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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Christopher Nolan Explains The Dark Knight

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I had an idea of what the Joker would be in the world we created of Batman

Begins and to me it was creating a sort of psychologically credible anarchist,

a force of anarchy, a force of chaos, a purposeless criminal, a psychopath.

To me, that is the most frightening form of evil: the enemy who

has no rules, the enemy who's not out for anything, who can't be understood

can only be fought.

With all of the major story movements of The

Dark Knight we've tried to imbue them with a sense of inevitability you really

want kind of in the first reel to set up a set of expectations and feelings about

the type of story that you're gonna see in the way in which these things are

gonna play out for these characters but hopefully we're trying you know surprise

people in terms of how those things come to pass okay fine you either die a hero

or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain Batman is not a

simple heroic figure and that's the reason I was interested in him of all

superheroes because he has no superpowers he is the most human of

superheroes therefore and I think he's very very flawed and I think that the

more that those flaws are allowed to just bubble under the surface you know

underneath this sort of triumphalism I think that makes things I

think it makes it more like real-life Franklin one of the story elements I'm

continually drawn to is that the protagonist who who suffers I think if

that comes from inside themselves somehow if they are somehow responsible

for their own predicament I find that very evocative a fund that very very

much more moving than if it's as simple as well here's a bad guy and he's doing

bad things not to get too pretentious but from

Shakespeare and all the rest do that's something that has struck a chord in me

it's this idea that if the seeds of your own destruction really are internal they

really are coming from inside yourself it heightens everything and heightens

the the sense of tragedy to do with everything in the case of Batman and

this story it's a question of finding them the positivity and it's question of

saying here is a character like the protagonists of my other films I think

who is driven by extraordinarily negative things but what makes him a

heroic figure and it's something we had to constantly bear in mind is the fact

that he's able to channel these negative impulses into something positive into

something altruistic something relating to helping other people rather than just

the notion of personal vengeance the interesting thing about Batman as a as a

figure is that he's driven by very very dark things there's a lot of rage a lot

of anger that really really motivates him but he's trying to channel it into

something good but he's really playing with fire you know he's working outside

the law he's doing all kinds of very questionable things but in the service

of good that really is playing with fire that really is riding this this knife

edge so what what we do in the Dark Knight is we just sort of test that

using the character of the Joker who's this extraordinary force of of anarchy

somebody who just lives and delights in taking people's rulesets and and turning

them you know against themselves in sort of the ideal way to get to the core of

Batman and the paradox of Batman because he's somebody who's essentially doing

bad things for for good reason he's using you know force and vigilantism and

intimidation but he's trying to do it the service of good and I think it's a

it's an interesting place to have you you

you know I think the Joker understands Batman or feels he understands Batman

possibly in a way that Bruce Wayne doesn't entirely understand himself and

I think in them the interrogation scene it's interesting to see how the Joker is

able to get under his skin we like to think of them are our heroes or heroic

figures as being immune to those kind of mind games but of course we all know

that Batman is the most tortured psychologically unbalanced and in a way

of of these heroes and so he's very vulnerable to the threat that the Joker

poses and we try and continually remind the audience of that during the course

of the film some men just want to watch the world


You reach a point where you really don't know what's possible what's not possible

what allowed in this story what's not allowed in this story and I think that

makes the Joker become a very very unpredictable character I think at times

you really do feel he's prepared to do absolutely anything and so that the

physicality of the story is all geared towards getting to a point near the end

of the movie where you're actually concerned the whole city will go down

you're actually concerned that this guy is going to completely destabilize that

society I think you feel that the Joker has a drive to tear the world down the

line we gave Alfred to sort of summon up really is you know this idea that some

men just want to watch the world burn that to us

was the most frightening way of approaching the character that he isn't

someone who can be in any way negotiated within him in a material sense or a

legal sense or a political sense he is just somebody who wants to tear

everything down around him and really it's it's sort of you know comes back to

very elemental things like societies sort of fear of of youth and teenagers

and rebellion and punk and all of these things and these are all things we

talked about a lot in putting the character together at the very beginning

my brother Jonah who co-wrote the screenplay with me and David Gore and

myself come up with a story but for us you know one of I think society's most

palpable fears is the fear of the collapse to anarchy the the idea of

people in society who will not in any way be bound by any kind of convention

whether that of society or even the convention of criminal society within

within the larger society very much what drives

both the filament and the novel is this the terrifying idea of the the

absolutely lawless and yet somehow attractive Anarchy that teenage

rebellion can could present taken to its absolutely most appalling extreme we

really wanted to get a little bit of that into this this idea of who the

Joker is we wanted a very youthful sense to the Joker very as I say punk

sensibility to the Joker the force of the Joker the character I like to say

sort of cuts through the story like the shark in Jaws he's a force to be reacted

to well because he's not acting from a sense of logic he's effectively a

monster and the film is very human monster as the Joker does things in the

story it tests the characters it forces them to confront things about themselves

I very much like that in terms of its approach to villainy because I think

that it puts it on to the characters that we already know particularly the

characters you know from the first film and from from the comics and everything

so you're seeing characters that you've come to know forced into very

uncomfortable decisions and very paradoxical situations and it tells you

something about those characters it reveals them and instead of new and

interesting ways

Well I think for me it comes from

my interest in in film noir and what what it defines that not for me being so

much the visual style but the form of characterization that you get in those

great stories the idea that characters define through

action very often these films are centered around a protagonist who's

either an unreliable narrator which is what we played with very much in in

memento or simply someone who has some flaw in them some tragic flaw that you

know early on there's an indicator in the story that this is going to snowball

into something catastrophic and in the Dark Knight I found a lot of interest in

the character of Harvey Dent for myself he's a very heroic figure at the

beginning he's the guy that Bruce Wayne sees as being able to take over for him

he's a hero without a mask he's a positive a figure for Gotham to rally

behind who can take over for Batman but in the way that aaron eckhart plays him

there's something right from the beginning you see in him

that's questionable you see a sort of a vaulting ambition you see a germ of

darkness there that can and of course therefore will in this kind of story

rise up and turn into something ugly

particularly in in the Dark knight which we felt that you know if Batman now you

know rules the night in in Gotham daytime is going to be the more

threatening aspect because the Joker rules the day essentially you know we in

in our telling of this story we we've never felt that Bruce Wayne could ever

go out as Batman in daylight that we know the costume would appear ridiculous

to the other characters it wouldn't be threatening without the cover of

darkness so we've always treated him a bit like Dracula or something you know

that the actual Batman himself could only come out after dark for that reason

a lot of our most threatening scenes in the Dark Knight we chose to have in

broad daylight and so when you turn the lights on and in the interrogation scene

for example we tried to really invert expectations and begin very very dark

and have people think that's how the scene will play out but then we actually

went incredibly bright with the whole scene because when you're in broad

daylight when the Sun is out when the lights are on

I think it's cinematic terms you're not pushing the audience one way or the

other you're not cluing them into where the scene is going to go and there's an

interestingly unpredictable sense that that helps and there's also at times a

certain bleakness that that evokes that I think can get under the skin a little

more effectively if you're good at something never do it for free I think

really the only useful advice I ever got in terms of you know trying to figure

out your way in to the film business of film industry is to a gaze of a script

and hang on to it it's that idea of that screenplay that

that concept you know whatever that's going to be that's so important and you

have to stick to your guns you have to find something that you can do that

maybe other people couldn't do and even if that seems different or doesn't fit

into people's expectations that's what's going to distinguish it if you can do it


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