I have visited with Mr. Christopher Nolan several times over the years as he was helming his DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY. Also, I’ve seen him interviewed on TV and on the Net many times as well. Not once have I ever seen him get mad.
That streak ended on Sunday, July 8, 2012.
Why? Because another reporter at the RISES press conference I was attending asked about a huge -- I’m talking HUGE -- spoiler.
“Obviously, you can't ask that question in a press conference, you'll give away the ending of the film,” he responses as he face begins to turn red.
“Well, everyone here seen it,” she responds to Mr. Nolan.
“Who is the press conference for,” he questions said reporter -- who actually seems to not really give a you-know-what. “Come on! I mean, seriously!”
I actually wanted to crawl under my seat and hide. You could tell that the dude was, well, P-O'ed and I don't blame him in the least. I know how secretive he is about his films and despite the fact that we had indeed all seen THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, one should have had enough respect for that not to do something that stupid.
Really? Ask Chris Nolan about one of his film’s spoilers in a room full of people? Come on indeed!
Nolan, being the cool customer that he is, quickly regained his composure and went right back to calming answering questions. While he was not the only one on the RISES panel, there was no doubt that this was, for all intents and purposes, his press conference.
Had Bane’s voice been altered at all in ADR?
“Not really. Some things are clarified and cleaned up. But we try to be true. I'm not really a big fan of ADR, so we try to be as true as possible to the recordings we do at the time. So for the IMAX scenes -- because the IMAX cameras are incredibly noisy -- you're then really in a position where what we would do on the set is immediately do a take without running the camera. And that way you'd get [their voices] in the costume, in the physical positions that they're actually in when they're performing the scene. And those you can sync up very well to the picture.”
On Tom Hardy performing pretty much all of the film while wearing a mask.
“When I called [Tom Hardy] up I basically said to him 'Look, I've got good news and I've got bad news. The good news is I have a terrific part for you, the bad news is your face is going be completely covered for the whole film, so you're going have to get across whatever it is you want to get across through this character through just your eyes and your voice.”
“And what Tom did -- which I completely love but it takes audiences time to get used to -- is there's an incredible disjunct between what he's doing with his voice and what he's doing with his eyes. His eyes have this extremely threatening stillness to them. His voice is this extremely expressive.”
On the massive amount of spy photos that showed up online during the shoot.
“Well, that’s the world we live in now. If you're going do day exterior scenes in a city then everybody's going get cell phone photos of it. What you have to trust in is that audiences understand, or fans understand, that whatever they're seeing as the movie is being made is not the movie, and then they come to the film with fresh eyes. That's certainly what we hope.”
On being influenced by A TALE OF TWO CITIES.
"When [Jonathan Nolan] showed me his first draft of his [RISES] screenplay -- and it was 400 pages long or something and had all this crazy stuff in it -- when he handed it to me, he was like, 'You've got to think of A TALE OF TWO CITIES, which of course you've read.’ I said ‘Oh yeah, absolutely.’ I read the script and was a little baffled by a few things and then realized I had never read A TALE OF TWO CITIES.” (laughter by all)
“So I then got the book, read it, absolutely loved it, got completely what he was talking about. Then when I did my draft of the script it was all about A TALE OF TWO CITIES and really just trying to follow that because it just felt exactly the right thing for the world we were dealing with, and what Dickens does in that book in terms of having all of these different characters come together in one unified story with all of these great thematic elements and all of this great emotionalism and drama.”
On this Gotham City looking more like New York than it did in BATMAN BEGINS or THE DARK KNIGHT.
“Gotham has always been in some sense a stand-in for New York, and so obviously there's resonances there. But it is also important to bear in mind that Gotham is not a real city, and we've changed it every time...so that hopefully there's a little reminder in there for people as they watch the film that it is an unreal city.”
Why IMAX and film and not 3D and digital?
“For me, IMAX is the best possible quality image when you film with their cameras and project that film in their theaters on those huge screens. There's really no other way to do that with any other imaging technology. What I love about it -- as opposed to 3D -- is it creates a much larger than life image. When you watch a 3D film, the parallax makes it more intimate, it shrinks the imagery that you're looking at. I actually really like for these characters and these movies, I really like to see Batman larger than life on that enormous screen. The clarity of the image really draws me into the movie, and I enjoy that.”
And finally, Nolan had this to say about his films…
“For me, it feels important to make films -- even films that we go to for escapism and entertainment -- that they in some way be moving us in a real way.”
As I said in the beginning of this article, I've had the honor of meeting and visting with Mr. Nolan several times over the years. Call it what you want, but I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for this man. This is a guy who sat down with me one-on-one four years ago to talk about THE DARK KNIGHT. He gave me 30 minutes of his time to simply chat about Batman after THE DARK KNIGHT RISES PROLOGUE this past December. Heck, 2 days ago (as I write this) he and his wife Emma Thomas stopped to shake my hand and chat with me briefly when we crossed paths at the Beverly Hilton.
Chris Nolan gave me “My Batman” on film and for that, I’ll be forever grateful. He’s a class act and I’ll be a fan of his ‘til the day I die. The fact that I know that both he and "Team Nolan" respect me means the world to me.
Just don't ask him him about a spoiler! One more thing...
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES WILL move you in a “real way.” I can't wait for all you BOF'ers to see it! - Bill "Jett" Ramey
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES -- starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard -- hits theaters on JULY 20, 2012!