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The Dark Knight in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Dark Knight

Christian Bale • Michael Caine • Heath Ledger • Aaron Eckhart • Maggie Gyllenhaal • Gary Oldman
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

Poster artwork THE CONCEPT:
In the sequel to Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Bale), with the help of Lt Jim Gordon (Oldman) and the committed new DA Harvey Dent (Eckhart), sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham City forever, but he finds himself faced with new criminal mastermind The Joker (Ledger), who thrusts Gotham into anarchy and forces The Dark Knight ever closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante.

U.S. RELEASE: July 18 2008, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13


Christopher Nolan“At the end of Batman Begins we established Batman as this heroic figure in Gotham who’s going to try and take Gotham back for the good people of the city, that there was going to be an incredible criminal response to that, and that really manifests itself in the person of The Joker. That was really my interest taking this story forward and seeing it expand out so that Batman’s internal struggle from the first time really takes on a citywide aspect now.”

Christian Bale“I feel like we’ve gone back to [Batman’s] roots. When I’ve spoken with friends of Bob Kane, relatives, they’ve said, ‘He meant this to be a very dark character.’ I think that Batman has to maintain his discipline and a sense of order because he does have such a temptation for chaos, for disruption and for violence. But because of his inherited altruism and philanthropy from his parents he does not wish to cross that line, and The Joker is the person who has managed to have him questioning his own ethics.”

Aaron Eckhart“Chris wrote a beautiful script, and it was fun playing the politician and the crime fighter. He is kind of Gotham’s hope. I did look at certain characters in history that I thought represented that pretty well, like Robert Kennedy; he was the Attorney General of the United States who fought the mob. Then I looked at burn victims when doing Harvey Two Face. I saw what happened to the skin and the body, what happened psychologically to burn victims, seeing how they felt about themselves when people were looking at them. They feel monstrous and out of place.”

Gary Oldman“Chris called and said, ‘I’d like you to come back and do the second film. I think the script is really good, and you’ve got more to do, I’ve really beefed him out.’ Maybe it’s on the strength of the first film he felt that I could pull it off. He said, ‘Hang on a minute, I’ve got Gary Oldman playing Lt. Gordon, why not give him something more to do?’ You have to surrender to the fact that really you’re like the vase, and Heath and Christian are the flowers, and that’s the challenge. I kind of like that though.”

BALE on his standing on the ledge of the Sears Tower:
Heights for Christian Bale“I wasn’t going to let anybody else do that. I don’t have a fear of heights, and how often am I going to get a chance to stand on the ledge of the Sears Tower, at a 110 stories down as Batman? It’s unlikely that’s going to happen again. There was no way they were going to let their leading man plummet 110 stories down to the streets of Chicago. I had a cable, I would have fallen a short way, surprised some office workers down below, and then be pulled up.”

MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL on taking over Katie Holmes’ role of Rachel Dawes:
Maggie Gyllenhaal“Before I decided to do the movie, I wanted to make sure I had her blessing. I didn’t want to do it if it wasn’t okay with her and I was assured that I absolutely did [have her blessing]. I’m a fan of hers. I think she’s a lovely actress and I thought she was great in the previous movie. The only thing I could really do was think of her as a new woman.”

BALE on working with Heath Ledger:
First meetingOur first scene together was the interrogation scene, and it was a great way to start because also we were afforded the luxury for some part of that scene for being completely alone inside of that room with the camera outside, with just mirrors surrounding us so that the two of us [were] able to be eyeballing each other and any way we looked we would see reflections of two freaks sitting at the table together. I was able to see for the first time how Heath was playing The Joker, and the complete commitment he had to it, and I really enjoyed seeing that.”

“Heath was wonderful to work with. I was amazed by his talent, what he was doing with The Joker. I felt it was an honor to work with him, and he was great off the set too, he was happy, he showed me pictures of his kid and he liked to listen to music, and I think that’s important to know.”

Heath Ledger as The Joker“I would arguably say that Heath’s Joker is possibly psychologically one of the most frightening screen villains ever. It’s like he found a radio station that none of us could hear. People want to see something with him dying; they want to see something a little bit darker and sinister. But Heath would come out of character, sit down on the curb with me, have a smoke and talk about his daughter, Matilda, and laugh and joke. I believe it was an accident and that was it. He’s probably looking down now and saying, ‘Are you kidding me? I’m going to get nominated for an Oscar? Now?!’”

“Without giving too much away about the ending, I wanted it to feel very complete. It’s not the same as having a feeling of finality in the ending. There’s a particular emotion to the end of the film and a particular thing we were after in terms of expressing something about Batman and bringing the entire story back to him.”

BALE on a possible sequel:
“There’s a great challenge to it, there have been a number of sequels that have surpassed the first movie, Godfather 2, The Empire Strikes Back, but there’s not been many times where the third in a trilogy has managed to be the best, and I see that as a good enough reason to want to tackle it!.”

Heath Ledger as The Joker

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official The Dark Knight site
Images above © Warner Bros Pictures
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #698, July 2008 cover

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