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Batman Begins - we sort of dared to ask some of the finest actors to take on these roles and I was able to put together a dream cast



Feature by: Jack Foley

HARD as it is to believe, but the origins of Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins actually lie within another super-hero movie - namely, Superman.

Having become attached to the project, Nolan confessed to using Richard Donner's 1978 classic as the template for how to re-imagine the ailing Batman franchise.

"I was looking back to a great era of blockbuster filmmaking from the late 70s where, I think, Hollywood films were doing some really marvellous escapist entertainment on a grand scale," he told the London press conference.

"All of those films, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Star Wars, Superman, etc, were done over here [in England].

"And the model I’d particularly been looking at was the 1978 Superman that Richard Donner made.

"They did a certain amount of location shooting in New York for that film but everything else was done over here at Pinewood Studios.

"Similarly, what really makes a film have that marvellous scale is having a wonderful cast of the finest actors and recognisable faces playing even some of the smallest roles.

"In Superman, Donner had Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Glenn Ford, an extraordinary ensemble, so that was very much what we were aspiring to.

"We sort of dared to ask some of the finest actors to take on these roles and I was able to put together a dream cast. It's no less than Batman deserves, really."

Batman Begins arguably boasts an even better cast than Superman, featuring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Katie Holmes, Sir Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Tom Wilkinson to name but a few.

 

And it dares to explore a far darker story than any of the previous films, including Tim Burton's much-loved original, starring Michael Keaton.

But Nolan remains unapologetic, stating: "I always knew that in making a Batman film, I wanted it to appeal to a wide range of ages, although I think what we’ve done is probably a bit intense for the youngest kids.

"The producers were looking for a fresh approach and it seemed to me that to tell the origin of the story would be pretty fascinating because it’s a story that’s never been told on-screen and hasn’t really even definitively been addressed in any of the comics.

"It’s a story that’s always been treated in kind of montage and flashback in the past. We wanted to flesh that out and tell the whole story."

As a result, he cast Christian Bale as the Dark Knight, having been impressed with the intensity of the actor's work in films like American Psycho and The Machinist.

"I chose Christian to play Batman based on the idea that in trying to create a realistic version of the story you need an actor like Christian who has sufficient intensity and focus in his eyes to make you believe in the idea that somebody without superpowers - and Bruce Wayne has no superpowers - could, through sheer force of will, change himself into a superhero.

"It was very clear to me, from his other performances and from meeting him in person, that Christian has the ability to project that kind of intensity and that’s why I asked him to do the role."

The result is a film that's sure to strike a chord with audiences, as they embrace a new, more character-driven super-hero experience.

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