I was meant to inspire good. Not madness. Not death.
Clocking in at a whopping 164 minutes, The Dark Knight Rises is already a mammoth example of storytelling, but even despite its epic running time, there were a still a few key sequences that ended up on the cutting room floor…
Two photos of Tom Hardy & Christopher Nolan behind the scenes of The Dark Knight Rises.
“If [Tom] were here, I think what he would be talking about is when I called him up and I basically said to him ‘look, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news,’” Nolan began. “The good news is I have a terrific part for you, the bad news is your face is gonna be completely covered for the whole film, so you’re gonna have to get across whatever it is you wanna get across through this character through just your eyes and your voice.
“And what Tom did, which I completely love but it takes audiences time to get used to,” he continued, “is there’s an incredible disjunct between what he’s doing with his voice and what he’s doing with his eyes. His eyes have this extremely threating stillness to them. His voice is this extremely expressive and different voice. And i’ve never really seen anything like it. The first time I ever saw him perform a scene with Christian [Bale], I was shocked by it. I mean I really was like, ‘ok, I’ve just never seen this.’”
Christopher Nolan discusses Tom Hardy’s performance as Bane:
[…]no one will laugh during the scenes involving Bane, a super-intelligent strongman played by Tom Hardy, whom Nolan first cast for his summer 2010 hit Inception.
Bane, whom comic book fans well know from the landmark storyline…
I would totally, completely, wholeheartedly wrap myself in that madness.
This is a fantastic read, check out the full article here (scroll down for the English version), Joe’s parts are quoted below:
Everyone at the table laughs, all recalling with humor and affection their experience making the film. Like Bale, Cotillard, Hardy and Gordon-Levitt had also previously worked with Nolan, on his Oscar-winning film Inception. “Chris likes to find people that he really trusts, so there is a continuity to his films,” Bale says. “There was a feeling on set, amongst everybody, the cast and crew alike, of ‘Wow, we’re really doing something special here,’” remembers Joseph Gordon-Levitt. “That makes it fun because it’s not just a job. You put a lot of care into the work every day. And that doesn’t happen on every movie set.” The young actor plays John Blake, a Gotham City police officer who proves his mettle to Commissioner Gordon and becomes one of his most trusted allies. He also shares a connection to Bruce Wayne in that he, like Bruce, is an orphan. “He looks up to him because of that,” Gordon-Levitt says. “I can understand wanting to find that commonality with somebody. I think that’s one of the many things that really distinguishes the way Chris approaches these movies. Ultimately, what he’s concerned with is well-rounded, nuanced, honest human characters. And that’s the case whether you are talking about Bruce Wayne or my character, John Blake. They feel like human beings, and, as an actor, that’s inspiring. Chris is really an actor’s director and even amidst all the spectacle and all this huge production value, he always prioritizes getting a real honest performance from his actors. And that’s obviously a lot more fun for me.” Growing up, Gordon-Levitt was a Batman fan, which makes his role in The Dark Knight Rises something of a dream come true. “I think that for just about every person in western culture, Batman is a really sacred and iconic figure in our psyche,” the actor notes. “So, needless to say, I was excited to be involved and was intensely curious to see what he would do. And I won’t specify why, but I was not disappointed. It really does feel like a conclusion.”
Tom Hardy—who dons body armor and a bulky breathing mask as the menacing villain Bane—recalls precisely that moment. It happened in the midst of a massive crowd scene on Wall Street in Manhattan, during a fight sequence between their two characters. “It was the first time I ever heard Christian say he was tired,” Hardy remembers. “I was watching him for however many months getting beaten up and wet and cold, and he never said anything. Inside, I was dying, but I was thinking, ‘This can’t bother me because he’s not bothered.’ But on Wall Street, he just turned and said, ‘You know what? I’m exhausted.’ I said, ‘Me too.’”
“We stopped the fight and started hugging each other,” Bale adds.
Tom Hardy agrees, noting, “The thing about Chris is that he creates such a safe place to work, but it’s also challenging because this is a guy who flips trucks for real. So, you never know what you’re going to be asked to do. There are all kinds of pressures involved in a movie like this. It’s like test-flying a brand new aircraft for the military. There’s pressure that you’re going to crash it. But at the end of the day, if I opted out of the pressure then I wouldn’t be doing my job.”
Hardy plays Bane, the film’s destructive villain who presents a real threat to Gotham City and to Batman. “Bane is a serious piece of kit,” Hardy describes. “He’s not there to joke. He’s come to do business and there’s no frivolity or messing around. It’s very blunt and militant, very aggressive from the start.”
Nolan agrees, calling Bane “extremely efficient. He’s driven by a very specific set of actions and plans. Nothing is wasted. He’s much more of a physical adversary. In the first two films, we’d never presented Batman with a physical challenge, somebody who would literally stand toe-to-toe with him and battle in a physical sense. That’s an important part of who Batman is. He’s trained in fighting. He has honed his body. He’s an incredibly physical hero. So, we really wanted him for the first time in our movies to meet his match in somebody who’s truly a monstrous figure.”
After working with the director on Inception, Hardy leapt at the chance to do another film with Nolan and signed onto The Dark Knight Rises without even reading the script. “Chris actually called me on the phone and said, ‘Tom, there’s a character you might be quite good for but I’m not sure if it’s something you’d be interested in because it’s going to demand you to wear a mask, and I appreciate that as an actor you probably wouldn’t want to wear a mask for six months,’” the actor recalls. “He couldn’t tell me anything about the character, just that he had a mask and he was a bad, very bad guy. And I said, ‘Let me get this straight. You want me to come away and work with you around the world and I have the use of an entire stunt team and as many weapons as I want for six months and all I have to do is wear a mask?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, pretty much.’ So, I said, ‘I’m in. Absolutely,’” Hardy laughs.
The actor sees the mask as an indelible part of Bane’s identity. “If you look at mask work over history, they all have their own character,” he says. “Each mask is built specifically to draw out a specific character in Italian theater and whatnot. So, actually, a lot of the work is done by being camouflaged. You’re not self-conscious.”
That camouflage came in handy for some of Hardy’s more intense stunts. “I was on a walkway, holding onto the side of a building and very delicately walking out onto a platform about sixty feet high,” he remembers with a wry smile. “I wasn’t very manly, or masculine without the mask.”
“Bane is a phenomenally strong-minded character,” Bale adds. “So, you’ve got to be bold, and you’ve got a bold actor right here. Tom goes the distance. I mean, he goes way beyond what most other actors would do. He’s created a phenomenal villain.”