Christopher Nolan says his Batman doesn’t play well with others

Oct. 29, 2008 | 1:43 p.m.

EXCLUSIVE

The director of "The Dark Knight" talks about the problems with teaming up Batman with other superheroes and also discusses the potential for an Oscar nomination for the late Heath Ledger.

Crhsitopher_nolan_with_batsignal_po

This is the final installment of a three-part interview with Christopher Nolan, director of "The Dark Knight," the second-highest-grossing film in history and, by many accounts, the best superhero adaptation ever. But the London native has also shown a flair for intricate and sophisticated thrillers ("Memento," "The Prestige" and "Insomnia"), and in today’s interview he makes it clear that he sees his Batman character as being separate and apart from the crowded superhero cinema of today.

GB: Chris, this summer, "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk" signaled the true start of the "crossover era" in comic-book films with Marvel Studios putting an emphasis on the fact that their heroes coexist in the same world. DC and Warner Bros. may embrace a similar strategy, especially if the Justice League film project is revived. Does that concern you? Your Gotham doesn’t seem suited to that.

Batman_atop_police_car_2_2Nolan: I don’t think our Batman, our Gotham, lends itself to that kind of cross-fertilization. It goes back to one of the first things we wrangled with when we first started putting the story together: Is this a world in which comic books already exist? Is this a world in which superheroes already exist? If you think of "Batman Begins" and you think of the philosophy of this character trying to reinvent himself as a symbol, we took the position — we didn’t address it directly in the film, but we did take the position philosophically — that superheroes simply don’t exist. If they did, if Bruce knew of Superman or even of comic books, then that’s a completely different decision that he’s making when he puts on a costume in an attempt to become a symbol. It’s a paradox and a conundrum, but what we did is go back to the very original concept and idea of the character. In his first appearances, he invents himself as a totally original creation.

GB: That doesn’t lend itselt to having him swing on a rope across the Metropolis skyline.

Nolan: No, correct, it’s a different universe. It’s a different way of looking at it. Now, it’s been done successfully, very successfully, in the comics so I don’t dispute it as an approach. It just isn’t the approach we took. We had to make a decision for "Batman Begins." 

GB: A different path…

Nolan: Yes, completely different. It would have given a very, very different meaning to what Bruce Wayne was leaving home to do and coming back home to do and putting on the costume for and all the rest. We dealt with on its own terms: What does Batman mean to Bruce Wayne, what is he trying to achieve? He has not been influenced by other superheroes. Of course, you see what we’re able to do with Joker in this film is that he is able to be quite theatrical because we set up Batman as an example of intense theatricality in Gotham. It starts to grow outward from Batman. But the premise we began with is that Batman was creating a wholly original thing. To be honest, we went even further than the comics on this point. I can’t remember at what point in the comics history the idea came about that he was a fan of Zorro as a kid. I haven’t researched that, but I don’t believe it goes back terribly far.”

GB: I remember the movie-theater marquee with a Zorro film in Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” in 1986. …

Nolan: It definitely goes back before that. I’m pretty sure. I’ll have to ask [DC Comics President] Paul Levitz about it, but my sense is that it does go back further … but either way, we changed it. We didn’t have young Bruce going to see Zorro because a character in a movie watching a movie is very different than a character in a comic book watching a movie. A comic-book character reading a comic book is more analogous to a character in a movie watching a movie. It creates a deconstructionist thing that we were trying to avoid. That was one reason. But another reason was to remove Zorro as a role model. We wanted nothing that would undermine the idea that Bruce came up with this crazy plan of putting on a mask all by himself. That allowed us to treat it on our own terms. So we replaced the Zorro idea with the bats to cement that idea of fear and symbolism associated with bats.

Christopher_nolan_and_aaron_eckhart

GB: Which you did by putting Bruce and his parents in the opera house watching "Die Fledermaus," which also gave you an opportunity to enhance the operatic feel of the film.

Nolan: Precisely. That took us into that very realm that seemed to work on screen.

GB: You’ve said you aren’t sure what you next project will be. But clearly Warner Bros. looks at Batman as a core part of their movie business, perhaps now more than ever, and there are marketplace pressures on them to schedule the next installment of the franchise. Are you getting a lot of pressure to make a decision?

Nolan: They’re being extremely gracious. I have a very good relationship with the studio. They know that I really needed to go on holiday and take some time to figure what I want to do next. They’ve been very respectful of that, which is terrific and one of the reasons I enjoy working with Warner Bros.

GB: The nominations for the 81st Academy Awards will be announced in January. How meaningful would it be for the cast and crew of "The Dark Knight" if the late Heath Ledger is nominated for best supporting actor?   

Heath_ledger_as_the_joker_watches_tNolan: I think the thing that has always been important to me in light of Heath’s death is the responsibility I’ve felt to his work. The responsibility of crafting the film in such a way that his performance came across the way he intended. Clearly, that has been the case. That’s one of the reasons I take such pride in the film.

I felt a great wave of relief, really, as people first started to see the performance and it was clear that they were getting the performance. It’s easy to forget with everything that’s happened what an enormous challenge it was for Heath to take on this iconic role. He rose to that challenge so admirably that any expression of people being excited or moved by his performance is a wonderful thing. Whatever form that takes. People coming to see his performance and getting it. It’s been extremely satisfying for all of us already. Anything that adds to that would be wonderful.

– Geoff Boucher

READ PART ONE OF THIS INTERVIEW: Why Christopher Nolan isn’t sure he will make a third Bat-film

READ PART TWO: Christopher Nolan analyzes his favorite scene in "The Dark Knight"

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All "Dark Knight" coverage at Hero Complex

Photo gallery of possible villains for the next Batman film

Why Angelina Jolie should be Catwoman

ALSO Other Hero Complex conversations with filmmakers:

Jon Favreau

Zack Snyder

Richard Donner

Frank Miller

CREDITS: All photos by Stephen Vaughan from the set of "The Dark Knight" in Chicago. Christopher Nolan with Bat-signal; Christian Bale as Batman; Nolan directing Aaron Eckhart; Heath LEdger as the Joker with money to burn. All photos courtesy of Warner Bros.

More in: Uncategorized, Batman, Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight

Comments


39 Responses to Christopher Nolan says his Batman doesn’t play well with others

  1. Aknot says:

    "I don’t think our Batman, our Gotham, lends itself to that kind of cross-fertilization." Least he didnt say his.
    Think outside the box. There is no reason Gotham cant be a cesspool within itself. The comics cover this and more. there is no reason the "movies" cant.
    While no I wouldn't want to see Batman going toe to toe with a "Darkseid" level villian there are many ways to use "Nolans" Batman… just like the books…

  2. Darkie1973 says:

    These movies shouldn't crossover,… let's face it, D.C. Universe (and I READ D.C. Comics,) is quite unrealistic. Downright silly sometimes. The Batman Begins universe is a completely plausible one; the existance of aliens (Superman, Green Lantern, etc,) amazons (Wonder Woman,) mutations and other forms of 'extreme' science DOES NOT FIT. In fact the existance of a 'Superman,' in the Begins universe would render many of the trials and challenges that Batman (as a mortal man) faces, moot. As Nolan said, and I completely agree, the idea of a costumed identity as an elemental force has to be Bruce's idea alone in order for this story to work,… in order for Batman to be relevant to that world. Neither superhero comics, nor even the term 'superhero' can exist in this world. Batman lends himself so readily to the screen, because (like Marvel,) he is one of the few D.C. characters with any semblance of plausiblitiy. The inclusion of any of what 90% of what the D.C. universe is made of (including a Robin,) would eliminate 'suspension of disbelief' altogether. Please Warner Bros., no crossovers. Many of your characters have are having difficulty translating alone, without trying to cross polinate; let's face it,… the base material doesn't readily lend itself to cinema without bordering on tongue-in-cheek.

  3. Byron More says:

    Ummm Nolan needs to know that his Batman and Gotham City don't exist just like superheroes so even his Batman is not possible cause it's from the comics and he would fit in with other superheroes because it already has been done in the comics, I mean we need a Batman in the Justice League movie with the same actor.

  4. Michael says:

    My hope is that Nolan comes back for one more film and completes Bruce Wayne's story arc – creation, sacrifice… and redemption. Batman needs to become a hero to Gotham City and one more film can end it on that perfect note.
    As far as cross-fertilization goes, I agree with Nolan's views on the matter. Very well reasoned. However, I do think that after his trilogy (supposing it is just a trilogy) is complete – a film dealing with his version of Batman encountering Superman COULD work if done right and taken as seriously.

    • Jiminy Roach says:

      It could, but not in a Justice League-type setting. Maybe Superman comes to him in need of his detective skills and Batman sees him as cheating. Like, imagine if you were playing a game online and one person spent a long time perfecting playing normally while another's copy had a god-mode that couldn't be turned off. Its not really dishonest like hacking the game, but the latter is still playing with an insurmountable edge and it isn't hard to imagine being less than eager to play with him.
      Batman would need some animosity toward Superman, kind of like he had for Huntress during No Man's Land, but for a different reason. He may end up acknowledging that theres a need for him, but the movie couldn't end with them shaking hands.
      All in all, a cross-over wouldn't work with this Batman.

  5. Ryan says:

    I think that you could have Batman as the role model for other superheroes in DC. It would be stupid if Batman used Superman as influence because he has no powers. But if the superpowered saw how effective theatricality was in the hands of an ordinary man, it would make sense if they used it.

    • larry says:

      that's an interesting thought…..

    • Bronson says:

      But in terms of a hero such as superman, he was sent to earth with the specific purpose of becoming its savior and hero or for green lantern who simply imitates the costume and theatrics that his predecessors do. Now for people like the flash, wonder woman or Martian man hunter that idea is a little more plausible.

  6. Jim says:

    I think that Nolan, DC, Warner Bros., etc…should at least consider the Comic Book Batman story "Hush" as a possible inspiration for a third film. Go read the scene where Batman and Sperman confront each other. Turn the idea of "no ther super heros" on its head and have Bats being recruited to go after a rogue Superman who has lost it under the influense of some nefarious evildoer and is out creating havoc. Let's see him become the scientist and detective he is. Heck, you could have a script were Superman isn't even seen on screen 'til the very end, just a build up and rising anticipatory tension as Bats chases him down, figures out how to beat him, and finally, confronts him. This is how you out do the grosses on Dark Knight while creating a great story and the added bonus of reviving the Superman mythos. Someone get this idea to the right people!

  7. Sophie says:

    My preference has always been Marvel superheroes/comics, with the notable exception of Batman. C. Nolan has basically tried to situate the Batman story in the "real" world. I think Nolan is not a fan of comic books or even superheroes in general, nor the world in which they exist. He just has an interest in the Batman story, partly because he is an unusual superhero (ie, with no 'powers'). This "uniqueness" about Batman has been repeated to me countless times. While it does add an interesting dimension lacking in other superheroes, I do very much believe Batman possesses his own unique powers, as do the X-Men, Spiderman, Superman, etc. Batman's 'powers' (seemingly limitless wealth, and time and resources, and acrobatic and superior physical prowess) are like other superheroes. Simply because they are not "mutant" or "alien" doesn't make them any less fantastic.

  8. Kane says:

    As much as I agree Nolan's Batman universe doesn't immediately lend itself well to the superhero world, there is an alternative to "Bruce knowing of Superman" in the two films so far. That is, Batman/Bruce Wayne could act as the human touchstone through which the world opens up to superheroes existing in the first place. In other words… a third Batman film could actually feature the early arrival of superheroes, with Bruce as surprised as anybody by the first appearance of Superman. Timewise, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight could happen before any other DC universe film.
    Heck… they're unlikely to surpass The Dark Knight in quality and scope anyway, so why not make the third film 'Batman vs. Superman' and kill a few birds with one stone? Everyone's tired of the goody-two-shoes, technicolor world of Supes anyway… so bring him to Gotham to track down Batman, the Gotham fugitive. Make Superman dark(ish) and conflicted over how to handle Batman when he realises he ain't the bad guy.
    Crazy? Sure… but so was Heath Ledger as the Joker once upon a time. Remember…?
    I think Nolan needs to realise his superhero is NOT above his origins and shouldn't be painted into a snobby, self-righteous corner. After all, it's all about the execution and how clever the writers can be.

    • sooth says:

      Good thoughts Kane! "Sure…but so was Heath Leger as the Joker once upon a time. Remember?" Classic. Also, I like your thought that as far as timelines go, in Nolan's "universe" Batman could be the first to go public. That opens up several possibilities.
      Just not for Christopher Nolan. He has made it clear that HE is not going to do "outside of plausibility," and you know what? That's fine. Twice now he has surprised me with wonderful movies…so let him see his trilogy through, let's enjoy it while it's still great cinema. After that, we'll watch Warner Bros turn it into just another "money machine" anyway. While someone is in place to make a great story, let him do it, just let him do it.

  9. reek says:

    I don't see a problem with two batman universes co-existing, aside from the real world legal wrangling. Nolan can have his gritty "realistic" batman, and they can also make a lighter, family friendly batman played by a smiling lightweight (Armie Hammer?) for the unrelated Justice League movie…which will undoubtedly suck. Still, I don't see what the big deal is about doing both. Forget about Christian Bale in JLA though, no way he joins an ensemble cast for a campy version of a character he has done so well with. I don't blame him. Brandon Routh on the other hand doesn't seem to have too much to do, why not use him for JLA.

  10. cliff says:

    a third batman needs the flying batmobile in it just like in the 1989 Batman.
    we had the car, then the motorcycle, now we must have flying machine to finish it off.
    any thoughts on that?

  11. Daniel Simons says:

    He asks "How many good third movies in a franchise can people name? " Nolan needs to remember that most of the bad third movies were done by a different director. Does he really think that after the money Dark Knight has made so far, WB isn't going to make a third Batman movie. He should do it just to protect the image of the previous ones. Nobody needs another Batman and Robin.

  12. Niles Day says:

    I think what Nolan means by it won’t work is that team-ups and other heroes already existing cannot work while Batman Begins was happening, where Dark Knight left off, or where the story would logically follow. Perhaps heroes could begin appearing after Batman and Superman and such, but not at the same time. The idea of this Batman, which is now to me the most iconic incarnation–particularly because of how the core themes of Batman are presented to the best ability and because of its plausibility (which provides relevant weight to the comic book monuments of heroism and sacrifice)–standing alongside the bright, colorful, and ultimately worryfree Justice League is ludicrous. Batman’s a man. He doesn’t have the time to protect earth and a singular city. It’s fun to read in comics, but it doesn’t work. Understandably the Justice League without a Batman seems offsetting and upsetting but it is what it is.
    Jim’s Hush Superman storyline suggestion was cute, but so wrong and ultimately an example of the crying fandom that doesn’t realize that this movie was not just explosions and theatrics, it was story with real consequences. Making Superman an opponent just for the sake of it does justice to neither DC icons. And the suggestion of having Superman appear at the last part of such a movie is as ridiculous as having a Larry Bird-Magic Johnson game but having Magic finally come on in the last five minutes of the game, just for the sake of making us anticipate.
    But the award goes to Bryon Moore who said:
    Ummm Nolan needs to know that his Batman and Gotham City don’t exist just like superheroes so even his Batman is not possible cause it’s from the comics and he would fit in with other superheroes because it already has been done in the comics, I mean we need a Batman in the Justice League movie with the same actor.
    So what if Batman and Gotham City don’t exist in real life? In the movie they do. Just because something’s been done in the comics does not mean it actually stands up to plausibility, which Nolan’s Batman’s does in spades. Can you argue on behalf of a Superman who can’t take the time out to stop a serial killer clown or make sense of a Batman who has to take care of a city and all of planet earth? And let’s be even more frank. Justice League while genocides are going on? You better deal with that crap first.
    Anyways, Love the movies. Love the interviews. Fans educate yourselves before you type so I don’t get a headache when I read.

  13. riki ricardo says:

    man. i really hope nolan returns for a third film… i mean the chemistry of the overall movie was great.. story,performance.directing.. if they have a missed link in the chain,, specially missing the same director. would be a dissapointment,, i think theres no better director to best portray batman in a sort of prism of reality and still make the film very entertaining to comic fans and overall viewers

  14. Jim says:

    Actually Niles Day, it was only a pretend story, and there were no real consequnces other than gobs of money being made.
    "So waht if Gotham and Batman don't exist in real life, in the movie they do."
    Movies are not real life Niles. They are supposed to be entertaining, and profitable.
    Stop trying to squeeze a superhero movie into your snobby arthouse paradigm.
    Your Larry/Magic comparison was a little strange as well. NBA games are real. and the outcome is undtermined. Movies are pretend, and the outcome is predetermined. Get it.
    Stop taking yourself so seriously Niles. Buy some popcorn and have a little fun. Oh, and just wait 'til you see what they do at Warner Bros. with these heroes. You will be surprised when you hear whats coming, but probably disappointed.

  15. This Batman can work says:

    The Smallville world is very close to Nolan's Batman world in terms realism. Its the close to realism you can get for a superman incarnation. I think there should be a Smallville cross over in Nolan's Batman franchise provided they do a reboot of the superman franchise with most of the crew from that show.

  16. mourasantos says:

    I have a very clearly defined idea of how the general broad-strokes should be put in place for the next couple of Batman flicks. First of all I think it should be said that I believe people have misinterpreted the fabric of “Nolan’s universe” as being one that adheres closely to our own. My take on the films is at odds with this approach. I agree that the two films Christopher Nolan produced are more realistic than any of the other “Batman’s” that preceded it… but people forget that the principal theme surrounding Batman Begins and continuing onto The Dark Knight is of one pertaining to escalation. I believe that if the series does go on with Nolan under the helm, he should continue to explore the Batman mythos as a world that becomes progressively weirder and more outlandish, so that towards the end of the series it is hard to recognize it as the same presented to us in the saga’s beginning: a world where Batman’s own existence repeatedly spawns a plethora of villainous characters continuously outdoing one another in their excentricity and implausibility so that nearing the series’ apex it manages not only to be more faithful to its fantastical comic-book source material as well as being able keep in tune with its original intent of elevating the films away from Burton’s mediocre pop-artistry.
    Given The Dark Knight’s sensational box-office gross I think it would be ideal to produce the next Batman as a two part spectacle filmed back to back a la Harry Potter’s last outing. The reasons for this decision abound:
    • The Batman franchise, if done right, has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be a highly rentable one. It would not be much of a gamble for Warner Bros. to finance two pictures “in one sitting”.
    • Christian Bale’s performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman is invaluable for the series’ continuity and his contribution to further franchise installments should be insured contractually for two back-to-back films so that the actor’s age does not become a hindrance to the plausibility of the character. The long process between the realization of each singular installment would then be eliminated, thus discarding the rather ludicrous prospect of audiences watching a 40+ year old Batman performing feats of near physical impossibility.
    • The fact that two Batman films could be done and over with, in one fell swoop could open up the possibility for director Chistopher Nolan to expand his artistic ambitions. Once completed, he could then focus on other kinds of non-Batman related projects a director of his caliber is surely interested in.
    • Finally, the remote possibility of super-hero genre market saturation. In other words, the assumption that, however unlikely, the popularity of movies based on comic book properties will soon peak and therefore, the necessity to release them before such happens becomes a priority.
    With the necessity of the films being shot back-to-back out of the way, the creative process for these films can be discussed:
    In my view, the tentative use of the Riddler for the next movie should be discarded. I believe he should be pushed back to the second sequel to The Dark Knight; His villainous machinations are too reminiscent of the Joker’s own trickery for them to have any resonance with audiences as early as the next movie. The use of the Riddler as the main antagonist for Batman in a direct sequel to The Dark Knight would seem derivative to the public and would therefore desenpower the presence of such a villain on screen. Thus, the Penguin would be the perfect foil for the next movie.
    A movie which, in my mind, should have as its main precepts the following:
    • GCPD’s prerogative will be to bring down the Batman at any costs. This will prove a hindrance to Batman’s crime-fighting agenda throughout much of the film.
    • The Penguin should take movie goers one step closer to Batman’s fantastical comic book roots. His visage should be abhorrent and wonderfully grotesque but not enough that it would project audiences into the realm of incredulity.
    • In another nod to the idea of escalation and Batman’s world growing ever stranger, The Penguin’s use of a deadly umbrella should be included, but in a careful manner so as to avoid slipping into the realm of camp. Perhaps a modified unbreakable umbrella like the real world ones used by the Secret Service of the Phillipines would be appropriate.
    • The Penguin should be a high-tech arms dealer who is flooding Gotham’s underworld with real-world high tech weapons systems such as the DREAD or the CORNERSHOT. He could be viewed as a kind of twisted, malevolent Lucius Fox, obsessed with using his weapons expertise and vast financial resources to put an end to the Batman’s existence.
    • The Bat-suit will suffer yet another upgrade in order to cope with the weapons being flooded into Gotham. However, Batman’s refusal to stoop down to his antagonist’s level by acquiring guns of his own should be seen as both heroic and—given the graveness of the situation—pathological. This point will be driven home with audiences by showing them Bruce Wayne’s injuries as being graver than the ones caused by any of his previous scuffles. The amount of bodily harm to which the protagonist subjects himself to should be gruesome to the point that even Alfred questions his refusal to “fight fire with fire”.
    (As we already know, Batman refuses to use guns of any kind as he associates them with his parents’ demise.)
    • Much like the James Bond series, movie-goers hunger for interesting gadgets in a Batman film. This thirst should be partially quenched with Batman’s upgraded suit and the revelation of a sleeker, cooler prototype vehicle being in the works (only to be finished/used in the following film). However, most of the high-tech eye candy will be provided by the Penguin’s arsenal of state of the art weaponry. This will not only augment the movie’s visual appeal but also help to cement The Penguin’s status as a genuine threat.
    • Batman’s partial redemption in the eyes of Gotham’s public should be achieved through his defeat of the Penguin. The Penguin’s threat to the integrity of Gotham will be such that its citizens, in a desperate plea for salvation will call out to what they perceive as a necessary evil: the Batman. This fight fire with fire approach will be polarizing amongst Gothamites, but by the end of the picture, and given the protagonist’s slew of heroic deeds (including The Penguin’s downfall), many will question the veracity of Batman’s involvement in Dent’s supposed death, allowing Comissioner Gordon’s GCPD to re-assess Batman’s incarceration as a priority.
    • Batman’s presence within Gotham City should be shown to have an effect upon the image of the city itself. Gotham should suffer an ever-so-slight metamorphosis veering towards the dark and gothic as a reflection of its iconic protector. More gargoyles and building facades featuring chimeras and the like should be a staple in Gotham. This would help identify Gotham as a city with its own identity as opposed to just another large North American hub.
    • Finally–and functioning as the movie’s cliffhanger–Two Face’s survival should be revealed. Comissioner Gordon having pulled the necessary strings, it is revealed to audiences he is alive and incarcerated in Arkham Asylum under an alias. Gotham’s dirty little secret hidden away amongst Gotham’s other psychotic evildoers such as Scarecrow, The Joker and now the Penguin.
    With all these points discussed above the setup for a second sequel featuring the Riddler is established. I also have some very clearly defined ideas pertaining to how that particular movie should play out, the most important of which, to my mind, include the revelation in that film’s ending of The Joker having taken control of Arkham Asylum. An ending which would be perfect for a fifth and final film: an adaptation of Grant Morrison’s influential graphic novel “Arkham Asylum” featuring The Scarecrow, The Penguin, The Riddler and the Joker’s long awaited return; a movie which would function as the apotheosis of all the weirdness building up in Gotham and one where Batman’s own psychosis becomes readily apparent. The ending of the film could conceivably consist of the tentative re-imagination of Superman descending from on-high and approaching the Batman for recruitment to the JLA—an image which would not be so out of place within the dbizarre context of the film, but would still be seen as some kind of apparition to a disbelieving Batman. This climax could be viewed as either a catalyst to all the ascending preposterousness going on within Gotham or as a discomforting look into Batman’s fragile mind.
    In other words, Superman’s arrival in the end of “Arkham Asylum” could be the fruit of Batman’s shattered psyche, a hallucination conjured from a mind so twisted by the Joker’s machinations that its way of coping was by raising a Jungian archetype out of its own imagination. This is a concept which was briefly discussed in “Batman Begins” and one that would duly fit within “Arkham Asylum”.
    Either way one wishes to interpret the ending of this film opens up the possibility for the eagerly awaited JLA film.
    I truly believe this to be the only conceivable manner to conciliate Nolan’s vision with a hypothetical Justice League spin-off.

  17. Nave Hayder says:

    I do believe that since most of the DC 'cities' are liberal and isolated on their own fields, the cross-over is possible, but doesn't necessarily have to be based on either hero's town. While Marvel is undoubtedly more expected to pull this off first; they were the ones who began the idea by pitting all their characters in New York, so Marvel is expected to do crossovers. DC, on the other hand, can develop their own independent films with the same flair and quality as a Shakespearian cast. We can have different settings (cities holding cesspools like Gotham as well as Art-Deco perfection as Metropolis) spanning across the genres (GL: Sci-Fi, what was that rumour about a script I read in that Latin site? Seemed official). Hence, we may not get a, say, a feel of Thomas Hardy's Wessex with the onslaught of DC Characters, but that doesn't mean that crossovers will be impossible. Nolan's brilliant work on Batman, and his 'hyper real' Gotham is in fact a prime example of how this is possible; the Gotham Nolan gave us is actually unlike any other metropolitan city found in the world today, I believe someone did comment on how the characters in TDK is so real that any one of them can be expected to walk into our offices tomorrow morning, building on that thought, I suppose incorporating these 'realistic' personas into whichever film comes out is possible. Think of Clark Kent and Lois Lane trying to get an interview at a press conference or a grand opening where Bruce Wayne makes an appearance. That could be possible. But as per Justice Leaguers… well, pulling THAT off could be tricky, but is still possible if we place things on a grander scale; a threat in Washington perhaps? The more realistic the settings are, the easier it will be to introduce characters, because realism blurs the line of differentiation, so although we may have DC's absolute power of deviance in terms of cities, genre-wise, as movies continue to portray these cities with hybrid realism; the crossover fans so eagerly await can actually be closer than we think; as the cities themselves lose their boundaries.

  18. Niles Day says:

    Well, aren't we sensitive Jim? I don't like getting into tiffs online, cuz I've read a lot of bull and that's all it is. So, I'll be cordial. First of all, thanks for the arthouse comment considering I don't come from that movie mindset. I'm no snob and my paradigm, well just recognize a great story being told when I see, hear, or read one. I don't blame you for wanting to have fun. So do I. I could bust your ass in basketball, both on a court and on NBA 2K6, I'm game. And most movie-viewers wanna have fun, so they go watch X-Men, Blade, Transformers, etc. Yet, there's a reason that this movie and this franchise stands head and shoulders above any of the comic book based films that have poured in the last decade. The story's relevance and weight, though just a story, cannot be denied. The Dark Knight's themes, presentation, acting, directing, and most of all the respect given to the characters and their legacy, were what drove this movie not to be a mere modest success, but a phenomenon. Obviously a movie is supposed to be profitable and entertaining but it doesn't mean it's just supposed to be escapist. You have to make the audience care and the audience won't care for something that is all surface, no substance; which is what your Superman vs. Batman suggestion, the way you put it at least, was.
    Now for the smart ass comments. I know basketball games are real and movies are not. The analogy between Bird-Magic and Superman-Batman, was the clash of titans, not whether or not one was fictional. I said that if you got two iconic titans going to clash, you can't play the audience out by having them do so in the final minute of the story whether it be a real-life game or a fictional movie. Which again, is what you suggested could be done.
    Oh and I know how studios think son. You don't gotta passive-aggressively tell me that they're concerned for money over story and that the DC stable of heroes are just dollars in their eyes. That's cool. As long as this movie got in there and showed them that you don't only get to money by doing nicely packaged, cliche-ridden stories.
    Substance over surface. And The Dark Knight was substance. Have a good morning, afternoon, or night. And once again, think before you type; you give me headaches. Ha.

  19. Niles Day says:

    Oh and another thing: Smallville ain't realistic. Wow.

  20. meeee says:

    You guys who think Nolan is wrong about mixing other DC characters in with his take on Batman are ridiculously dumb.
    It won't work. Nolan is saying in HIS take on Batman, Batman is the only "superhero" around. It's like the real world, if someone decided to become Batman. Sure it's not exactly real but it's self-contained. There is no Metropolis with Superman, etc. etc. No matter how much your fanboygasiming hearts want it… a super powered person like Superman or The Flash or whatever coming into Nolan's Gotham just would seem silly and RUIN what he has accomplished with his take.
    It's not because he doesn't like comics or something. It's just the direction he went with. Chill… once he is done with this series they'll REBOOT it again and give you your DC Justice Leauge team up… it's coming one of these days. You know it.

  21. Seng says:

    I think an idea of a cross over with this Batman would be absolutely terrible. Adding superman or making a justice league movie branching off Batman Begins and TDK is asking to ruin this franchise. So far the first two movies have plausibility. I love Batman because he is just a man. But he also fights against other humans. Now you want him to fight aliens, magical begins, ect. (If you have read DC comics it does get pretty silly) Don't get me wrong but I love DC comics and Marvel movies. But with the direction that Nolan took it would make it completely silly to add other superheros.
    Plus how the movie ends and the opinion of Batman in the eyes of the public that he's a vigilante. Then you have an Alien (superman) with so much more power then Batman comes?? Just think about it.
    Iron man and Hulk were predetermined before hand and you can also see how that would work. The ground work was layed own there. Once you try to do to much with "superhero movies" you get a movie like Spiderman 3, which was absolutely horrible(the first two I thought were done well could of used some work but still good movied). And I hope that the Avengers becomes a great movie but I'm very skeptical at this point.

  22. DC says:

    Batman in the dark knight was still looked at as a vigilante and not a hero, so the idea of a superhero has still not been looked at in the story, allowing for Superman to be implicated. it is possible that Superman and Batman began thier carriers at the same time accept batman gets caught in the limelight quicker due to his lack of super speed. Batman and Superman could try to go after the same villain, but this villain would have to be both strong and weak enough for both heroes to take on, thats where the real problem lies. if both heroes could be evenly matched with one super-villain than it would show the strength of both heroes and show realistically how they can co-excist in Nolan's Gotham. Superman would cause lots of potential conflicts for Batman, like will he have to be Batman forever now that something like Superman is around, he would have to find a new place for himself,and depending on the heroes relationship Batman could decide to stay Batman out of some sort of professional rivalry. a movie exploring the different ideas and methods of these two iconic symbols is what catches peoples attention in the first place when a batman/superman movie is mentioned. We just have to see if anyone is talented enough to pull it of.

  23. Al says:

    I'm going to trust christopher noland's decision as director. I'm sure he's thought things out.

  24. TheCapedCrusader says:

    What Nolan did with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight was incredible, everything about it. I would much rather see the trilogy completed, than have a Justice League movie.

  25. darkie1973 says:

    An aliens, amazon, mutants and wizards won't fit into the world the Nolan has created. To suggested otherwise is laughable. Just to clarify,… that's Nolan's interpretation of Batman that I speak of, not all interpretations of Batman.

  26. y says:

    Someone name ONE crossover that didn't wind up cheesy.
    As someone who's written and rpged in a bunch of random crossovers, I've never came across any that turned out as good as a straight, one-universe plot. Albeit, they're good for laughs (like a crackfic) and can channel your childlike fantasies. But, in my opinion, no amount of randomness can ever top a solid dramatic, realistic story. Not saying Batman is real, but the possibility, the slight possibility that that universe mirrors ours is kind of exciting. It's a notion that's a bit within reach, unlike a totally far-fetched crossover full of super-powered inexplicable energy-ball-wielding elemental warriors. And with so many comic book heroes wearing colorful tights and capes…No. Just, no. I like Batman just the way he is. Solo and dark. =P

  27. UmIsThisThingOn says:

    I just want the title of the third (and hopefully last) movie to be 'The Dark Knight Returns'.
    It would give fans something to gush about while it's being made, and give the director
    some artistic leeway to set about creating the redemption story for Batman.
    A cool villain IMO would be Talia al Ghul, daughter of Ra's and the new head of the
    League of Shadows organization.

  28. re shinojosa says:

    upgrade the victor zsasz charecter… add bane vs the killer croc and j.p. valley as you into the younger robin as about "14"yrs old… but bring in the green hornet and kato for a t
    2vs2 super hero match and then add robin williams as an ailing mad hatter with the instrumental "sanitarium" theme and the tweddles as henchmen…. bla bla bla save johnny depp to fall in love with harley quinn in the future after you spin off robin to the teen titans and bring in other kids to help and die at the hands of the joker…………. but don't loke 4 good actors to play the parts like the last series… look out side the box and cheaper price tags on the actors… but if you want redemption go with just one badguy " mr.freeze" or two "clay face"

  29. tuskagee says:

    yeah i think alot of people misunderstood what mr. nolan was trying to say.
    he wasn't saying there was anything wrong with comics or super hero bashes or cross overs or any of that.. he was just trying to explain why they chose to construct THEIR take on batman the way they did… that's all… which is a very understandable thing.
    i mean comics are comics…. they aren't movies… alot of people try and argue that "WELL THEY ARE JUST STORYBOARDS U NOOB JUST TURN IT INTO CAMERAS AND UR DONE!" but that doesn't work… anyone who has spent some time reading comics will realize this.. you start to separate the "good" comics from the "bad" ones by recognizing which ones actually understand how comics move and flow and read… how your eyes react to the panels and how that effects the mood and timing of the book…
    movies aren't like this… they are much more controlled… so you have to approach them in a different way… movies are also less "surreal" … because the people in them look photo realistic… as opposed to comics where the characters always look … well …drawn… fake… characterized…. exaggerated….
    so some things can work in that medium that can't as easily and visa versa…..
    and yes they did a pretty good job with iron man and the hulk… but at the same time.. they weren't as good as TDK… they didn't have the same weight that B:B had and they didn't impact people as heavily….
    you can argue popularity of characters and probably get a pretty good lead…
    but when it comes down to it.. we all know which ones had class and which ones tipped a bit too far into fan service to really appeal to people in a strong way….
    and isn't that what making things is all about?
    trying to make your personal idea and "take" on something resonate with people in a really strong way…. maybe strong enough to make them create something on their own?
    that's what i'd like to think…. instead of just money money money…..
    here's hoping things move that way in the future… because as TDK proves.. you really can have it both ways… if you have a strong enough will to do it and tough through the slow build…..

  30. for the christopher nolan:you're one of the greatest filmmakers ever lived.
    please dont continue the batman movies.let they stay the best.dont be like the others!who make a lot of spidermans!!
    and for the la times:thank you for this interview.you are the best.

  31. Alton Thompson says:

    A correction of fact: The opera in 'Batman Begins' is 'Mefistofele' by Arrigo Boito. (See the film's end credits.) Boito's piece provides appropriately hellish gargoyles and subterranean drama. It is not 'Die Fledermaus', the bubbly comic operetta by Johann Strauss, as journalists sometimes state. The title of Strauss's champagne-filled romp does mean 'the bat.' Nothing resembling a bat appears in the show, though. The title alludes only to a character's nickname.

    Thanks for sharing this interview. I've enjoyed all of Christopher Nolan's films and appreciate what he is doing with this character.

  32. [...] next month, this would be good timing for Warner Bros. to begin a new DC movie-verse. Nolan told LA Times that his Batman will have nothing to do with a Justice League movie if that ever happened. Robinov [...]

  33. Quora says:

    Why wasn’t Selina Kyle referred to as “Catwoman” in The Dark Knight Rises?…

    It doesn’t fit with Nolan’s vision of his Batman universe to have too many named and costumed vigilante/hero types knocking around. Having a Batman and a Catwoman probably seemed too silly to him. It’s part of the illusionary realism he’s tried to …

  34. carlos says:

    What about more villains with powers like the legion of doom bring more bad guys into play just a thought then maybe batman may need an ace in the hole also

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