Hot on the heels of last night’s release of two new The Dark Knight Rises covers from next month’s Empire, subscribers to the magazine today received a treat through their letterboxes – namely the issue itself, in all its glossy, papery splendour! Complete with a ‘Limited Edition Subscriber Only’ cover image of Tom Hardy in Bane regalia, the magazine boasts a behind the scenes feature on the film, including some of the first official images and fresh interview snippets from the cast and crew.
Though it can be fun to play guessing games a with movie that carries such high anticipation levels, the authorised nature of the pictures and quotes is a welcome breather from the constant flow of candid snapshots and rumour that has followed the film’s production.
Indeed, though it may seem like news about Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sequel to The Dark Knight breaks almost every week, official releases from the set have numbered only a handful: an early preview of Tom Hardy as Bane, a poster for the film that was quickly followed by a teaser trailer, and, back in August, our first official look at Anne Hathaway as that feline lady of mystery, Selina Kyle. Believe it or not – that’s all. Yes, it’s been over two months since we had our last sanctioned newscast from Gotham and now – finally – we can a bit more of what Mr Nolan and his crew have finalised for release, not just the eager fans.
So, what have we got? Well, if you’re hungry for some picture fuelled goodness then scroll to the bottom of the page (and click to enlarge), but first we’d like to pick out a few of the Empire article’s best little nuggets of plot and character info. The first surprise offered by Nolan is not one of ‘what’, but of ‘when’, with the director revealing that The Dark Knight Rises is set “eight years after” Batman’s last outing.
“It’s really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne’s story, ” Nolan states, “we left him in a very precarious place.” The film, he continues, will see “an older Bruce Wayne…not in a great state” being challenged by a villain and a story that will “[test] Batman both physically as well as mentally.” This may just mean that the Caped Crusader’s confrontations with Bane will involve more fist fights than they did with Ra’s Al Ghul or The Joker, but with one of Bane’s most famous comic storylines seeing him break an exhausted Bruce Wayne’s back, it’s a quote that will no doubt leave fans desperate to find out more.
And, speaking of Bane, thanks to the film’s costume department we can finally find out a little more about what makes him tick. With the character known in the comics for having superhuman strength bestowed by an experimental toxin named ‘Venom’ (taken every 12 hours to avoid adverse side-effects), it was always likely Bane would see slight alterations in the more grounded Nolanverse. However, as costume designer Lindy Hemming explains, Nolan’s Bane will keep his drug dependence, albeit with a slightly different origin. “He was injured early in his story. He’s suffering from pain and needs gas to survive. He can’t survive the pain without the mask. The pipes from the mask go back along his jawline and feed into the thing at his back, where there are two canisters.”
But a lack ‘strength serum’ does not mean that the Bane of The Dark Knight Rises will be by any means soft. Describing the character as both “brutal” and “clinical”, actor Tom Hardy tells Empire of a Bane whose assaults are based on results; “it’s not about fighting. It’s about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it’s nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns.” Sounds like this film is really going to push the PG-13 rating! Yet this is villain with brains as well as brawn, Hardy concludes – “a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action.”
And then there’s the pictures (see below; click to enlarge). With Batman surrounded by the bodies of collapsed soldiers in one shot and Bane rallying support whilst clutching a picture of Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent in another, they probably offer more questions than they do answers. In fact, Empire’s whole feature is a bit of a tease, but – crucially – it’s a tease Christopher Nolan wants us to see; not something dug out from impatience, but a wonderful allusion as to how much (or how little) he’s willing to show us before the release date.
So, without further ado, scroll down and have a look! With our next official glimpse of the film likely to be either a trailer attached to screenings of Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, or a six minute prologue attached to IMAX screenings of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (one that Nolan promises will provide “introduction to Bane, and a taste of the rest of the film”), we can only hope these satisfy your current appetite.
The Dark Knight Rises will be out in July 2012 and stars franchise regulars Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine alongside newcomers Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Juno Temple, and Josh Pence.