Jonathan Nolan (screenplay)
Christopher Nolan (screenplay)
Christopher Nolan (story)
David S. Goyer (story)
Bob Kane (characters) Starring:
Christian Bale - Bruce
Wayne / Batman
Heath Ledger - The Joker
Aaron Eckhart - Harvey Dent / Two-Face
Michael Caine - Alfred Pennyworth
Maggie Gyllenhaal - Rachel Dawes
Gary Oldman - James Gordon
Morgan Freeman - Lucius Fox
Eric Roberts - Salvatore Maroni
Chin Han - Lau
Ritchie Coster - The Chechen
'Introduce a little anarchy.'
Want to know which actors expressed an interested to play the role of
The Joker? Take a look
at the chaotic world of The
trivia to find out.
Ledger was confirmed to play the Joker in July 2006,
Bettany, Lachy Hulme, Adrien Brody, Steve Carell and Robin
Williams publicly expressed interest in the role.
While other actors were
have been considered for the part of The Joker, director Chris Nolan
claims that Heath Ledger entered his mind as a candidate for the role
very early on during production, citing that the two had met up to
discuss it before there was even a script for the film.
When asked why
he cast Heath Ledger as The Joker, Christopher Nolan simply
replied, "Because he's fearless".
The writers, Christopher
Nolan, Jonathan Nolan and David S.
Goyer, made the decision very early on not to explore The Joker's
origins. This was so the character could be presented as an 'absolute'.
In preparation for
his role as The Joker, Heath Ledger hid away in a motel room for about
6 weeks formulating
the character's posture, voice, and personality, and kept a diary, in
which he recorded the Joker's thoughts and feelings. During
this stay of seclusion, Ledger delved deep
into the psychology of the character. He devoted himself to developing
The Joker's every tic, namely the voice and that sadistic-sounding
laugh. Ledger's interpretation of The Joker's appearance was primarily
based off of the chaotic, disheveled look of punk rocker Sid
Vicious combined with the psychotic mannerisms of Malcolm
McDowell's character, Alex De Large, from A Clockwork Orange (1971).
Apparently The Joker's
distinctive tongue flip grew out of Heath Ledger's own habit of doing
Heath Ledger's sudden death on
January 22, 2008 prompted immediate
speculation over the film's state. Soon after Ledger's tragic passing
was announced, Warner Bros. Pictures issued a statement that verified
that Ledger had finished all of his scenes in principal photography, as
well as post-production fulfillments, thus making The
Joker his final, completed film role.
Sir Michael Caine's
has cited that Heath Ledger beat the odds and topped Jack
Joker from Batman
"Jack was like a clown figure, benign but
wicked, maybe a killer old uncle. He could be funny and make you laugh.
Heath's gone in a completely different direction to Jack, he's like a
really scary psychopath. He's a lovely guy and his Joker is going to be
a hell of a revelation in this picture." Caine bases this belief on a
scene where the Joker pays a visit to Bruce Wayne's penthouse. He'd
never met Ledger before, so when Ledger arrived and performed he gave
Caine such a fright he forgot his lines.
Joker make-up was composed of three pieces of stamped silicone, which
took less than an hour to apply to Heath Ledger on each day of
shooting. Ledger described it as "new technology which is much quicker
to apply than regular prosthetics"; apparently he felt as though he
was not wearing any
make-up at all.
The Joker's face paint was
designed by Heath Ledger himself, who used white clown makeup and
cosmetics from a drugstore. Once his design was approved, the makeup
team was responsible for replicating the look each day for filming.
Once she knew Heath Ledger had
been cast as
The Joker, costume designer Lindy Hemming based the character's attire
off of an eclectic line-up of clothing styles, ranging from Vivienne
Westwood to John Lydon to Iggy Pop to Pete Doherty to
McQueen. Hemming's aim was to modify The Joker's familiar appearance
with "a younger, trendier look", in order to represent Ledger's
performance in Thank
You for Smoking
(2005), Christopher Nolan believed
that Aaron Eckhart would be perfect for the role of District
Attorney Harvey Dent in The
Before Eckhart was cast in February 2007, Liev Schreiber,
Lucas and Ryan Phillippe had expressed interest in the role. Mark
Ruffalo actually auditioned for the role and Hugh Jackman was also
considered for the part of Dent. Nolan chose Eckhart, whom he had
considered for the lead role in Memento
citing his "extraordinary" ability as an actor, his embodiment of "that
kind of chiselled, American hero quality" projected by Robert Redford,
and his subtextual "edge".
described his portrayal of Harvey Dent as simultaneously coming from
and being apart from the same world as Batman (Dent is the white knight
of Gotham, as opposed to the Dark Knight). His challenge was "looking
for the similarities and the tension between the two; to find what's
similar to Batman and then what's opposite to him."
for his role by studying split personalities.
For preperation for the role of Dent, Eckhart "kept on
about the Kennedys", particularly Robert F. Kennedy, who was
"idealistic, held a grudge and took on the Mob". He had his hair
lightened and styled to make him appear more dashing. Nolan told
Eckhart to not make Two-Face "jokey with slurping sounds or ticks".
Aaron Eckhart enjoyed wearing
the Two-Face makeup and warned: "When you
look at him, you should get sick to your stomach. It's like you would
feel if you met someone whose face had pretty much been ripped off or
burned off with acid. There are fans on the Internet who have drawn
versions of what they think it looks like, and I can tell you this:
They're thinking small. Chris has gone way farther than people think."
Two-Face's disfigurement was
created through computer graphics rather
than prosthetic make-up, as director Christopher Nolan felt that, no
matter how good the make-up was, it is still inherently adding
something onto an actor's face, when Two-Face's appearance requires
part of his face to be burned away.
Nolan had decided to offer Katie Holmes her role as Rachel
Dawes in The
she decided not to reprise her role as Rachel Dawes. Instead, she opted
co-star with Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah in Mad Money (2008).
Before Maggie Gyllenhaal
stepped in to replace
Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, apparently Isla Fisher, Emily Blunt and
McAdams were all considered for the role.
Bob Hoskins and James Gandolfini auditioned for the role of
Maroni, which eventually went to Eric Roberts.
Murphy reprises his role as Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow from Batman
Begins (2005). This makes him the first actor to reprise
of a Batman villain in the whole movie series.
who plays the older gentleman that confronts the Joker at the party
thrown by Bruce Wayne for Harvey Dent is Vermont senior senator Patrick
Leahy. Mr. Leahy is a huge Batman fan and arranged an early showing of
the movie on July 12th as a fund-raiser for the children's section of
the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont, the state's
capital. He has also appeared in
Batman & Robin (1997) and on
episode of "Batman" (1992).
Cameo appearance is made
by Christian Bale's main stunt double, Stuntman
Buster Reeves. He
plays one of The Joker's thugs. He appears in the trailer of the
Joker's semi-truck, as he hands The Joker his weapons as he fires them
at the police transport. He then rides in the passenger seat
of the cab
of the truck as The Joker drives.
Knight is the first Batman
feature film that doesn't incorporate the word "Batman" in its title.
Like its predecessor, Batman
Begins (2005), The
Knight has no opening credits or
The longest film Christopher
Nolan has directed so far.
The story of The
Knight takes place six months after Batman Begins
David S. Goyer and Christopher
collaborated on the story of The Dark night. The script itself was
Nolan and his brother Jonathan. After watching The
Dark Knight, Goyer
stated "I can't believe my name is on a movie this good".
According to Nolan, an important theme of The
"escalation", extending the ending of Batman
Begins (2005), noting "things having to get worse before
Dark Knightand its
predecessor have one-word themes which are driving forces in the
stories: Batman Begins
centers around Fear, while the focus of The Dark Knight
(2008) is Chaos.
Nolan oversaw every shot
himself as there was no second unit, which was the same when
The first four days of
scheduled shooting resulted in no film being rolled. Instead,
Christopher Nolan screened two films for the cast and crew with a break
in between. The eight films were (in order): Heat (1995), Cat People
(1942), Citizen Kane
(1941), King Kong
(1933), Batman Begins
(2005), Black Sunday
(1977), A Clockwork
Orange (1971), and Stalag
Apparently in one draft of the
script, a reference to Robin being
related to Rachel Dawes was considered. The character of Dick Grayson
was not explicitly mentioned, however Rachel Dawes is revealed as being
a relative of the Grayson family. Christopher Nolan had it removed
because he didn't want to build hopes up about the Robin character
appearing in a future film.
Nolan has cited Michael Mann's crime saga, Heat (1995) as an
The films opening bank scene and the shot of Batman standing against a
blue dusk sky are similar in style to Heat. As a matter of fact,
William Fichtner, who had a notable appearance in this scene, was also
in Heat (1995).
The Joker's mask during the
initial bank robbery is almost exactly the
same as the mask worn by Cesar Romero when hijacking a performance of
Pagliacci in the TV series episode "Batman: The Joker Is Wild (#1.5)"
The bus crashing backwards
into the bank in the opening sequence was much harder to pull off than
was anticipated. The bus had to be taken apart and reassembled inside
the building (a disused post office), concealed behind a large false
wall, and then propelled backwards with an air cannon.
Early in the film, a witness
on stand pulls a gun out on
Harvey Dent (Two-Face) during the trial and tries to shoot him. This is
a nod towards Two-Face's original origin story in the comics where in a
similar trial scenario, crime boss Sal Maroni is on stand and throws
sulfuric acid in Dent's face resulting in his scarring.
The date seen on Gordon's
security camera photo of The Joker taken
during the bank heist reads "2008/07/18", which was the U.S. theatrical
release date of the film.
During Jim Gordon's meeting
with Harvey Dent, a box is visibly labeled
with the name Keyser Söze. This is a reference to a character in The
Usual Suspects (1995), another villain defined by multiple
Heath Ledger directed both
homemade videos that the Joker sends to GCN
himself. The first video involving the fake Batman was done under
Nolan's supervision. Nolan thought Ledger had done so well with that
sequence, he felt there was no need for him to be there when it came
time to film the scene where reporter Mike Engel reads the Joker's
statement. He put his trust in Ledger and let him do whatever he
wanted, ultimately pleased with the result after he'd seen the outcome.
is first movie in both Batman
movie series where Bruce Wayne operates outside of Gotham as Batman.
In the scene where the older
gentleman (Sen. Patrick Leahy) confronts
the Joker at the party thrown by Bruce Wayne for Harvey Dent, the Joker
tells the gentleman, "You know, you remind of me of my father. I HATED
This same line was was used in the movie Ruthless People
Bedroom Killer says this to Ken Kessler (Judge Reinhold) after breaking
into his house.
numerous elements of the Joker's first appearance in Batman #1,
published in 1940. In both The Dark Knight and Batman #1, the Joker
publicly announces his crimes before committing them, removes his
make-up and disguises himself as a police officer to gain access to a
person he threatened to kill, uses a powerful bomb smuggled into jail
to escape, steals and kills not for personal gain but simply to create
chaos and disorder, and infringes upon the city's old-fashioned
During the truck chase scene,
The Joker takes over driving the semi-truck after his driver is killed,
clearly see the bullet holes on the windshield form a smiley face.
Heath Ledger improvised when
he started clapping inside his
jail cell in a mocking and sardonic capacity as Gordon is promoted. The
clapping was not scripted but Christopher Nolan immediately encouraged
the crew to continue filming and the sequence was included in the film.
Reportedly Christian Bale
stated in an interview that during the
interrogation scene, Heath Ledger wanted him to beat him as hard as he
could to get the real feeling of what was required from the scene.
During their face to face
confrontations, neither Batman nor Joker refer to one another by name.
scarring in this film due to an explosion is not what happens in the
comics but rather is closer to the "Batman" (1992) episodes Two-Face
Part I and II.
When The Joker is dressed as a
nurse during the hospital
scene, his name tag on his
reads Matilda. This is after Heath Ledger's daughter by the same name.
The address 250 52nd
Street where Rachel Dawes is killed, and where Harvey Dent brings
Gordon's family is a palindrome: it's the same forwards as it is
backwards. The way it's framed with a zero in the middle and the same
numbers in opposite directions on either side suggests the opposite
sides of Dent's favorite coin, the two sides of his face, and by
extension the duality of his nature.
For the first time in feature
film making, IMAX
cameras were utilized. Christopher Nolan had wanted to shoot in the
IMAX format for years and used this film as his opportunity to do
so. Six major action-heavy sequences, along with various high-altitude
shots, were filmed on the IMAX ratio. (These sequences are available on
the Bonus Disc of the 2-Disc DVD Edition.)
The Gotham City license plates
were directly modeled off of Illinois license plates.
Christian Bale trained in the Keysi Fighting Method and
many of his own stunts, but did not gain as much muscle as in Batman Begins
(2005) because the
new Batsuit allowed him to move with greater agility.
The Batsuit was an
improvement on the outfit from Batman
Begins (2005), and made Christian
Bale more comfortable and agile in his performance. It was constructed
from 200 unique pieces of rubber, fiberglass, metallic mesh, and nylon
(producing an impression of sophisticated technology), with elastic
banding added for tightening the costume to fit Bale. The gauntlets had
their razors made retractable and able to be fired. The suit's cowl was
based on a motorcycle helmet and separated from the neck piece,
allowing Bale to move his head around, and comes equipped
with white eye lenses for when Batman turns on Bat-sonar.
Christian Bale got to keep the
Batman mask from the movie, after
filming. He wanted to keep the entire uniform but apparently he did not
enough room for it.
The Dark Knight
is first Batman movie (both
live action and animated) not to feature Bruce Wayne in a tuxedo.
Also the first Batman movie
that does not feature Bruce Wayne's mansion.
The Batman theme is heard only
twice in The
Zimmer and James Newton Howard decided that a heroic theme that a
viewer could hum would ignore the complexity and darkness of the
character. Hearing the tune only twice would create what Zimmer calls
"a musical foreshadowing."
Composer James Newton Howard
composed an elegant and beautiful score for Harvey Dent, which would
serve as a jarring contrast to Two-Face's persona.
though the movie has a PG-13 rating, blood is only ever seen three
times on-screen; on the face of the look-alike civilian Batman
that the Joker hangs, Harvey's
pillow in the hospital and on Batman's arm due to the dog attacking
him. Most of the violence either occurs off-screen or is obscured by
The console for the Bat Sonar
resembles "The Listening Post", Mark
Hasen and Ben Rubin's dynamic portrait of online communication,
especially when Lucius Fox and Batman switch it off. The installation
is currently on display at the Science Museum in London.
Wacker Drive in Chicago was closed every night starting at 7 PM during
the summer of 2007 to accommodate filming. The street was open during
the day, however, and the several Batmobiles and tumblers were visible
just on the other side of the barricades covered only with sheets.
Whilst filming in Chicago, Wanted
production, and Morgan Freeman worked concurrently on both films.
one point, Wanted comic book writer Mark Millar visited the set but
without permission. The security and Lauren Shuler Donner (who also
visited the set at that time) caught Millar sitting on the Batpod.
Millar was escorted away from the set.
While the movie was filming a
chase scene on Lake Street, the Chicago
Police Department received several calls from concerned citizens
stating that the police were involved in a vehicle pursuit with a dark
vehicle of unknown make or model.
One of the
films explosions was filmed at the Battersea Power
Station in London. Apparently the fireball created calls from
residents, who assumed a terrorist attack had occurred at the
There are many elements from
graphic novels, either verbatim or slightly recast. In The Long
Halloween, Batman, Gordon, and Dent fake Dent's death. In The Dark
Knight, Gordon's death is faked. Also in The Long Halloween, Batman
poses as a SWAT officer. In the movie, Gordon does. The Joker's
reference at the end of the film to "pushing Dent over the edge"
mirrors his social experiment with Gordon in The Killing Joke, in which
The Joker attempts to drive Gordon insane by making him have a really
bad day. A lot of the interaction between Batman and The Joker is taken
from The Long Halloween, specifically the interrogation scene in the
film. It's reminiscent of the end of The Long Halloween and also is
similar to elements of The Dark Knight Returns. Finally, the copycat
Batmen are clearly inspired by The Sons of The Batman from The Dark
Knight Returns. In addition, in The Killing Joke the Joker explains if
he "had a past, it would be multiple choice." This is referenced when
the Joker tells two different stories about the origin of his scars.
Dark Knight was
voted no. 15 on Empire
magazine's 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time (September 2008).
Dark Knight made more
money than Batman Begins
(2005) entire domestic run in only 6 days of
So far it's the comic book
film with the most Academy Award nominations (with 8 nominations).
posthumous Oscar nomination for best supporting actor as The Joker was
coincidentally announced on the first anniversary of his death.
first comic book movie to ever win an Oscar for achievement in acting,
specifically to Heath Ledger for his supporting role as
Take a look at some of behind the scenes featurette here: