The Dark Knight Trivia(Total Trivia Entries: 72)
“Introduce a little anarchy.”
The Joker’s face paint was designed by Heath Ledger himself. To find out more trivia keep on reading.
Casting Screenplay & Production
Before Ledger was confirmed to play the Joker in July 2006, Paul Bettany, Lachy Hulme, Adrien Brody, Steve Carell and Robin Williams publicly expressed interest in the role.
While other actors were rumored to 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 that.
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 Nicholson’s Joker from Batman (1989): “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.
The 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 reportedly 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 Alexander McQueen. Hemming’s aim was to modify The Joker’s familiar appearance with “a younger, trendier look”, in order to represent Ledger’s generation.
After seeing his 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 Dark Knight.
Before Eckhart was cast in February 2007, Liev Schreiber, Josh 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 (2000), 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”.
Aaron Eckhart 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.” Apparently Eckhart prepared for his role by studying split personalities.
For preparation for the role of Dent, Eckhart “kept on thinking 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.
Christopher Nolan had decided to offer Katie Holmes her role as Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight, she decided not to reprise her role as Rachel Dawes. Instead, she opted to 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 Rachel McAdams were all considered for the role.
Bob Hoskins and James Gandolfini auditioned for the role of Sal Maroni, which eventually went to Eric Roberts.
Cillian Murphy reprises his role as Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow from Batman Begins (2005). This makes him the first actor to reprise the role of a Batman villain in the whole movie series.
The actor 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 an 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.
Screenplay & Production Casting
The Dark Knight is the first Batman feature film that doesn’t incorporate the word “Batman” in its title.
Like its predecessor, Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight has no opening credits or titles.
The longest film Christopher Nolan has directed so far.
The story of The Dark Knight takes place six months after Batman Begins (2005) ended.
David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan collaborated on the story of The Dark night. The script itself was written by 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 Dark Knight is “escalation”, extending the ending of Batman Begins (2005), noting “things having to get worse before they get better”.
Both The Dark Knight and its predecessor have one-word themes which are driving forces in the stories: Batman Begins (2005) centers around Fear, while the focus of The Dark Knight (2008) is Chaos.
Director Christopher Nolan oversaw every shot himself as there was no second unit, which was the same when filming Batman Begins (2005).
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 17 (1953).
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.
Christopher Nolan has cited Michael Mann’s crime saga, Heat (1995) as an influence. The film’s 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)” (1966).
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 identities.
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.
The Dark Knight 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 my father”. This same line was used in the movie Ruthless People (1986). The Bedroom Killer says this to Ken Kessler (Judge Reinhold) after breaking into his house.
The Dark Knight uses 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 mobsters.
During the truck chase scene, when the The Joker takes over driving the semi-truck after his driver is killed, you can 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.
Harvey Dent’s 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 outfit 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 performed 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 have 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 Dark Knight, as Composers Hans 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.
Even 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 camera angles.
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.
Lower 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 (2008) was the neighboring production, and Morgan Freeman worked concurrently on both films. Apparently at 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 panic-stricken local residents, who assumed a terrorist attack had occurred at the out-of-use station.
There are many elements from various Batman 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.
The Dark Knight was voted no. 15 on Empire magazine’s 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time (September 2008).
The Dark Knight made more money than Batman Begins (2005) entire domestic run in only 6 days of release.
So far it’s the comic book film with the most Academy Award nominations (with 8 nominations).
Heath Ledger’s posthumous Oscar nomination for best supporting actor as The Joker was coincidentally announced on the first anniversary of his death.
The first comic book movie to ever win an Oscar for achievement in acting, specifically to Heath Ledger for his supporting role as The Joker.
Take a look at some of behind the scenes footage here:
Interview with director Christopher Nolan:
Interview with Heath Ledger:
Interview with Christian Bale:
Still want more trivia? Then visit the official movie website.
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