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Honor Roll 2012: Christopher Nolan Talks Batman and Beyond

By Eric Mattina | Indiewire December 11, 2012 at 10:57AM

Honor Roll is a daily series for December that will feature new or previously published interviews, profiles and first-person stories of some of the year's most notable cinematic voices. Today, we're re-running a profile on Christopher Nolan, whose critically acclaimed blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises" was yesterday named by AFI as one of the 10 best film of the year.
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Nolan's interest in completing the trilogy came from a desire to see these characters grapple with consequences

"A lot of the fun of getting to complete the trilogy was to say "Ok, I know I have Michael Caine, I know I have Christian Bale," and they could actually follow the consequences of what happened in the first two films. So rather than dropping that stuff and coming up with a whole new story, I thought "Ok, Michael burns that letter at the end (of "The Dark Knight"), so what does that really mean? Is he really going to be able to keep that a secret forever? Isn't that going to come out?" Really the whole film for me grew out of that idea of wanting to know. We finish "The Dark Knight" based on a set of lies, and what would that actually grow into. When you have actors like this, who are prepared to follow the thread of that characterization as if they are real people who have that history, you really get to feel that emotion."

Nolan's penchant for casting actors who have fallen by the wayside (such as Rutger Hauer in "Batman Begins," Tom Berenger in "Inception," Eric Roberts in "The Dark Knight," Tom Conti in "The Dark Knight Rises") both allows him to give work to those he finds undervalued and also enhances the epic scope of the piece

READ MORE: Honor Roll 2012: Matthew McConaughey Wants a Viagra Study, Has an 18 Handicap and Thinks You've Got to "Enjoy the Architecture"

Rutger Hauer in "Batman Begins"
Warner Brothers Pictures Rutger Hauer in "Batman Begins"

"I think older actors are probably dreading that call these days. They probably think "Oh, have I've fallen that far. . .?" These guys are incredible actors who are undervalued in an industry where the protagonist in every script that you read, or indeed write, is a 35-year old white male. So there's a huge pool of talent, some of which like Michael Caine or Morgan Freeman or Gene Hackman are just established in popular imagination as very reliable story-tellers and extraordinary performers, but then you've got lesser knowns and people you haven't seen in a while who have done great work. They love what they do and if you can give them a little something to play they'll really make something of it. It's such an advantage to have that depth of casting where every role is played by someone who is going to make it real. Rutger Hauer created a whole backstory (for his part in "Batman Begins"). It's also great putting them with the younger actors who are terrified of them because they grew up watching their work. It was fun putting Tom Hardy with Tom Berenger in "Inception" because he was such a fan of his. It also gives the film more life and credibility. I think its about scale because you're not throwing any part of Gotham away. You're saying that every bit of this city and every level of it has some importance, and if you can cast that way you create more of an immersive environment."

Foundas closed the evening asking for a tease about Zack Snyder's upcoming Superman reboot "Man of Steel" (of which Nolan is producing)

"Producing is much easier than directing. Even as we speak I'm producing Zack's film. But I really think he's doing some very exciting things with it. I don't envy him for taking on such a project like Superman, but he's done things I haven't seen before. But you won't see it until next summer, and he still has many complex things left to do, but I think that it'll be very thrilling."

This article is related to: Honor Roll 2012, Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises, Interviews, Awards