The Dark Knight shattered records last summer, but then the cast and crew pretty much went into hiding. They refused to answer questions on if/when they will do another installment to the Batman mythos. Now, Nolan has resurfaced and is talking exclusively to the L.A. Times and he’s talking about the success of the first movie and the possibilities of the next film.
“I can’t get my arms around it, to be quite frank. It’s mystifying. It’s terrific but at the same time it’s a little abstract, the numbers are so big,” Nolan said of the near billion dollar world box office of ‘The Dark Knight‘.
“The biggest thrill for me would be, with the number of people who have gone to see the film, how ‘The Dark Knight’ stood on the shoulders of the first film, how we were able to build the audience up and build the story up from the first film. That was really exciting to see.”
Nolan also said that, contrary to popular belief, he had no master plan for a part three that would prominently feature the Joker. However, Heath Ledger’s amazing performance certainly made him consider it.
“Really and in truth, I only deal with one film at a time. I find myself sort of protesting this issue a lot. We’ve never attempted to save anything for a sequel or set up anything for a sequel,” Nolan said. “That seems improbable to some people because, particularly with ‘Batman Begins,’ the film ended with a particular hook [with Jim Gordon showing Batman a Joker playing card announcing the arrival of a new villain in town]. But for me that was just about the excitement of people leaving the theater with the sense that now we have the character up and running.
“Then I got excited about seeing where that character would go. It was planned in advance, but it followed in that way. But we tried our hardest to really do everything in this movie that we would want to see the Joker do and to get that in the fabric of the story as much as possible. We wanted the Joker’s final taunt to Batman to be that they are locked in an ongoing struggle because of Batman’s rules. There’s a paradox there. Batman won’t kill. And the Joker is not interested in completely defeating Batman because he’s fascinated by him and he enjoys sparring with him. It’s trapped both of them. That was really the meaning of it. Of course what happened is Heath created the most extraordinary character that you would love to see 10 movies about. That’s the bittersweet thing. It was incredible characterization. It is a bittersweet thing for all of us.”
So, is Nolan planning to do another one?
“There are two things to be said. One is the emphasis on story. What’s the story? Is there a story that’s going to keep me emotionally invested for the couple of years that it will take to make another one? That’s the overriding question,” the director said.
“On a more superficial level, I have to ask the question: How many good third movies in a franchise can people name,” he asked, laughing. “At the same time, in taking on the second one, we had the challenge of trying to make a great second movie, and there haven’t been too many of those either. It’s all about the story really. If the story is there, everything is possible. I hope that was a suitably slippery answer.”
For the complete first part of Geoff Boucher’s exclusive interview with Christopher Nolan, click through to the Hero Complex blog at L.A. Times.