'The Dark Knight''s Christopher Nolan -- EW talks with the visionary director about the Bat-Pod, the film's political messages, and why chicks want to date the Caped Crusader
Entertainment Weekly: Is it true you built the Bat-Pod [Batman’s tricked-out two-wheeler] for this movie in your garage?
Christopher Nolan: Yeah, yeah. And we actually built it full-size this time. Last time, we just built a small model of the Batmobile, and the manufacturers produced the full-size model.
Why build it in your garage?
Nolan: We didn’t want to use the kitchen.
There’s an old joke about how Superman is the guy girls want to marry but Batman’s the one they want to date.
Nolan: Michael Caine had a great line: ”Superman is the way America sees itself, but Batman is the way the world sees America.” Batman is kind of this benevolent billionaire, with the power of the wealthy. [He’s not] a godlike figure like Superman. He’s one of us.
You and your co-writers put a lot of what many people take to be political metaphors in your Batman movies. Are these deliberate?
Nolan: Well, the simple answer is yes. That’s not to say that we’re trying to make political stories. That’s not the case. We just write from the perspective of the world we live in, what interests us and frightens us. And one of the things we’re very aware of right now is the idea of society breaking down. That’s what we’re doing with the Joker. He’s essentially an anarchist. An agent of chaos, we like to call him.
You’re an indie filmmaker who now directs one of the biggest action franchises in the world. Are your sensibilities ever too dark for the studio? Do they ever ask you to tone it down, make it more commercial?
Nolan: No, not in the slightest. I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s the other way around. I grew up watching big popcorn action movies. Movies that felt like they were on a massive scale. That is very much what Batman needs to be.