The moviemakers behind Batman’s ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’

McClatchy NewspapersJuly 25, 2012 


"The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy" (Abrams, $40) by Jody Duncan Jesser and Janine Pourroy is a history of the making of the Batman comic megaseries of films by director Christopher Nolan. (MCT)


It can take years to bring a single film to screen. It took over eight years to bring the massively popular Batman trilogy into theaters.

“The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy,” takes you through those eight – and more – years as you learn about the whole process, from concept to conclusion.

A beautifully artistic photo book, it’s a worthy addition to any film student or Batman reader’s collection of “making of” books.

Coming from a background in smaller films, director Christopher Nolan never took for granted that he’d make all three Batman films so he concentrated on making them as complete in themselves.

“People ask if we’d always planned a trilogy,” Nolan says. “When (screenwriter) David (Goyer) and I first started cracking open Bruce’s story, we flirted with what might come after, then backed away, not wanting to look deep into the future.”

To be able to create films took the faith of DC Comics, the backing of Warner Bros, lots of money, and inspired casting. Nolan cast the late Heath Ledger who won a posthumous Oscar for his performance as the insane Joker in “The Dark Knight,” and obviously still misses him from his comments.

He didn’t have to look far to find Batman fans among the actors. Morgan Freeman who plays tech genius Lucius Fox was a long standing comics fan. “I was one of those kids, like millions of other kids, who read all the comic books,” he said. “The Spirit and Batman and Captain Marvel. If there was a comic book, I read it.”

Unlike many blockbusters, Nolan in the “Dark Knight” films preferred to use actors rather than special effects to fill in crowd scenes. His team created the actual Bat-automobiles for his highly-trained stuntmen to drive.

He used special effects for the thousands of bats for “Batman Begins” as well as the destroyed half-face of Harvey Dent in “The Dark Knight.”

One chapter shows that creators moved with the times into social media. Noted musician Hans Zimmer needed a chant for “The Dark Knight Rising.” His group “set up a website people could go to, which talked them through how to do the chant, record it, and send it to us.” Using word-of-mouth and Twitter, he got “a response so overwhelming, it crashed the system…Thousands of people per second went to this site, and the whole thing melted down that first week.”

For anyone who ever wanted to make a movie, “The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy” is as good a blueprint, as well as being an engrossing tale, of the making of a mega-hit film series.

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