Top 10... - June 2, 2015

10 Things You Didn’t Know About… Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy
by Tom
Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About… Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy

It earned almost two and a half billion dollars at the box office and changed the face of superhero movies forever, but when he was chosen back in 2003 to reboot and remould the Batman franchise, British director Christopher Nolan was seen as a very risky choice. He’d had success with Insomnia and Memento, but was known for directing psychological thrillers with complex scripts and no explosions.

But, as soon as Batman Begins hit cinema screens, all that doubt washed away. Nolan’s caped crusader was triumphant, dark, ambitious, full of rounded performances and a world away from the camp pantomime nature of the previous Batman movie Batman and Robin. Two more movies would follow, 2008’s The Dark Knight and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, each of which wowed fans and critics alike.

With the trilogy now on offer as part of hmv’s Prequels, Sequels and Beyond campaign and with Ben Affleck making his debut as The Dark Knight next year in Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice (more on that here), we thought it was an excellent time to bring you 10 things you didn’t know about Christopher Nolan’s ground-breaking Batman trilogy…

 

 

Christian Bale faced some stiff competition for the role of Batman…

When it was announced back in 2003 that Nolan was to direct a reboot of Batman, the first question on everyone’s lips was “Who will be his Batman?”. George Clooney had last been in the cape, but that was over six years ago, so a new face was needed. Lots of Hollywood’s biggest hitters and rising stars auditioned for the role, Eion Bailey, Henry Cavill, Billy Crudup, Hugh Dancy, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joshua Jackson, Heath Ledger, David Boreanaz and Cillian Murphy all auditioned for the role, but in the end, Nolan plumped for Bale.

 

And one of them ended up as a key villain in Batman Begins

Although he lost out on the key role, Christopher Nolan was sufficiently impressed with Cillian Murphy to offer him a big role in Batman Begins. Murphy ended up playing Jonathan Crane, a.k.a the Scarecrow. For this particular role, he fought off competition of Marilyn Manson of all people…

 

Christian Bale was almost Batman’s sidekick…

A much younger Bale auditioned for the role of Robin in Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin back in 1997, but lost out of Chris O’Donnell. Bet he doesn’t regret that now…

 

Batman Begins had two other titles…

Before Nolan and Warner Brothers settled on the title of Batman Begins, there were two other titles under consideration, they were Batman 5 and Batman: The Frightening. We think they got it right…

 

Bale went full method for his role as Batman…

He might have won the role, but before shooting could begin on Batman, Christian Bale had a lot of work to do. He’d just finished making The Machinist, a film where he played an insomniac who is driven to the point of emaciation. For that role he’d lost 62 pounds and was now down to 120 pounds, a point he’d only stopped at because producers intervened as they were that concerned for his health.

To pull off Batman’s bulk, Bale had to pile on the pounds, he hired a personal trailer and gorged on pizza and ice cream, actually ending up 20 pounds heavier than he needed to be. He lost that by the time filming came round to leave him at 190 pounds when shooting started…

 

Christopher Nolan began the shoot for The Dark Knight in a very bizarre manner…

Rather than throw his cast and crew into the deep end with a big action set piece, Nolan actually made sure his cast and crew spent the first two days of the shoot sat down watching movies. Before they started, Nolan screened Citizen Kane, A Clockwork Orange, King Kong, Black Sunday, Cat People, Heat, Stalag 17 and — naturally — Batman Begins, just to make sure all his crew and cast were on the same page.

 

Wayne Manor is actually in Nottingham…

The magnificent house, featured in The Dark Knight Rises, is actually Wollaton Hall near Nottingham, which is appropriately five miles north of Gotham, the town that gave its name to the city Batman loves so dearly.

 

Lots of Hollywood’s top actors wanted to be The Joker…

Christopher Nolan wanted Heath Ledger from the moment he knew The Joker was to be his villain for The Dark Knight, but that didn’t stop other actors from putting themselves forward for the role. Paul Bettany, Lachy Hulme, Adrien Brody, Steve Carell and Robin Williams all expressed a strong interest in smearing on the make up, but Nolan held fast and Ledger would go on to deliver one of the all-time great performances, a performance for which he was awarded an Oscar.

 

A real-life football team star in that sequence in The Dark Knight Rises

10,000 extras were required to shoot the breathtaking sequence in the third and final movie where an entire football stadium disappears into the ground. Some of the Pittsburgh Steelers played football players in that sequence, moonlighting as the Gotham Rogues…

 

 

The final fight is very special...

For any number of reasons, but final showdown between Bale’s Batman and Tom Hardy’s seriously bulked up Bane is the first time in any of the Batman movies that we actually see the caped crusader in daylight. He’s just not a morning person…

 

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is available in store now as part of hmv’s Prequels, Sequels and Beyond campaign.

 

The Dark Knight Trilogy
The Dark Knight Trilogy Christopher Nolan

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