For all the fans of the Caped Crusader, this is definitely your week! Holy summer blockbusters! It’s The Dark Knight Rises. Director Christopher Nolan has taken his third and final version of franchise to new heights. Christian Bale is back as the tormented billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. This story picks up eight years after the last film, with a new terrorist, Bane (a chilling performance by Tom Hardy) threatening
Gotham City. When Gotham’s finest are overwhelmed by this new threat, Batman resurfaces to protect the city that has branded him an enemy. I sat down with Bale to talk about the movie and what it was like to don the iconic Batman costume for the last time.
You’ve absolutely thrilled audiences for nine years now as Batman and Bruce Wayne, how have you been able to continue the evolution of those characters?
This is a great character here, and there’s nothing to be lazy about. There’s a boy, a man
here, who has put his whole life on hold here that’s driven by this great pain and desire for revenge who has a wish for purposefulness in his life, and so I always viewed him as being every bit as interesting as any of the villains in the movies.
And maybe as damaged as they are?
Oh very much so. He’s a very damaged man.
So, quite some time has passed and Batman has been off the scene. Why does he come back now?
When we return to Bruce Wayne at the beginning of this movie, he’s someone who has
lost all sense of purpose and himself, and it’s very much Joe’s character (played by Joseph Gordon Levitt) who inspires him again. He has all the brashness of youth and that reminds Bruce of who he used to be and encourages him to step back up again [to save Gotham].
You can’t talk about this film without talking about director Chris Nolan. What has this nearly decade long experience been like with him, and are you as amazed as the movie going public at his ability to make each film even better than the last?
Oh, he’s very good isn’t he? He’s very confident. He hasn’t changed since the first day that I met him. He’s always been very efficient and clear about what it is he wants, and he gets it.
You have a stunning new leading lady this time around as well. Anne Hathaway plays a pretty fierce Catwoman in Selina Kyle. What was it like working with her, and what did you think of her performance?
I think from the first time I read with her, I turned to Chris afterwards and said, “I think that’s it” because I recognized from being in the suit, you have to have a reason for wearing these bizarre costumes, and in Chris’ world, you had to make that mean something. For Bruce Wayne, it’s because he feels monstrous, and he creates this monster to channel that. I found with Anne she was able in the scenes where she’s not in her Catwoman costume she was able to be very real and keep with the atmosphere, but then when she put it on, she was wearing it. She wasn’t dominated by it, and you have to be able to do that without going over the top or making it too cartoonish. You had to be able to overcome the costume, and she was very able to do that.
Speaking of demanding costumes, I didn’t even recognize Tom Hardy in that mask. Was it tough for you guys to maneuver around in your costumes with all of their restrictions during the fight scenes?
It could be a little tricky sometimes to hear each other, but we worked out little signals
for each other. Tom’s a really wonderful actor, and he was always able to convey so much despite having so much of his face covered, and you know Chris casts very very well.
And how did it feel when you took that suit off for the last time?
We were in New York, and just like everything you spend a lot of time with, it becomes sort of a love/hate relationship because I spent so many hours sitting in it for several months at a time for each movie, but I was always honored to be able to wear it and inhabit this very iconic character. These moments happen quite quietly [on a film set]. It’s always “That’s the last shot,” and it’s over. So, I took a few moments to myself to keep it on just realizing that was the last time it would be on. It was a meaningful moment. These movies have meant a great deal to me.
They’ve meant a great deal to us all, Christian. I think the film’s tagline sums it up…The Legend Ends. Get your tickets early for this one, or it’s going to be tough to see it opening night! The Dark Knight Rises opens nationwide this week. The film is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and some sensuality.