Following the LA screening of the IMAX prologue to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises the director and producer Emma Thomas talked with IGN about the eagerly anticipated final chapter of their Bat-trilogy...
IGN: Did you always want to introduce Bane (Tom Hardy) sort of physically in the middle of an action sequence? I would imagine the first thought would be, "We'll introduce him in prison because that's what people associate him with." Can you talk about the genesis of how you wanted to introduce this character?
Christopher Nolan: Well, when you're thinking about opening a film you want to lead in a striking way and with a very striking number of character-driven views. So you're looking for a sequence that showcases this -- in the case of Bane -- his physicality and his aggression and devotion to his prize and this kind of thing. Those are all things that get wrapped up in there.
IGN: We know you selected Bane as the villain of this film because you wanted him to be a physical challenge for Batman. But he's a character that, frankly, I didn't really read up on until I heard that he was going to be in the movie. I knew that he was the guy who broke Batman's back, and that's kind of all I knew about him. But the more I read about him, the more I became kind of fascinated by him, that this is a guy who was raised in prison and all that. How much of that backstory, the elements that made him who he was, do you retain in the film? And if you don't, were you worried at all that that would be like getting rid of Bruce Wayne seeing his parents shot, that impetus for why he is who he is?
Nolan: Well, the liberating thing about dealing with a lesser known villain is you feel more creative freedom to embrace the elements of that character you feel can serve your story and ignore those that won't. But at the same time, we chose Bane because he has some very unique elements to who he is. As far as the emphasis to it in the film, I'm actually editing some right now, so you never quite know until it's done. But we certainly intend to do justice to it, to the character I've written and to the comics. And I think the significance of Bane, in our eyes, is his strength as an antagonist to Batman. Everything must serve that, including the nature of his past and how that will play into the story.
IGN: Gary Oldman said the other day something about the Harvey Dent Act. Is there a "Harvey Dent Act," an actual piece of legislation, and what can you tell us about sort of the shape that Gotham is in when we pick up the story eight years later?
Nolan: Well, that's funny, I didn't read that. But there is a piece of legislation, and we are dealing with a Gotham that's moved on. In the last eight years, it has come to revere Harvey Dent in the way that Batman intended at the end of the last film.
IGN: In Dark Knight, Gordon and Batman make this spur-of-the-moment pact to lie and say about Dent (Aaron Eckhart) , "He wasn't that guy (Two-Face)." Will we see the repercussion of that pact play out in this film?
Nolan: (smiles) I don't think I want to answer that question.
IGN: That's fair enough.
IGN: Can you talk about the idea to start with Bane already being Bane. We don't know how he got there, but --
Emma Thomas: And I think in some ways it's kind of fun. In The Dark Knight we did the same thing when we introduced the Joker, and he was in mid-heist. And it very much, if you remember, it very much gave you the sense of who the Joker was. And I think the same thing goes for this prologue. Bane is already doing his thing, and you can see that he's a brute. He's a smart brute, but some things -- there's a real grandeur.
IGN: I know you guys have worked with Tom on Inception so were you already thinking about Dark Knight Rises and Bane when you were doing Inception? Were you looking at Tom like, "Oh yeah. That's our guy." At what point in the process did you say, "Tom should be Bane"?
Thomas: We already knew that Bane was the villain when we were shooting Inception. And actually as we were shooting, we did talk about how, wow, Tom would be perfect for Bane. We talked about that pretty early on. The issue that we had was that Tom was going to be doing another movie. He was committed to be in Fury Road , and we knew he wasn't available. So every conversation that we had about how Tom was perfect to be Bane was sort of tinged with regret because we knew he couldn't be. So as soon as we found out that that movie had pushed we approached him.
IGN: We saw a little bit of the sizzle reel there at the end of the prologue. Are those highlights from the upcoming trailer, or is that just stuff that only people are going to see if they come to this IMAX prologue?
Thomas: I'm trying to think. We have a great trailer coming out, and there are a couple of things in the prologue that are in the trailer. But there's a lot of the trailer that isn't in the prologue.
IGN: At what point did you realize that you also wanted Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) to be in it? And were there any villains that you guys considered and cast aside? There was always speculation about Riddler.
Thomas: That's really a question for Chris in terms of who they thought of and tossed aside. In terms of the way the process works, even before went to start Inception, Chris and David Goyer had sat down and mapped out what the plot for what the story of this movie was going to be. And while we were shooting Inception, [Jonathan Nolan], Chris's brother, was writing the script. So while we were shooting Inception, we knew exactly who the characters were. As for how they came up with who those characters were, that's a question for them.
Hot on the heels of that chat being posted came a really AWESOME new One-Sheet for the sequel....
Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt Marion Cotillard, Josh Pence, Alon Aboutboul and Nestor Carbonell star along with return of the trilogy's ensemble cast such as Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine Cillian Murphy might be making a cameo
Matthew Modine Tom Conti 11-year-old actress Joey King Daniel Sunjata Diego Klattenhoff Christopher Judge "CSI: Miami" co-star Adam Rodriguez and Burn Gorman take on secondary roles. Rob Brown and Italian actor Massi Furlan have small roles in the film as well.
The sequel is set to hit theaters on July 20th, 2012.