Christopher Nolan landed at the 80th birthday celebration of Batman in true form. Besides a back-to-back IMAX 70mm screenings of Dark Knight trilogy marathon, he found time to spend with fans at the Universal Cinema AMC at CityWalk in Hollywood on Saturday.
‘The Dark Knight‘ director also sat for a face-to-face session with the fans. Nolan seemed relaxed and content in his blazer and with eternal companion, the thermos. Nolan opened up about the casting decision of Christian Bale as Batman and revealed the secret trivia of his frequent collaborator Cillian Murphy’s auditioning for the role of Batman earlier.
According to a THR report, Nolan said, ”Christian was actually the first actor I met for the role. And so I think I had a pretty strong sense from there.” ‘Cillian Murphy was somebody who I had seen in Danny Boyle’s film, ’28 Days Later’, and he screen tested for Batman, actually, and gave an extraordinary test. And so we wound up casting him as Scarecrow based on that,” he added.
Nolan’s iconic ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy runs for over seven-and-a-half hours at length in the back-to-back screening marathon. When asked about watching the movies in a row, Nolan said, ‘Christ, no!’ He remembered one rare occasion when he had seen most of the trilogy in a row when he watched ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’ with his production designer Nathan Crowley.
Nolan said Michael Mann’s body of work has a great influence on the making of ‘The Dark Knight.’ He also remembered how they struggled to put together a sprawling cast like Richard Donner’s Superman. at the time of ‘Batman Begins.’ They wanted to differentiate ‘Batman Begins’ as a heavyweight movie with the help of an ensemble cast from a comic book movie.
Nolan did thorough research for ‘Batman Begins, that covered minute statistical information of action films, like the duration of car chases and when heroes put on their capes. He said Richard Donner’s ‘Superman’ gave him the confidence to set aside to spend the first hour of ‘Batman Begins’ with a Bruce Wayne without cape and cowl.
He also mentioned one of the most controversial snubs in the history of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. When The Academy struck out Christopher Nolan’s second installment in the trilogy off the nominee list for Best Picture in 2009, the omission sparked a noisy wrangle. The list included ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ ‘Frost/Nixon,’ ‘Milk,’ ‘The Reader,’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’
Eyebrows raised when ‘The Dark Knight’ was conspicuously absent in the Best Picture and Best Director nominee list, while it was nominated for a historic number of eight Academy Awards. Nolan bounced back to the race with his World War II movie, ‘Dunkirk’ in 2017 and received his first nomination for Best Director. Only to remind his fans and critics of the three misses, ‘Memento,’ ‘The Dark Knight’ and Inception.
But ‘The Dark Knight’ took home two Oscars when Heath Ledger won a posthumous Best Supporting Actor award for his stunning portrayal of the Joker, and Richard King won the Oscar for Best Sound Editing. While Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ won the Best Picture title, ‘The Dark Knight’ snub prompted the Academy to extend the number Best Picture nominees. The category listed 10 nominees the next year. ‘The Dark Knight’ and Joker acted together as ‘the agents of chaos’ to change the Academy’s mind.
The mind-blowing action sequences of ‘The Dark Night’ were shot in IMAX, making Nolan the first filmmaker to shoot the action sequences of a major feature film with IMAX cameras. Later, he widened his IMAX world with ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ which features some of the most elaborated IMAX sequences.