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The Dark Knight Rises Characterization of the Knight - Nolan and Bale's Bruce Wayne/Batman - Part 2


'Dark Knight Rises' star Christian Bale recalls battling Bane and his last scene in the Batman suit


Christian Bale is meditating on stage.

Or at least it looks like he's meditating - body completely still, eyes closed serenely against the press corps camped out in the Beverly Hilton ballroom in front of him. Had he not been answering questions and talking (sometimes at length) about his final turn as the Caped Crusader at the "Dark Knight Rises" press conference we'd all gathered there for, one could even be forgiven for thinking he'd nodded off. He sat like that on and off throughout the Q&A, breaking the placid mask only sporadically. I like to think he was envisioning himself in the Batman suit one last time.

"I'm looking at this panel, and I'm just realizing [we have] all these Oscar nominees, and Oscar winners," declared the moderator at one point, excessively complimentary as per his job description. "I'm just kinda floored. Christian, since 'The Dark Knight' came out in 2008, you've become an Oscar winner for 'The Fighter.'" And then, turning to the audience expectantly: "Let's hear it."

That was our cue to clap, and most of us did. Call it Pavlovian adulation.

"So correct me if I'm wrong," the moderator went on, "but that makes you the very first Oscar winner to play a comic-book costumed superhero."

First Oscar winner to play a comic-book costumed superhero.

"Does it?" responded Bale, clearly unaware of the distinction.

Pressing on blindly, the moderator continued: "Have you thought about that?"

"Clearly not," Bale replied, a hint of amusement gliding across his thick Welsh accent.

Yes, it's good to be Christian Bale, who hit megastar status after playing Batman in the first two entries of Christopher Nolan's hugely-successful "Dark Knight" trilogy and has presumably ever since been surrounded by people who feel it's their duty to dig up excessively-qualified career milestones that probably don't make much of a difference to him one way or the other.

And yet Bale doesn't immediately strike one as a conventional leading man, a quality that actually makes him a perfect fit for Nolan's more cerebral brand of superhero film. Like his director, there's a thoughtful quality about him, a sense that he really does believe in the potential of these blockbuster action flicks to function equally well as social commentary. In fact, Bale sees the roots of that in Batman creator Bob Kane's original conception of the character.

"Correct me if I'm wrong, my understanding is that Bob Kane created this character in 1939, which being from England, right, that's the beginning of WWII," said Bale, his muted way of speaking making it occasionally difficult to understand him. "And it was an answer to the uselessness that individuals felt against this humongous tragedy, and what could you do? So it was topical in its inception, that's how Batman began...it began as a very topical character, and I think Chris returned it to that."

To Bale, even the action sequences in "The Dark Knight Rises" are infused with deeper meaning, apparent from his response to a question about what it was like to film the fight sequences between Batman and his formidable adversary Bane (played by Tom Hardy).

"The thing I liked so much about the fight sequences with [Bane] is they're never just knock-down fight sequences," he began, having earlier referenced the villain as "the first adversary of Batman's that you know could probably whip his butt." "You learn something more about each character throughout each fight, which is the mark of a good fight. ...You learn about what Batman has had to go through from the beginning of the movie to the end in order to be able to defeat this man. And you're learning about Bane as well, and the changes that have come over him. And that's always essential in any fight. That's really what you're looking for.. We've seen so many people punching each other non-stop, who cares? You're looking for 'what are the changes? What are the weaknesses? What are the strengths of each character that are going to allow them to dominate one or the other?'"

Bale is the fourth actor to don the famous cape since the release of Tim Burton's franchise-reinvigorating "Batman" starring Michael Keaton in 1989, a lucrative distinction that the majority of Hollywood actors probably would've killed for. Still, his first experience donning the cowl made it tough to fully appreciate his turn of good fortune.

"The first time I ever put on the [cowl] I thought, 'Chris has to [re-do] the cast,'" recounted Bale. "Because the claustrophobia was just unbelievable. I stood there and I thought, 'I can't breathe, I can't think, this is too tight, this is squeezing my head, I'm gonna panic, I'm about to have a nervous breakdown, a panic attack right this second!'"

After suffering this bout of momentary alarm, Bale asked for 20 minutes of privacy to pull himself back to his senses.

"I just stood there and I thought, 'I'd really like to make this movie. I'd like to be able to get through this," he said. "So I just stood for 20 minutes by myself and then called [everyone] back in and said, 'ok....just talk very calmly please, and maybe i can get through this.'"

Of course he did get through it, partially thanks to the costume department ("In the same way Bruce Wayne improves the suit, we improved the suit for ourselves," he told us), and came out the other side with two highly-regarded blockbusters and one likely blockbuster under his belt. On his last day of filming on "Rises," he took 20 minutes for himself once again - only instead of panic this time, the feeling was one of deep satisfaction and accomplishment.

"We wrapped, and we were doing a scene, [I was playing] Batman, it was with Anne as Catwoman on a roof in Manhattan," he began. "And I just went down and sat in a room and i realized this is it. I'm not gonna be taking this cowl off again. So again, i said 'can you please leave me alone for 20 minutes?' and sat with that moment. It was the realization...of real pride of having achieved what we had set out to. It was a very important moment for me, it's been a very important character...and the movies themselves have changed my life and changed my career. So I wanted to just appreciate that."
Indeed. I flipping love Christian Bale, and oh boy, do I love him as Bruce/Bats.

We've seen the same actor portray Batman for three films. Three great films in a row. We had the introduction; the outward journey of man lost, wanting some sort of path to his life, in Batman Begins. Then we got the more subtle, questioning inner struggle that is Bale's performance in The Dark Knight. And now, we actually get to see this man, this character's arc finished in The Dark Knight Rises. Being lost once again, but this time lost in his own obsession of what he became in the first two films. But this time he will be broken down to every psychical and mental degree, only to Rise from the ashes. The glorious and triumphant return from the hole that he was thrown into, that we will see in The Dark Knight Rises should be one for the ages. An amalgamation of everything Bruce has had to go through in the first two films, plus things he will have to experience and overcome for the first time in the final installment. I'm soaking it in, every single day until opening weekend. Nolan, Bale and Co. have really given us something, eh? Bring it on! My body is ready!
Wow, I got scared there. I thought I'd have to re-type everything I just typed. Finally though, part II of the Bruce/Batman thread.
Yes, Catwoman looks very sexy in that scene where she and Batman are approaching the bat-pod- she's all business! But I gotta say Bale's got a killer swagger in that scene...back in action. I think we're in store for some great, priceless scenes between the two. The anticipation is just too much!
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The action is really ramped-up for Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, to the degree that you took part in a 1,000-strong fistfight on Wall Street. That must have gotten pretty chaotic.
Yeah, with a crowd that big you can’t really control it completely. It’s impossible. ****’s gonna happen. So I see there’s a wall of guys right there. They’re not meant to be there. Because I’m about to throw this guy there, you know? And I had to kinda go, ‘Do I? Don’t I? All right, they’re up for it…’ I went back and checked on them afterwards, and they were all fine. But those are kinda happy accidents which you can’t fake because there really was a guy flying through the air who knocked them all down!

How is it performing fight scenes?
It’s fascinating. It never looks how it feels. It’s so weird. You get moments where I’ve had fights in movies where I get punched really, by mistake and when you look at it on playback it looks like a really crap punch. And then you do another one which is really slow and big and felt like crap and you look at the movie and you’re wincing, like, “That must have hurt!” So it’s always interesting. Often I go to Chris [Nolan] thinking, “Oh, it’s terrible,” and he’s kind of, “Yes, fantastic!” Other moments I think, “We nailed that,” and everyone’s looking around scratching, wondering how they’re going to tell us.

Is this movie much more physical than the other two? It seems there’s much more smash-mouth stuff, because of the nature of Bane.
The nature of Bane, right. Yes, certainly between the two of us. That’s right, because it’s the first time in Chris’ movies that we’ve had an adversary who’s physically superior. Previously it’s always been an intellectual battle and you know what’s going to happen if they meet and it gets to a fistfight.

You and Tom Hardy trade quite a few blows. How was he to work with?
Tom is phenomenal. He’s an extraordinary actor. If I was a director I would want Tom to be in my movies. He knows his ****. But it’s a funny distance that you have in these movies, literally, by being cocooned by a cowl. I don’t truly feel like I’ve worked with Gary [Oldman], even though we’ve done three movies together. I don’t really feel like I’ve worked with Gary because I’m here in this darkness every time. And likewise with Tom, we’re both behind these masks. He’s feeling that isolation as well. It’s a strange feeling. So we agreed after this we’d like to work with each other on something one day!

What was your reaction when you were first told that Bane would be the main villain?
I thought it was a great idea. The only time I’ve ever really familiarised myself with the graphic novels was previous to Batman Begins. For inspiration, for understanding what Chris [Nolan] was going for. After that I never picked one up again, because by then we had created our world, so I just referenced that one. So I wasn’t familiar with Bane, you know? I vaguely remembered just a crazy ‘roid-looking guy with a mask. But I just trust and have faith in Chris. Look, this is not going to be an impulsive decision of his, you know? I always kinda suspected he would do a third one. But it was never definite. And I hoped that he would think of it as a challenge, the fact that with most movies, by the time they get to a third one, it’s crap. So I knew he wasn’t gonna mess around with making a poor decision on who the bloody villain was.

Then I just went and sat around at Chris’ house and astounded him with how slow a reader I am. I sat and read and he kept walking in going, “You’re kidding me! Still?” And I’m like, “Yeah. Still.” Then lunch… dinner… [laughs]. Then he came in and was like, “That actually took you seven hours”. [laughs]. And I understood at that point.

The Dark Knight was an immense success…
I understand that. Yes. I’ve heard, I’ve heard. It did quite well.

You’ve been told, good! But to do a billion, I don’t think anyone could have guessed that. Did that create more pressure on this?
Well, that’s not a bad pressure to have, is it? You should feel you wanna top the experience. I think the bad pressure would be if it was focused on the money. I always confess that I have no idea what people wanna see. I’ve got no clue. I’m an idiot with that. With Titanic I thought, “That’s crazy, why would they wanna make that movie? Everyone knows how it ends so no-one will bother seeing it!” So in fact that the numbers, whilst astounding, don’t interest me in the slightest. You know, it’s very strange for me to be in a movie that has ever done well financially…

Was it strange to be out in daylight in the Batsuit so much for this final instalment?
It was very strange to start with. We had the idea of the intimidation and the mystery being successful in the dark. And so it did feel odd to be outside quite so much. But obviously I got used to that. We kinda made a deal right when we first made Batman Begins; me and Chris said, “Let’s just not let people see Batman half-dressed. It’s just not a good idea.” Batman should be Batman and that’s it. He should always be defined and complete and let’s not ruin that experience for people.

We never really see you wearing the suit without the cowl, do we?
Never do, never. I mean like [during the Wall Street battle scene], it’s funny because when it’s cold the cowl is extremely tight, and it gets better the warmer I get; it becomes more flexible. But after a couple of takes I was trying to breathe and I wasn’t getting the breath properly in my nose. I was starting to see stars and I said, “I have to take this off,” and thank god on this one I can — on The Dark Knight I could as well, but on Batman Begins I couldn’t — so I had to get inside because I couldn’t let anybody see me without the cowl, you know?

Do you think it’s a shame that so much gets revealed so soon these days, via camera phones and the internet?
It’s incredible how much technology has advanced where everybody has cameras and phones everywhere, so I guess you just can’t — and especially the fact that we’re out in daylight so much more with this one — it’s impossible to stop people. I mean we were doing [fight] rehearsals and it’s like, “Oh, I can’t punch that guy ‘cause he’s a paparazzo. He’s not an extra”. They’re right in there. Chris and I are talking and there’s a paparazzo right there! The thing about the net, though, is nobody knows what’s true and what’s not. So that can be quite interesting for us. There’ll be moments when — and it was likewise with The Dark Knight — you go, “Oh ****, somebody got it right there,” but nobody but us knows that. There’s all these other ideas out there too and maybe people haven’t gotten it that that one was right! There’s so much crap that cushions the truth.
^ big thanks to kvz for postign these :D

love how Bale's approached the character -- i'm a bit sad, it's all coming to an end and feels as though it already has. I dunno if that's the mindset you want to go into this movie with, but it might help, after all, it is set after Batman's glory days are behind him.

Kinda like the genre itself, but i'm not gonna push it there. (*dives off behind a wall)
I'm proud of Bale, He's an accomplished and successful actor who had a unique privilege of donning the iconic cape and cowl of The Dark Knight and yet he remained true to himself and not being swept up in by the superstardom of the Hollywood status he had earned. It's bittersweet that his term as Batman is coming to an end but damn I can't wait to see him for the final time as THE BEST BATMAN in The Dark Knight Rises.
I wish I could see Bale doing the Bat-voice for his daughter. That would be absolutely adorable :)
I think they should start letting us fans ask the questions. These guys are just... idk lol
Good interviews though, just wish the questions were a bit more interesting.
Some more interviews:

"The Dark Knight Rises" star explains his on set antics. Plus, costars Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman talk working with him.

Christian Bale shares his sadness over the Batman chronicles coming to a close. Plus, hear about his powerful moment on set.

Interview @ Sunrise:
^Great interviews!

Bale is so at ease here. I'm real happy for him and what he was able to accomplish with Batman in Nolan's franchise. Three times he dawned the cape and cowl! That really is an achievement.

Still no late shows! But I still love ya, Christian!
Those are awesome, thanks! :woot:
The BlackTree.com interview reminds me a lot of that old Bale interview post-T4 where the guy was trying to piss him off and even went to trying to bite the head off of a TDK action figure, just to flip him out. Bale was pissed and you could see him struggling to keep himself calm there :D

I'm sure that isn't the case here, that the interviewer is just a dumbass :oldrazz: but somehow I think when he brings up "tool" he's calling that to the guy lol
in fact, i'm looking at this one with Nolan:


and... honestly... the interviewer is a dumbass. Nolan seems at ease because he's dishing out all the easy questions, to the point where it seems like Nolan's doing an interview for his first ever take on Batman all the way from 2005, and not, y'know, someone who's talking about how challenging it was to wrap the whole thing up.
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Damn....No knee cartilage...Scar Tissue on kidness...concussive brain injuries...

Who wanted Bruce to do this forever again?


Then I just went and sat around at Chris’ house and astounded him with how slow a reader I am. I sat and read and he kept walking in going, “You’re kidding me! Still?” And I’m like, “Yeah. Still.” Then lunch… dinner… [laughs]. Then he came in and was like, “That actually took you seven hours”. [laughs]. And I understood at that point.

I'm loving the look of the fight sequences for TDKR, We are actually seeing Batman punch and kick much clearly than previously.


I'm loving the look of the fight sequences for TDKR, We are actually seeing Batman punch and kick much clearly than previously.



Speaking of which, I wonder that given on how Bruce had been out of action for like 8 years, if they'll actually show him being rusty in some areas prior to his fight with Bane. I remember on how the filmmakers for Indiana Jones 4 for example had given moments where Indiana showed rust in some actions that he normally would have been able to do just fine back in his prime.
Speaking of which, I wonder that given on how Bruce had been out of action for like 8 years, if they'll actually show him being rusty in some areas prior to his fight with Bane. I remember on how the filmmakers for Indiana Jones 4 for example had given moments where Indiana showed rust in some actions that he normally would have been able to do just fine back in his prime.

They said Batman is changing his style because of he is not as good as before. I think kicking thugs head is a part of it. He is more brutal probably.
They said Batman is changing his style because of he is not as good as before. I think kicking thugs head is a part of it. He is more brutal probably.

Which is ironic considering on how I've read some ppl saying that he looks better in terms of how he fights in TDKR than how he was shown to fight in the last two films.lol
I think when Bruce resumes as Batman, he hasn't forgotten his fighting style but after he get brutally beaten by Bane in his first confrontation and is exiled to the prison from which Bane was once held captive. He finds a way to retrain and improve his combat to be up to par with Bane so that when he returns to Gotham he's ready to match and surpass Bane with a much more aggressive form of combat .

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