Cinematographer Wally Pfister Talks ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:29 pm,

the dark knight rises script Cinematographer Wally Pfister Talks The Dark Knight Rises

It’s certainly been an exciting couple of weeks to be a Batman fan. After years of rumors and speculation surrounding The Dark Knight Rises, we’ve finally been receiving some concrete information regarding Christopher Nolan’s third (and final) trip into Gotham City.

Fans have been locked in an alarmingly ardent debate about the recent casting of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle and the news that Tom Hardy will be portraying Bane in the film. In addition to creating passionate and divisive opinions, these announcements have also nullified most of what we thought we knew about the film.

The consensus seemed to be that Hardy was likely going to play Hugo Strange and that the characters of Talia al Ghul & Vicki Vale would somehow factor into the story. While a Bane/Hugo Strange hybrid is certainly a possibility, it seems we can finally put the Talia rumors to rest – and if those weren’t true, Vicki Vale’s inclusion seems somewhat unlikely as well.

Another popular rumor claimed that Batman 3 would borrow certain elements from the graphic novel Batman: Prey and while there might still be some truth to that (there was certainly quite a bit taken from Year One in Batman Begins and hints of The Long Halloween in The Dark Knight), the abundance of misinformation that’s been floating around out there makes it a little difficult to put much stock in anything unless it comes directly from Nolan himself.

The fact is, no one knows what The Dark Knight Rises is actually about except those who’ve read the script. One of those lucky individuals is Nolan’s longtime cinematographer – Wally Pfister.

Pfister recently chatted with the Kevin & Josh Movie Show where he was confronted with the same question we’ve all been asking ourselves: how do you top The Dark Knight – one of the most successful and acclaimed comic book films of all time? Check out his suitably tantalizing response:

“I asked the same question. I read the script two weeks ago, and he’s done it. Plain and simple — he’s done it. It’s a phenomenal script. He’s still in the process of cutting it back because it’s a very long script right now, but it’s really phenomenal. And he actually had me go back and wanted me to watch, in IMAX, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight again. When I watched those I had read the script for The Dark Knight Rises and was like, ‘dude, it is a perfect trilogy.’ I think that was his intent, to work off those two pictures — and they are very different pictures. And it’s funny, we all had different opinions about which picture we like better.”

Wally Pfister and Christopher Nolan

Despite the fact that Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises are intended to form one complete story arc, Nolan is clearly not a filmmaker who’s content to repeat himself. I’m personally looking forward to a film that’s as different from his first two Batman movies as they are from each other. Audiences will certainly have much higher expectations than they did going into The Dark Knight, but it’s encouraging to hear that Pfister thinks there’s no question that the concluding chapter will also be the best.

He also spoke about how much of The Dark Knight Rises will be shot in IMAX and reveals that they’re still trying to figure out how they’re actually going to shoot the script’s ambitious action scenes:

“Our goal is to shoot as much in IMAX as we can. We’re going to put in on the screen, and put it on the screen big. And I really encourage everyone to see it in IMAX if they can because we’re really going for it this time. In terms of the action, we are all scratching our heads right now trying to figure out how we’re going to do it; how we’re going to do it in the amount of time we’re going to do it in. The opening scene of the movie will blow your mind.”

Did anyone else immediately start daydreaming about what that last sentence might mean? The bank robbery that opened The Dark Knight became one of the film’s defining moments (thanks in part to its appearance a full year before TDK‘s release), so coming up with a similarly engaging sequence is no small feat.

the dark knight opening scene Cinematographer Wally Pfister Talks The Dark Knight Rises

Depending on Nolan’s depiction of the Selina Kyle character, could we be treated to one of her elaborate heists? Or perhaps we’ll see Bane’s escape from prison? Come to think of it, it’s too bad we already saw the League of Shadows release the inmates of Arkham out into the streets of Gotham during the climax of Batman Begins because that’d be an interesting way to open the film as well.

Given the way The Dark Knight ends, I actually wouldn’t mind it if the opening moments of The Dark Knight Rises were firmly focused on Batman himself. Particularly if it involves the GCPD getting in the way of an act of goodwill and him having to deal with everything they can throw at him.

There’s still a long way to go before we know for sure what Nolan & co. have in store for us, but for now the possibilities are certainly intriguing.

The Dark Knight Rises is scheduled to hit theaters on July 20, 2012.

Source: Kevin & Josh Movie Show (via Nolan Fans)

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  1. The Dark Knight was a bit to long. Great film though, I just hope TDKR is shorter…

    • You’re not a fan…. >:( lol

      • I’m not a fan cause I thought it was a bit long? Uh okay…

        • Don’t take it to heart. Notice the “lol” at the end. Wepz is poabably like me, and would watch TDK in a sitting even if it was three or fours hours.

    • Personally I don’t mind sitting in TDKR even if it’s 6hrs long as long as the story is engaging!! :)

      • I probably wont mind either. Still think TDK is about 15 minutes to long. DOES NOT mean I don’t like it :).

        • TDK was perfect for me.

          • if i;m paying $11 for a movie ticket ($15+ for IMax) i want the movie to be as long as they can make it.

            Return of the King was 201 minutes
            Titanic was 194 minutes
            Avatar was 162 minutes
            Gone with the Wind was 224 minutes

            all longer than “The Dark Knight”‘s 152 minute run time. AND all made more money (Gone with the Wind did sell more tickets)

            • I wanted to leave Return of The King like 30 minutes before it ended when I saw it in the theater. The 29 different endings drove me nuts. Never saw Titanic in the theater and Avatar felt a little long too. Gone with the Wind also had like 20 re-releases and I’m not a big fan of the film. I respect its place in film and history.

              • Sully311, I’m not a doctor but I think I have made a successful diagnosis: you have ADD

                I kid, I kid

        • @ Sully

          I agree. I only saw the movie twice that i remember with it being as long as it was.

      • eye

    • @Sully311:

      I agree, You are NOT a fan at all. You are still grudging ridiculously about TDK’s length while people are talking about how the opening scene of ‘TDK-Rises’ will be shot.

  2. The opening scene in Dark Knight was one the most well shot, well choreographed, written and acted scenes ever. I can’t wait to see what they do in the next one. The IMAX scenes really added to it too.

    This is my most anticipated movie, short and long term.

  3. This sounds like it’s going to be a spectacular visual feast in terms of cinematography. Wally Pfister is a highly respected cinematographer and shooting with an IMAX camera ensures the best possible image acquisition, resolution and depth of field.

    Nothing else comes close at the moment in terms of the best possible cinematic quality. The next two subsequent formats are 35mm film cameras and of course the RED Epic digital cinema cameras which simulate film exceptionally well without the motion blur and film grain artifacts.

    I’m hoping the script will live up to the same scrutiny and quality as has been dedicated to presenting the best possible pictures for screen. Judging from Wally’s comments it sounds like it will. :-)

  4. My imagination is running wild as well as all the other fans! I’m thinking this:

    It’s night time. The Gotham Police Department is in pursuit of the Batman. They’ve spotted him. Batman is running on the rooftops and the Helicopters are flying behind him. Snipers are shooting at him from other buildings from afar. Batman is jumping from roof to roof and you see him use his cape to glide over a big jump. They start shooting and hit his cape and he starts to drift and crash through a window.

    The cops throw some gas containers in there. A tentative Commissioner Gordon is called unto the scene and the cops think they have cornered Batman in one of the buildings. They update him on what’s the situation. The police send dogs up the stairs and militarized units rush in behind em.

    I can picture some magnificent escape by Batman. One of the parts of the opening sequence that takes advantage of Imax. Maybe he leaps out the window and uses a new device that helps him swing from building to building.- dunno

    Next thing you know news reports around Gotham are reporting that Batman is still on the loose and that there are special task forces that have been developed just to take him down.

    that maybe the start of the movie has to do with Batman running away from the Gotham Police.

  5. Agh I hate typos… UGH!!!

  6. In Wally we trust!

    • LOL, yes indeed. :-)

  7. I’m 100% positive that the opening sequence will follow Batman being chased by the cops, classic Batman: The Animated Series-style. The ending to The Dark Knight was absolutely perfect, and I have a feeling that The Dark Knight Rises can (and will) open with one of the best cinematic chase sequences ever.

    Secondly, I DO think TDKR will be better than TDK. Am I hyping this film too much? Maybe, but I don’t feel that way. I mean, Heath Ledger was excellent as the Joker, who is my favorite Batman villain, but I’m intrigued to see what Catwoman (come on, you know it’s happening) and Bane will bring to the story. Both provide excellent story potential (Selina Kyle becoming Catwoman, providing Bruce with a conflict in his romantic life), and Bane not only being a criminal mastermind, but matching (and exceeding) Batman in strength. This should provide for some awesome fight scenes.

    The other (main) reason I think it will be better is because I think that Nolan is on a roll as a director, and he’s only getting better. I’ve only seen BB, TDK, and Inception, and I love each progressively more than the last. Also, Nolan has gotten MUCH better at choreographing action sequences, so I think he’s only improve in TDKR.

    • More excited than for HP: Deathly Hallows 2? Say it ain’t so?! :-D

  8. i still stand that having the Hit-Man who killed Joe Chill (killer of Thomas and Martha Wayne) in the first movie would be Talia Al Ghul and havinf Bruce Wayne/Batman find that out be a very interesting emotional cocktail.

    I guess this could still work with having it turn out that Salina Kyle actually killed Joe Chill for the League of Shadows.

    That would make a great story arc for the film to wrap around all three

    • Awesome news!

  9. Every movie should have a fantastic opening scene and Nolan hasn’t disappointed to this point so I don’t see that changing. Go Nolan.

  10. I never thought the Dark Knight was too long, I do, however, wish there had been more to the Joker’s confrontation with the Batman at the end, instead of Batman having to deal with Two-Face. I suppose the knowledge that it was Heath Ledger’s last role didn’t help.

    But it’s because of that I think I still prefer Batman Begins to The Dark Knight. Batman Begins was a triumphant return of Batman as he should be portrayed in film, and it was a delightfully intricate story with a fun twist nobody really saw coming.

    The Dark Knight was still a bit more predictable in its plot, although I did like that the Batman became a fugitive.

    However, all that being said, both movies are still very good and faithful to the character, and hopefully the third movie will indeed be a satisfying end to the trilogy.

    I’m actually kind of glad Nolan has already said it is his last movie. It means I can sort of look forward to this movie as the final part of Nolan’s arc and then we can all start looking forward to the next new Batman without looking over our shoulder.

    I mean, it’s easier to replace Heath Ledger as the Joker if it is a different Batman story altogether. And to be honest, while Christian Bale has been the best Batman to date, the character can still be played better, IMO.

  11. @ sully
    i agree TDK did seem like it dragged on a bit (especially after joker gets caught) but it was non-the-less a good movie. i wonder if TDKR will pick up directly after TDK…

  12. I don’t understand why so many people complain about the length of movies. Do you all really have that short of an attention span that 30 or so more minutes bore you? Even in something as exciting as TDK? I suggest you all sit down and watch a bollywood film. I think your appreciation for movie lengths out of hollywood will increase tenfold.

    • Okay dude…

  13. I just want to time travel to July 20th, 2012. Where is that Doc from Back To The Future when you need him?!

    • Well, we do have Dr. Sam Beckett here. Only thing is, he can only time travel within his own lifetime. :-)

  14. I gotta say….
    With all the huge superhero flicks being made…TDKR is the one I’m realy looking forward too.

  15. This is one of the reasons 2012 will be the end all to beat all. 2011 will be great, but 2012 will be stellar. Then the world will end. :-P

  16. CAN’T WAIT

  17. For me the length of the movie means a ton. Depending on the director (Nolan, Cameron) the longer the movie the better imo! Who in the their right mind would want an hour and a half Batman movie???????? If Nolan made a 4 hour Bat flick I’d probably see it 10 times in the theater.

  18. To me the length of a movie means as much as whats the film is worth. Imo i thought the Burton/Schumacher films & Batman Begins were greatly timed. TDK i felt was little longer cause i felt it had more dialogue which to me seemed to have the me drag kinda like Iron Man 2 for a Batman film. I usually don’t go to movies in theaters that are 3 or more hrs long unless i know im gonna like them. Like Avatar,wasn’t sure id like it so i waited for the dvd but wished ive gone to it. But i’ll see the sequels in theaters. I don’t think id sit thru a 4 hr Bat flick by Nolan or anyone, especially ten times,lol. Id be sick of watchin it before it comes out on dvd,plus i would’t spend that much on the same movie. 4 times in a theater is my limit depending on the movie. I i saw Batman Begins 3 times & saw TDK 2 or 3 times, can’t remember.

  19. …And that mind-blowing Opening Scene will be probably the legal authorities chasing our lovely Big Bad Black Bat all around Gotham on roof-tops, bridges, streets, through glass-doors of malls and restaurants and hotels and hospitals…Wait…there are no hospitals in Gotham…The Joker…

    • Amol

      I think it will go like that somewhat but with a twist or surprise right at the end of the opening scene. Being chased all around Gotham by the authorities only to be taken down by a newcomer who we are then introduced to as Bane.

  20. Is it possible the opening scene will be Bane breaking Batman’s back? I just have to wonder how many times I will type a post for SR before I find out what this mind blowing opening scene is. What an BLEEEP thing to say. A year and a half away, I’ll never make it. Never make it. I have to go drink myself into a mindless stupor now. Preferably for a year and a half.