April 6-7, 2024
Written by Cristian Stanic
It’s been 10 years since The Dark Knight was released in cinemas, and if you’re reading this then we doubt you need another recap of its legacy… Plenty of articles have been written about the way the series changed superhero movies forever, from the realistic worlds to the stronger characterisation, and the modernisation of comic book characters, so we’re not going to do that today. Instead, here are some facts you might not know about The Dark Knight trilogy.
The Dark Knight was the first-ever major feature film to be partially shot in IMAX. We take the format for granted now, but back in 2008, IMAX was only really used in nature documentaries, mainly because it presented a heap of new challenges to be effectively used in other films.
For one thing, the cameras are obscenely massive, the film stock is way more expensive than typical film, and they make an awful lot of noise, which makes it harder to record dialogue. Despite all that, director Christopher Nolan had wanted to use them for 15 years, and in The Dark Knight, he finally got his chance.
So, when the studio you’re with gives you two $500,000 IMAX cameras to use, what’s the one thing you really don’t want to do? Yeah, break one. During the underground car chase scene, one of the IMAX cameras attached to a crane rig accidentally smashed into the back of a car in front of it, damaging the lens. The coolest part about all this, though, is that they used the take when it broke in the film! You can actually see the shot in the final film; they cut away right before the impact though…
Oh yeah, he broke another one in The Dark Knight Rises… Technically Anne Hathaway crashed into it while she was riding the Batpod, but yeah… It’s a wonder anyone still lets Nolan use any expensive cameras.
During the writing process for Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan and screenwriter David S. Goyer would go for walks on their breaks, and they would visit the set of the original Batcave from the 1960s! Kinda. They would visit the cave where the original Batmobile, with Adam West and Burt Ward, would rocket out of, as the caped crusaders sped off to another crime scene. It might just be a big empty cave now, but it’s still a piece of Batman history, and it’s cool that even with a new team writing a gritty modern update for the Bat, they never forgot where the character came from, with his iconic ‘60s roots.
Back in 2004, when Batman Begins was in pre-production, Christian Bale was being heavily considered for the role of Batman, however, he had just come off his latest role in a film called The Machinist, in which he had lost a ridiculous amount of weight in order to play a malnourished character. He weighed in around 55 kilograms, and you could see like, all of his bones in that film. So when Nolan asked him, ‘How can I realistically tell Warner Brothers that I’m thinking of you for Batman?’ he bulked up big time. In just a few short months, he put on 45 kilograms of muscle! The only problem was; he actually became too muscly to fit in the Batsuit!
Much of Batman Begins takes place in an area of Gotham called The Narrows, which is pretty much the slums of the city. Now a lot of Gotham proper was shot in New York and Chicago, but there’s nowhere in real life that’s really like the Narrows. Warner Brother’s solution to this was to build a life-size set for The Narrows, as in, an entire area of a city, to scale. Over 100 days, the crew built the set inside an aircraft hangar.
The lengths the production team went to to bring Batman to life is truly staggering, and the effort clearly paid off in the final product. We’d wager a good portion of comic book fans have wished they could walk around their favourite fictional cities, and the cast and crew of Batman got to! Now try not to be too sad that you’ll never get to experience such joy… You can relive all the action by binging the trilogy, though.