Christopher Nolan Talks About The Dark Knight Trilogy!

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Written by Gavin1,252 Reads0 Comments2015-01-05 04:48:04

Recently British director Christopher Nolan, Batman v Superman's executive producer, spoke at length to THR about his commercially and critically acclaimed career as one of Hollywoods most demanded and respected directors. During the interview the director spoke openly about his highly acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy.

THR: Was a Batman film something that you had long had a desire to tackle? And was there something specific that you wanted to bring to it?

Christopher Nolan: Yeah. It came to me in a very interesting way, which was my agent, Dan Aloni, called and said, “It seems unlikely you’d be interested in this, but Warners is sort of casting around for what they would do with Batman.” It had reached the end of its last sort of life, if you’d like. And at the time, nobody used the term "reboot" — that didn’t exist — so it was really a question of, "What would you do with this?" I said, “Well, actually, that is something I’m interested in,” because one of the great films that I am very influenced by that we haven’t talked about was Dick Donner’s Superman — 1978, that came out. It made a huge impression on me. I can remember the trailers for it, I can remember about Superman the movie, all of that. And it was very clear to me that however brilliant — and it was very brilliant — Tim Burton’s take on Batman was in 1989, and it was obviously a worldwide smash, it wasn’t that sort of origin story, it wasn’t that real-world kind of epic movie; it was very Tim Burton, a very idiosyncratic, gothic kind of masterpiece. But it left this interesting gap in pop-culture, which is you know, you had Superman in 1978, but they never did the sort of 1978 Batman, where you see the origin story, where the world is pretty much the world we live in but there’s this extraordinary figure there, which is what worked so well in Dick Donner’s Superman film. And so I was able to get in the studio and say, “Well, that’s what I would do with it.” I don’t even know who was first banging around the term "reboot" or whatever, but it was after Batman Begins, so we didn’t have any kind of reference for that idea of kind of resetting a franchise. It was more a thing of, "Nobody’s ever made this origin story in this way and treated it as a piece of action filmmaking, a sort of contemporary action blockbuster."

THR: Grounded in realism …

Christopher Nolan: Grounded in realism — grounded in heightened realism, grounded in the degree of realism that we expected at the time from, you know, our action movies, Jerry Bruckheimeraction movies and things, that would have realistic textures, you know? So, "OK, let’s do that." What I loved about Superman was the way New York felt like New York, or rather Metropolis felt like New York. Metropolis felt like a city you could recognize — and then there was this guy flying through the streets. "That’s amazing, so let’s do that for Batman, and let’s start by putting together an amazing cast," which is what they had done with that film, but which I hadn’t seen done since — they had everybody from [Marlon Brando] toGlenn Ford, playing Superman's dad, you know, it was an incredible cast. So we started putting together this amazing cast based around Christian [Bale], who seemed perfect for Batman, but bringing him Sir Michael Caine and Gary Oldman and Morgan Freemanand Tom Wilkinson. It was just incredible.

THR: At that time, were you thinking, “I’m signing myself up for multiple films”?

Christopher Nolan: No, not at all. I only had a deal to do the one film. When I first spoke about the project with [screenwriter] David Goyer, I think we said, "I guess if it was successful. …" At the time, everybody thought in terms of trilogies, which I guess they probably don’t anymore because they split the third film into two. (Laughs.) But at the time, The Matrix guys were doing their sequels, everything was about trilogies, "What’s the trilogy?!" And we didn’t want to answer that question. Privately, ourselves, we started to put together a vague idea of where a second and third film were going, and then I immediately shot them down. I was like, “You know what? You’ve got to put everything into the one movie and just try and make a great movie because you may not get this chance again.” And then, when it succeeded, we were able to think about, "OK, what would we do in a sequel?" We were able to adapt and grow with the way the public perceived the films and with what the films became, as opposed to trying to plan ahead, you know, five years, six years or whatever. And we were given the time by the studio to let them fall, so three years between that movie and Dark Knight and four years between Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises, you know?

THR: It’s kind of amazing that even within those relatively short periods between the Batman films, you made The Prestige and Inception. Were those projects that you had wanted to make for quite a while, as well?

Christopher Nolan: Yeah. If you’re really trying to grow and nurture a franchise, the thing that used to be understood, that I think now is a little harder to carve out with the studio because of the pressures they have, is you need time. And that doesn’t mean necessarily even working full-time on it itself; it means time to throw some ideas together and then let them sit, go off and do something else, come back and see what still feels right and everything. Ironically, I think it was very valuable to making a coherent trilogy, because you were really able to get a sense of what each film had become to the audience before you then moved the story forward.

THR: A number of your films — Inception, the Batman trilogy and certainlyInterstellar — feature big casts of great actors, several of whom you've worked with repeatedly. How do you go about working with actors? 

Christopher Nolan: I love working with actors and I love developing a relationship with actors so that you can work with them more than once, as I have with various actors — Michael, particularly, and Christian, as well. I think what I learned, particularly on Insomnia with Al Pacino, is that there’s a level of mystery to what actors do. There is a mystical quality to what they do in those moments where they transcend good technical acting and do something that’s beyond that. What I realize is I have a great appreciation for that, so even though I don’t understand it, I can’t do it myself, I’m not an actor and I don’t know much about acting, I’m very capable of tapping into that and observing it and knowing, I think, how to create conditions that will allow that to happen. I find what actors do to be very mysterious and, therefore, very compelling. I guess it’s the most fascinating part in what I get to do, actually, just to enable that, in a way.

 

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