The question many of us were hoping to hear was next – What is Nolan’s involvement with the Superman project? However, the tight-lipped director again repeated a statement from months ago: He simply explained his role as the film’s producer and how impressed he was by David Goyer’s original pitch.
Connecting Superman and Batman was actually less of a stretch than one would imagine. Nolan’s Batman franchise is directly influenced by the Superman of old. And if you ever wanted to know Nolan’s opinion of the Tim Burton version of Batman, here is your chance.
“I drew a line straight from it. I literally pitched to the studio my take on Batman by saying I wanted to make the Batman film that had never been made in 1978 or ’79, because I think what Tim Burton did with Batman was extraordinary, but it is very idiosyncratic. It is a very mad studio film when you really look at it. As much as I enjoyed that, I felt like there was a gap there. That is to say we’ve never done a kind of Dick Donner version of Batman, where it’s a kind of ordinary world with an extraordinary hero at the center of it. There are the textures of the real world with this very surprising figure in the middle of it – then this origin story, which hadn’t been touched.
I very specifically said that is what I had in mind and I want to do some location shooting in an American city and then move to the English studios, literally the way they did. I said I wanted to cast it the way they did, because if you look at that ensemble – now with all these superhero films coming out you see these great casts – but when we did Batman Begins, I was looking back to that movie that had Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman and Glenn Ford – just an incredible cast around the principals. That’s how we sort of got permission, if you like, from the studio to sort of cast up. Now you see it all the time in superhero films, which is fun. It is great to see talented people apply themselves to different sorts of characters.”
Nolan is a massive fan of Blade Runner, constantly referring to it in interviews and directly influenced by it in his work. It would seem he is quite the fan of Ridley Scott, as he also mentions the perfection of Alien.
“I’ve seen [Blade Runner] hundreds of times. I’m one of those people, and I’m sure there are some in the audience, who knows every single detail of that film. But I saw it at a particular age, I was probably 13, where it really spoke to me in terms of what I wanted to do as a filmmaker, which is to sometimes imagine a world. It is a film I’ve sort of carried with me ever since, really. Purely, that is, in a sensory way, that is to say, it has this sort of density to it visually. That isn’t really something I’ve tried to pack into my own films, but I’ve always really enjoyed watching that film and the notion of it being filmed rewards multiple viewings. You come back to it and see something else in it every time. I think I try to do that in a different way, sort of more narratively than visually in a sense. But I’ve always loved Ridley Scott’s work. You are showing Alien as well, that is a very, very perfect movie.”
Of course, we have gotten used to seeing Chris Nolan work with actors on multiple films. One in particular is Michael Caine. The working relationship between the two definitely surpasses the professional quality of the product.
“He claims to be my lucky charm. The problem I faced, and the reason he is in Inception, is that once somebody has said that to you, what are you gonna do? So, he’ll always have a part from now on. He is actually just a terrific person to work with. His movie star charisma is extraordinary. But he is just a lovely, professional guy to work with. He makes everybody on the set behave much better when he is around.”
Caine’s role as Alfred in Nolan’s Batman franchise still wins the hearts of viewers. But the director has always been impressed by his leading man, Christian Bale. He was asked why he picked the actor and how his performance stands up to the other Batmen.
The details are quite in-depth, but if you watch the special features of both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, you’ll get the same insight on the casting process that led to Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow as well.
Boucher then asked Nolan about his opinion on the endless Internet ramblings of casting rumors. He even went on to poke fun at a few, including one involving Cher. Nolan’s response earns the respect he has accrued over his career.
“Honestly, I don’t really look at the Internet. I think at a very early stage in taking on Batman I realized that it wasn’t going to be helpful. I’ve always taken the view that everybody feels very passionate about these characters and have a lot of ideas and thoughts on what should you have done. But I think underlying all you can do as a filmmaker is try to do what you feel is going to be the best film to make. Beyond that, you are never going to be able to make everyone happy. No, actually I don’t have e-mail or a cell phone. It gives me a little more time to think.”