Director Christopher Nolan has revealed that he made Bane the villain in The Dark Knight Rises because he wanted “someone completely different from the Joker”.
The Joker, Batman’s nemesis in 2008’s The Dark Knight, was played by late actor Heath Ledger, who called the character “a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy”. Ledger, who died shortly after filming, was awarded a posthumous Oscar for his role.
Batman’s foe in The Dark Knight Rises is Tom Hardy‘s hulking Bane, whom the actor describes as “florid in his speech” but “having the physicality of a gorilla”. In a new interview with Flicks and Bits, Nolan admitted that the contrast between the two villains is entirely deliberate. He explained: “In deciding on who the next villain would be, it was imperative that it was someone completely different from The Joker – that he be a brute force.”
Nolan also revealed that Bane’s presence in The Dark Knight Rises enabled Christian Bale to show the full physical capabilities of his Batman. He added: “The physical component of what Bruce Wayne does as Batman is of extraordinary importance, and we had not truly challenged that in the first two films. I really wanted to see Batman meet his match physically as well as intellectually. Bane is raw strength with a fanatical devotion to duty, and that combination makes him unstoppable.”
Nolan proceeded to praise Hardy for making Bane such a realistic and well-rounded character. He explained: “When you’re creating a monstrous presence like Bane in a movie, you could concentrate just on the physical or you could focus on the more psychological aspects. With Tom Hardy, I knew I would get the whole package. He is such an incredible actor; he was able to depict this beast of a man who has exceptional fighting skills, but also able to convey the soul of someone who is damaged inside as well as out.”
The Dark Knight Rises, which also stars Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, opens in the UK and US on Friday (July 20). Early reviews of the film have been overwhelmingly positive, with movie magazine Empire calling it “superhero filmmaking on an unprecedented scale”.