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10 insiders on the new Batman movie

10 insiders on the new Batman movie

While the Batsuit was made of 110 separate pieces, the Catsuit had two layers. The Dark Knight's secrets


10 insiders on the new Batman …
The Batsuit: From heroes to villains, the costumes have been an integral part of bringing the characters of the Dark Knight trilogy to life, starting, of course, with the indelible silhouette of Batman. Following ‘Batman Begins’ the Batsuit was significantly redesigned for “The Dark Knight,” resulting in improved comfort and flexibility, especially in the neck and shoulders. As the saying goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ so costume designer Lindy Hemming and her team made no changes to the suit for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. The multi-layered Batsuit was comprised of 110 separate pieces, each of which had to be replicated dozens of times over the course of the production. The base layer was made of a polyester mesh that is utilized by the military and high-tech sports manufacturers because of its breathability and moisture-wicking properties. Individually molded pieces of flexible urethane were then attached to the mesh, forming the overall body armor plating. Adding another level of protection, light but strong carbon fiber panels were placed inside the sections on the legs, chest and abdomen. The cowl was sculpted from a cast of Bale’s face and head and then molded for a perfect fit. There were also ten different versions of the iconic cape, ranging in length and shape—from shorter ones, used in action scenes, to the glider cape that snaps into the shape of spread batwings.




10 insiders on the new Batman …
Bane’s mask: Bane’s most distinctive feature is the menacing-looking mask, fastened to his face, which continually pumps pain medication into him, keeping the agony from his violent past at bay. “We designed the mask to be animalistic. It had to look completely different from Batman’s cowl…and it could not be black,” says costume designer Lindy Hemming. The mask was built by the costume effects department, using a digitally mapped model of Tom Hardy’s face and skull. Costume effects supervisor Graham Churchyard explains, “To us, the Bane mask had to fit like a prosthetic; however, unlike a prosthetic, it had to look like it was engineered out of metal. We were able to take Tom’s computer cast and 3D model each rigid piece to the contours of his head so it was tight to his face, with no gaps.” As it turned out, ‘tight’ was an understatement. Hemming attests, “It was gripping Tom’s head like a vice. With his assistance and patience, we made it as tight as it could ever have been. There was a magnetic removal panel on the front, so everything you see has a series of magnets underneath it, and everything beneath that has a rubber seal that pressed into Tom’s skin and was held on by tension. The fact that he tolerated it, let alone acted with it, was astounding.”


10 insiders on the new Batman …
The Catsuit: Selina’s Catsuit was actually two pieces, but with her hip-hugging utility belt in position, it looks like one. Completing the ensemble are elbow-length gloves and thigh-high boots with spike heels that also serve a purpose. “They double as very effective weapons,” Hemming nods. There were two layers of material used to make the Catsuit, the outer one being polyurethane coated spandex, embossed with a hexagonal pattern. “It’s very simple and streamlined,” Hemming says. “It’s emphasizing the shape of her body without being too revealing.” While it is true that the skintight costume covered the actress from head to toe, Hathaway counters, “It doesn’t really hide much, so I worked with a movement coach to make sure that I was going to be very comfortable in my body. If you had to wear a Catsuit in front of the entire world, I guarantee you would get your butt to the gym,” she laughs.



10 insiders on the new Batman …
The Batpod: One of the challenges of playing Catwoman was riding the Bat-Pod, the two-wheeled street machine that made its debut in “The Dark Knight.” Designed by Chris Nolan and production designer Nathan Crowley, the Bat-Pod was made a reality by special effects supervisor Chris Corbould and his team. The Bat-Pod sports the same monster truck tires as those on the original Batmobile—better known in the Dark Knight trilogy as the Tumbler. Although it looks rather unwieldy, the Bat-Pod is fast and maneuverable, as well as fully equipped with blast cannons, 50-caliber machine guns and grappling hook launchers. The Bat-Pod is street-worthy but not easy to ride, requiring strength and a specific technique to control it. During the making of “The Dark Knight,” the only one who could actually drive it was professional stunt rider Jean-Pierre Goy. Goy did return to ride the Bat-Pod for scenes in “The Dark Knight Rises.” However, he did have one obvious drawback, as Hathaway relates: “I was standing there with Chris, looking at the Bat-Pod, and he was telling me about Jean-Pierre and how he’s the only person in the world who can drive it. And I turned to him and said, ‘Can he look like a woman?’ Struthers had the exact same thought, noting, “There’s no way that a man would ride the Bat-Pod the same way as a woman. But we found the right lady for the job.” Professional motocross racer and stunt rider Jolene Van Vugt—the first female ever to backflip a full-size dirt bike—came





10 insiders on the new Batman …
The Bat cave: Filming in low light was especially important for “The Dark Knight Rises” because a number of crucial scenes take place underground, including those in the Batcave. With Wayne Manor—and therefore the original Batcave—destroyed in the first film, Bruce Wayne had temporarily moved his base of operations to the Bat-Bunker. However, the mansion was rebuilt with the inclusion of a new Batcave, which reflects design elements of both earlier sets. Nathan Crowley, who teamed with fellow production designer Kevin Kavanaugh on this film, explains, “Chris and I pondered how to mix the Batcave and the Bat-Bunker, which is incredibly geometric and modern and everything is cleanly recessed into the walls. It occurred to us that we could carry over the same idea by flooding the Batcave so everything is hidden underwater. When you enter, it’s just a cave, but you press a button and up come these perfect cubes that hold different objects, from the Batsuit to a super computer.”



10 insiders on the new Batman …
Bane’s prison: Currents of water were a main feature of Bane’s base of operations, found in the sewer system beneath Gotham City. The set was constructed at Cardington, where the cavernous space allowed the production to build tunnels leading to a concrete and corrugated steel structure, several stories high. In lighting the set, Pfister says, “I suggested we use heavily overexposed lights to turn it into something that feels like an arena. So we have these really bright points of light that go to stark white and help to establish the harshness of the environment.” Cardington also housed an even more imposing multi-leveled set: a hellish prison, which, apart from being beneath the ground, is a far cry from Bane’s lair. The prison is a rough-hewn labyrinth of stone cells in a vast abyss. The barred doors of the cells are unlocked because there is only one escape: an impossibly high vertical shaft leading to the surface. There were actually two shafts constructed at Cardington, the taller being 120 feet high. Exteriors above the prison were filmed in Jodhpur, India, where the forbidding landscape added to the desolation.



10 insiders on the new Batman …
Gotham City: In the first two movies, Chicago had doubled as Gotham City, but for the conclusion of the trilogy, three separate cities stood in for Gotham: Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and New York. In a few sequences, the action overlapped locations, beginning in one city and seamlessly transitioning to another. Pfister says, “It was extremely challenging in terms of continuity. We were shooting in different cities, in different seasons, at different times of day, so it required an enormous amount of planning to match the lighting and make sure everything made sense. It all had to be mapped out very carefully with Chris and the location managers to figure out precisely when we were going to shoot on what streets.”



10 insiders on the new Batman …
Bane’s revolution: In Pittsburgh, more than 11,000 extras flocked to Heinz Field for the scene in which Bane kicks off his revolution with an explosive show of force. The home of the city’s beloved Steelers football team became the gridiron of the Gotham Rogues, who sported the black and gold colors of the stadium’s real-life resident team. Executive producer Thomas Tull is also a co-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, so he was proud to see them represented, even fictionally, in the film. A number of Pittsburgh Steelers stars were drafted to “play” for the Gotham Rogues. On the opposing side, the current Mayor of Pittsburgh, Luke Ravenstahl, joined in the game, playing the kicker for the Rapid City Monuments.




10 insiders on the new Batman …
Shooting at Wall Street: The exterior of the stock exchange was appropriately located in the financial hub of Wall Street in New York City. Over two weekends, the production closed down the entire financial district to shoot two of the film’s climactic confrontations, involving main cast, stunt teams, and several thousand extras. There were ultimately 600 stunt people engaged in the action, so in order to teach everyone the carefully choreographed moves, Struthers had them all broken down into groups and then sub-divided into smaller units. “Filming on a location like Wall Street is always going to be logistically complex, particularly with the sheer number of people we had,” Nolan says. “We had tremendous cooperation from the city, and everything went very smoothly, which is a testament to everyone involved. I’ve been very lucky to have found excellent people to work with on these films, in all departments. I know I can rely on them to offer valuable input and always give me their best, and that makes my job much easier.” The final weeks of principal photography were spent in New York City, where locations included the Trump Tower, which served as the exterior of Wayne Enterprises, and the Queensboro Bridge, the upper span of which was closed for two days for filming, including a shot of Batman overlooking the city he was willing to sacrifice everything to protect. Nolan states, “Gotham has always drawn a lot from New York. It’s a heightened version of it".



10 insiders on the new Batman …
An IMAX experience: In helming the film, Christopher Nolan utilized IMAX® cameras even more extensively than he did on “The Dark Knight,” which had marked the first time ever that a major feature film was even partially shot with the large-format cameras. “The Dark Knight Rises” will be presented on 70-millimeter film in 102 IMAX 15/70mm locations worldwide. Christopher Nolan stated, “Having shot almost half the picture with large-format IMAX film cameras, it is very important to me that we show ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in the IMAX film format wherever possible. Audiences everywhere should be assured that every presentation of the film will be of the highest standard—having benefited from the clarity and depth IMAX cameras offer. However, these 102 screens will showcase the original IMAX film photography in its optimum form, and I hope anyone who has an opportunity to experience the film in these theatres will seek it out.”








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