Just as Christopher Nolan‘s stamp on the Batman franchise comes to an end with “The Dark Knight Rises,” the film stands to hold a greater meaning for his long-time DP, Wally Pfister. It was recently revealed the installment will serve as Pfister’s last film as cinematographer before retiring, but instead of keeping it low-key for his last effort, Pfister has announced even more IMAX footage will make it into the film than expected, as well as plans for his upcoming directorial debut.
Previously Pfister imagined 45 to 50 minutes of “The Dark Knight Rises” would be shot in 65mm IMAX and, but since then final cut was locked, and now a definitive number of 60 minutes has been promised. The news broke via THR during Saturday’s Kodak Focus event at the LA Film Festival, where Pfister spoke on the third Batman film in addition to showing his reel of work on “Insomnia,” “Inception,” and Lisa Cholodenko‘s “Laurel Canyon.” Pfister and Nolan have been two of the more vocal defenders of celluloid in filmmaking, as well the most powerful, and Pfister continued that stance here. “We are trying to keep film alive,” he said. “Digital cameras today just aren’t quite there.”
Of course then, it remains a given that Pfister will choose film as his shooting medium during his directorial debut, an untitled Alcon Entertainment thriller being produced by Nolan and his producing partner Emma Thomas. What remained a question though, even as his initial statements proved otherwise, was if he would DP his film while directing at the same time. “Hell no,” he promptly responded. “All I care about right now is screenplay and performance…The look is not my focus. I don’t want to be micromanaging how someone lights the film. I’m looking for a cinematographer whose style I like and understand. And they’ve got to be fast. I’m going to do to that cinematographer what [Christopher] Nolan has done to me for the last 13 years.”
Clearly whomever steps into Pfister’s DP role will have his work cut out for him, but on the other hand, working under someone so completely assured and communicative in his visual language could and should be a dream job. Tip a hat to Pfister’s work when “The Dark Knight Rises” opens July 20th, but before then check out a pretty amazing billboard for the film recently spotted by /Film in Hollywood, featuring a 3D hole crumbling into the shape of a bat.