THE DARK KNIGHT RISES PRODUCTION NOTES: CHRISTIAN BALE AS BRUCE WAYNE/BATMAN
Taking on the dual role of Bruce Wayne and Batman for the third and final time, Christian Bale says, “Bruce feels absolutely isolated since the tragedy of losing the woman he loved, Rachel, and the terrible turn of events with what happened to Harvey Dent. He carries a certain amount of guilt that if he had not chosen the course of becoming Batman, none of that would have happened. His belief has been rocked, and that has caught up with him, physically and emotionally. But how much longer can he allow the pain of what has happened in his life control what he does with his life? And at what point does it start to become completely self-destructive?”
Nolan observes that, in giving up the guise of Batman for all those years, Bruce has, in a very real way, sacrificed both identities. “We come back to find a man who is no longer on a mission, even though that had always been the goal.”
“On the surface, Gotham has become what Bruce had hoped for,” Thomas adds, “but because it was all founded on a lie, nothing is quite that simple. It falls along the lines of ‘be careful what you wish for’ because without Batman, Bruce has no sense of purpose.”
“The reason I have always gravitated to the character of Batman is that, as often noted, he is a superhero with no super powers, apart from his wealth,” Nolan says. “His extraordinary nature has always come down to his extreme motivation and sheer dedication, which makes him a very credible individual.”
“One of the great things about this character is that the least relatable thing about him is his billionaire status. Having those kinds of resources is something very few people could ever fathom. But the rest of it is understandable from an emotional perspective,” Bale comments.
“It’s been very rewarding to watch Christian chart the progression of his role through the three films,” says Nolan. “He always had a strong commitment to finding the truth of the character, and I think you especially see that in this film, where he really embraced that Bruce is older, but not necessarily wiser. It’s a very thoughtful performance, and that’s what you consistently get from a talent like Christian.”