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July 18, 2012
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'Dark Knight' cast talks Batman
By Bruce Kirkland, QMI Agency


Christian Bale in 'The Dark Knight Rises'. (Warner Bros. Handout)

The cast and creators of The Dark Knight Rises assembled recently to chat up their new film -- and reflect on the trilogy that began when Christian Bale donned the cape and cowl in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. Here are some random samplings of what they had to say:

  • The real-life daddy in Bale is delighted with Anne Hathaway's performance as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. "As a father," Bale tells QMI Agency about his seven-year-old daughter Emmeline, "I'm always very conscious now of looking for good, positive, strong, female figures in entertainment, in music, in everything, so my daughter can see that."
  • "I would have, you know, played a footstool in this movie," Hathaway says of her eagerness to sign up for The Dark Knight Rises. "But it was pretty cool to play such a wonderful character."
  • Bale says that 79-year-old Michael Caine can work faster than any other actor alive. "What's the fastest mammal?" Bale asks rhetorically. "The cheetah! The cheetah has nothing on Michael Caine. I've never seen anybody move so fast. He never asks for another take. He's always: 'Zip, zap, got it, moving on ...' And he's a real pleasure. It's a shame that it's coming to an end." Caine plays Bruce Wayne's lifetime butler, Alfred Pennyworth, in the current trilogy. Caine made his film debut in 1956, 18 years before Bale was born.
  • Nine years ago, Nolan showed up at Caine's door to cast him in Batman Begins. "I thought I'm too old to play Batman, I wonder who he wants me to be. I knew it wasn't Catwoman. And he said, 'The butler.' I didn't know if I wanted to say: 'Dinner is served ... do you want another bowl of soup?' That's not my scene." But the brilliant script, which the secretive Nolan forced him to read on the spot because he would not leave it behind, inspired Caine to take the role despite his misgivings.
  • Christopher Nolan admits he and his screenwriting brother Jonathan Nolan, who collaborated with David S. Goyer, were intimidated with the notion of giving audiences "a reason to come back to Gotham City." Especially after the success of The Dark Knight in 2008. "At the early stage, we felt a lot of pressure: 'Why would we do this? Do we have the story to tell?' Once we knew that we had a story that we really wanted to see -- that we wanted to know what happened to Bruce Wayne next and where his story was going to go and how we were going to finish this story -- then everything else started to fall into place."
  • The first time Bale auditioned for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne, Christopher Nolan gave him Val Kilmer's old Batman suit from 1995. "So it didn't fit very well," Bale recalls. Then, when he first got his own suit for Batman Begins in 2005, it fit too well. It was so snug Bale freaked out. "I thought: 'Oh, Chris is going to have to re-cast!' because the claustrophobia was just unbelievable. I just stood there and thought, 'I can't breath, can't think, it's too tight, it's squeezing my head, and I'm having a panic attack this very second!" Bale endured. The Batman suit was re-designed for comfort for the two sequels.
  • The Dark Knight Rises has social and political overtones, Bale says. That takes Batman back to his origins in 1939. "There have been wonderful spoofs," Bale says of the camp version of Batman in the 1960s, "and Adam West has done it beautifully. But it began as a very topical character. And I think Chris returned it to that."



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