Are you hyperventilating about the new Star Wars trailer yet? If not, go and watch it again (or three, four, five more times)--I'll wait. When you're done, check out some of the actors you may have completely forgotten were in some incarnation of the Galaxy Far Far Away, either because their role was just that small, they weren't really famous at the time they did it, or because you've blanked the prequels from your memory.
If anything good ever came from Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin, it’s that the franchise was shelved for several years and had to be reconfigured for modern audiences. Along came Christopher Nolan’s vision, and his groundbreaking Batman trilogy that changed the far of superhero movies and fixed the iconic character. With Christian Bale in the cape and cowl, Nolan brought the character into the real world, and created three masterful, dark, and thoughtful films.
Here are 21 things to know about the trilogy, from Batman Begins, to The Dark Knight, to The Dark Knight Rises…
1. While shooting action scenes on the streets of Chicago, a person accidentally crashed into the Batmobile. The driver was apparently drunk and said he hit the car in a state of panic, believing the Dark Knight’s vehicle to be an invading alien spacecraft.
2. Although Christian Bale performed many of his own stunts, he wasn’t allowed anywhere near the Batmobile.
3. Bale was so uncomfortable in the bat suit throughout filming that he was usually in a foul mood. This bad mood helped him get into character as the angry Batman.
4. Contrary to the previous Batman films, in which the Batcave was realized as a combination of a live set and matte paintings, no visual effects were used in this film to show the Batcave. The entire Batcave is instead a massive full-scale set.
5. Christian Bale had read some of the graphic novels long before he played Batman. He said that in the year 2000 a friend lent him a copy of the graphic novel “Arkham Asylum,” which he thoroughly enjoyed and made him wonder why that version of Batman hadn’t been portrayed on screen. In preparing for the role, Bale said he made a conscious effort to avoid watching the performances of previous Batman actors so he could approach the character from a fresh perspective.
6. At the time of this film’s release, Forbes Magazine did a breakdown of how much it would actually cost to become Batman. The magazine estimated that total expenses in US dollars would be around $3.5 million.
7. The movie references the comic, Batman Year One by Frank Miller with Detective Flass, the corrupt cop, being partnered with James Gordon. It further follows the storyline by showing Gordon refusing to turn in the corrupt cops. The scene where Batman is lit on fire is also a reference to a scene in the book.
THE DARK KNIGHT
8. The late Heath Ledger designed the Joker make-up himself, using white clown makeup and cosmetics from a drugstore, reasoning that since the Joker himself would design and apply it, Ledger should do so as well. Once his design was approved, the makeup team was responsible for replicating the look each day for filming.
9. During the scene where the Joker crashes Bruce Wayne’s party for Harvey, when he first appears in the elevator Alfred was meant to have some lines, however this was the first time Michael Caine had seen Heath Ledger with the Joker makeup on, you can even see the shocked expression on his face as the Joker walks past him.
10. While filming the chase scene with the Joker and the SWAT vans, one of only four IMAX cameras in the world at that time was destroyed.
11. Trouble arose during a PR campaign before the movie’s release,when a website related to the film sent out several cakes purportedly from The Joker, containing a cell phone inside which made the cake vibrate, and had wires sticking out, making the cake look like a bomb. One such news station which received one of the cakes, believed it to be an actual terrorist act, and the entire building had to be evacuated.
12. Hearkening back to Bale’s discomfort in the suit, the redesign of the bat suit this time around was put into the screenplay on Bale’s behalf.
13. The timeline: approximately nine months have passed between Batman Begins and this film.
14. The Batman comic books The Long Halloween, The Killing Joke, The Man Who Laughs and the first two comics to feature the Joker character served as an influence on the film’s storyline.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
15. According to Nolan, all of the three films deal with a specific theme. The first film was fear, the second was chaos. This third film deals with pain.
16. Had Heath Ledger not died, the film would have involved the Joker going on trial while Two-Face (who survived the last film) went on a rampage across Gotham.
17. While doing promotional interviews for the film Tom Hardy stated that the most difficult parts of the movie to shoot were the fight scenes. Not because of the physicality of them, but because he was such a huge Batman fan growing up that he said “it felt like I was beating up my childhood hero.”
18. When Bane rips the photo of Harvey Dent in half he does so vertically through the middle of Harvey’s face, replicating his transition to Two-Face at the end of The Dark Knight.
19. Anne Hathaway has revealed that during her audition, she thought that she was auditioning for The Joker’s on again-off again girlfriend/partner-in-crime Harley Quinn. it was only after she had a discussion with Christopher Nolan that she found out that she was auditioning for Catwoman.
20. During Bane’s first encounter with Batman, Bane’s footsteps on the steel grating of the walkways produce loud, heavy thuds while Batman’s footsteps make little sound at all. This was done by the sound effects team to further contrast Bane’s “brute” style from Batman’s “stealth” method of combat.
21. The first draft of the screenplay went almost 400 pages. Considering that one page of screenplay averages a minute of film, this had to be edited considerably.