took the posi­tion — we didn’t address it directly in the film, but we did take the posi­tion philo­soph­i­cally — that super­heroes sim­ply don’t exist. If they did, if Bruce knew of Super­man or even of comic books, then that’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent deci­sion that he’s mak­ing when he puts on a cos­tume in an attempt to become a sym­bol. It’s a para­dox and a conun­drum, but what we did is go back to the very orig­i­nal con­cept and idea of the char­ac­ter. In his first appear­ances, he invents him­self as a totally orig­i­nal creation.

GB: That doesn’t lend itselt to hav­ing him swing on a rope across the Metrop­o­lis skyline.

Nolan: No, cor­rect, it’s a dif­fer­ent uni­verse. It’s a dif­fer­ent way of look­ing at it. Now, it’s been done suc­cess­fully, very suc­cess­fully, in the comics so I don’t dis­pute it as an approach. It just isn’t the approach we took. We had to make a deci­sion for “Bat­man Begins.”

GB: A dif­fer­ent path…

Nolan: Yes, com­pletely dif­fer­ent. It would have given a very, very dif­fer­ent mean­ing to what Bruce Wayne was leav­ing home to do and com­ing back home to do and putting on the cos­tume for and all the rest. We dealt with on its own terms: What does Bat­man mean to Bruce Wayne, what is he try­ing to achieve? He has not been influ­enced by other super­heroes. Of course, you see what we’re able to do with Joker in this film is that he is able to be quite the­atri­cal because we set up Bat­man as an exam­ple of intense the­atri­cal­ity in Gotham. It starts to grow out­ward from Bat­man. But the premise we began with is that Bat­man was cre­at­ing a wholly orig­i­nal thing. To be hon­est, we went even fur­ther than the comics on this point. I can’t remem­ber at what point in the comics his­tory the idea came about that he was a fan of Zorro as a kid. I haven’t researched that, but I don’t believe it goes back ter­ri­bly far.”

The inter­view con­tin­ues by dis­cussing Nolan’s next project, his time off and the upcom­ing Acad­emy Awards:

GB: You’ve said you aren’t sure what you next project will be. But clearly Warner Bros. looks at Bat­man as a core part of their movie busi­ness, per­haps now more than ever, and there are mar­ket­place pres­sures on them to sched­ule the next install­ment of the fran­chise. Are you get­ting a lot of pres­sure to make a decision?

Nolan: They’re being extremely gra­cious. I have a very good rela­tion­ship with the stu­dio. They know that I really needed to go on hol­i­day and take some time to fig­ure what I want to do next. They’ve been very respect­ful of that, which is ter­rific and one of the rea­sons I enjoy work­ing with Warner Bros.

GB: The nom­i­na­tions for the 81st Acad­emy Awards will be announced in Jan­u­ary. How mean­ing­ful would it be for the cast and crew of “The Dark Knight” if the late Heath Ledger is nom­i­nated for best sup­port­ing actor?

Nolan: I think the thing that has always been impor­tant to me in light of Heath’s death is the respon­si­bil­ity I’ve felt to his work. The respon­si­bil­ity of craft­ing the film in such a way that his per­for­mance came across the way he intended. Clearly, that has been the case. That’s one of the rea­sons I take such pride in the film.

I felt a great wave of relief, really, as peo­ple first started to see the per­for­mance and it was clear that they were get­ting the per­for­mance. It’s easy to for­get with every­thing that’s hap­pened what an enor­mous chal­lenge it was for Heath to take on this iconic role. He rose to that chal­lenge so admirably that any expres­sion of peo­ple being excited or moved by his per­for­mance is a won­der­ful thing. What­ever form that takes. Peo­ple com­ing to see his per­for­mance and get­ting it. It’s been extremely sat­is­fy­ing for all of us already. Any­thing that adds to that would be wonderful.

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OYD November 11th, 2008

lols at vid