15 Batty Facts About The Making Of 'The Dark Knight Rises'

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The Dark Knight Rises

Warner Bros. Pictures

From Tom Hardy accidentally punching an extra to some extras suffering from heat stroke during one explosive scene, the filming of the final entry in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy that came out exactly 10 years ago today was … extra. So, you know, read all about it!

Leonardo DiCaprio Was Almost Cast As The Riddler

Ipernity / Wikimedia Commons

Following The Dark Knight, which featured Heath Ledger’s Joker, a new villain for Nolan’s trilogy had to be chosen, and at one point, Warner Bros. was amped about the idea of getting DiCaprio to play the puzzle-loving fiend. Obviously, the movie ended up going in a different, slightly less bonkers direction.

Filming The Football Stadium Scene Was A Riot

Warner Bros. Pictures

Filmed at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, it was a scene that would prove quite rough for all the extras involved. The day started off with some rain — delaying the shoot and causing the extras to keep themselves busy — but it soon turned into a 90-degree scorcher, becoming unbearable in those thick coats everyone had to wear. Hydration also became a problem, and the on-set medics had to treat a couple of people suffering from heat exhaustion. 

The frustrations boiled over into “We want Bane!” and “We want T-shirts!” chants, but everyone seemed to be good when the action started rolling in — especially when the tanklike Batmobile was rolled out onto the field especially for them.

Anne Hathaway Thought She Was Going To Play Harley Quinn

Warner Bros. Pictures

Hathaway said she went into her audition thinking she’d be playing Joker’s girlfriend, only figuring out that Nolan wanted her to play the thieving Selina Kyle halfway through their meeting. She immediately regretted dressing up and pretending to be Quinn. 

“I came in and I had this lovely Vivian Westwood kind of beautiful-but-mad tailoring top with stripes going everywhere. And I wore these flat Joker-ey looking shoes. And I was trying to give Chris these crazy little smiles.”

The Film Was Thwarted By The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden

Warner Bros. Pictures

The prison pit in the movie was filmed in India, but in the days leading up to the shoot, the U.S. military shot and killed Osama bin Laden. The initial plan was to use the nearby airbase to fly helicopters and shoot big aerial footage, but with the whole world on alert again, they were denied permission.

Tom Hardy Punched The Wrong Actors On Set

Warner Bros. Pictures

The clash between Batman and the cops versus Bane and his army ended up being kind of messy, with actor Tom Hardy accidentally hitting an extra during the ruckus. The actor explained in The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy: "Bane is looking for Batman, and then comes down the stairs, has six or seven contacts with police officers, and faces off with Batman to beat him up. And Batman is whaling through the mercenaries to get to Bane and beat him up. When we shot it the first time, there were so many police officers in the scene that I didn't know which seven I was supposed to hit! So I was just hitting anybody."

Needless to say, the battle scene had to be reshot quite a few times to get it right.

About The Bat

Warner Bros. Pictures

Nolan’s crew had to build two Batwing vehicles — one lighter version that could “fly” by being airlifted using cables that were removed during post-production and a heavier one that weighed one and a half tons and included working guns that could be fired using a remote control.  

Michael Caine Tapped Into His Military Past To Play Alfred

Warner Bros. Pictures

Said the Stanislavski actor: “I wanted (Alfred) to be a tough butler, and I wanted him to be an ex-soldier. The voice, the voice is the first Sergeant I ever had. Because I was a soldier, and I had this voice of this Sergeant and that's his (Alfred's) voice. And I always imagined him to be SAS — which is our special forces. He was wounded, and didn't want to leave the Army, and went to work in the officer's mess behind the bar, and Batman's father came in and he saw him and said, 'Would you like to be trained as a butler?' And he said yes, and he went with him to America and was trained as a butler and that's his backstory.”

Christian Bale Couldn’t Watch The Dark Knight Rises Because Of The Aurora Mass Shooting

Warner Bros. Pictures

Marion Cotillard Wishes Everyone Would Get Over Her Death Scene

Warner Bros. Pictures

Ultimately panned by audiences as a “terrible death scene,” Cotillard has said that while she regrets how it came out, she wishes people would just move on from it.

“Sometimes there are failures, and when you see this on screen, you're thinking: 'Why? Why did they keep that take?' But either you blame everyone or nobody. But I thought people overreacted, because it was tough to be identified just with this scene. When I'm doing the best I can to find the authenticity in every character that I'm playing, it's tough to be known just for this scene.”

Gary Oldman Was Originally Cast To Play Scarecrow

Warner Bros. Pictures

In the early days of the trilogy, it seems Oldman was typecast to play the villain, Scarecrow (ultimately portrayed by Cillian Murphy). Oldman thinks it’s because he’s played so many villains before, but was glad he got to play Jim Gordon in the end. “I think that the villain thing really came out of the work I had done with Besson,” Oldman said, referring to French director Luc Besson with whom he did Léon: The Professional and The Fifth Element.

Cillian Murphy Was In The Running To Play Batman

Warner Bros. Pictures

The actor did a test screening for Batman/Bruce Wayne, which went pretty well to be honest:

Even so, the actor didn’t think he was Bats material. “I don’t believe I was close to landing that role. The only actor who was right for that part at that time, in my estimation, was Christian Bale, and he absolutely smashed it. So, for me, it was just an experience, and then it turned into something else. It turned into that character, Scarecrow, and it turned into a working relationship with Chris. So, I think back very, very fondly on that time, but I never, ever, ever considered myself Bruce Wayne material.”

The Death Scene That Was Cut To Prevent An NC-17 Rating

Warner Bros. Pictures

In the film, Peter Foley’s death is only shown in the aftermath, but the scene was originally filmed to show exactly how that Tankmobile hits him and flings his body to the ground. Actor Matthew Modine said that Nolan ultimately cut the scene because it was extremely violent and would surely have scored the dreaded NC-17 rating. 

“The guy that was doubling me got hit by the car. They put a plexiglass thing on the front of and he got hit. They had ropes to pull him into the air, but he went up and they dropped him from about 15 feet, and the sound of his body hitting the cobblestone street in front of the New York Stock Exchange, it was sickening. And I remember I looked at Christopher Nolan when we shot it and his face was white.”

The Real Plane That Was Dropped From The Sky

Warner Bros. Pictures

Filming The Last Scenes Made Christopher Nolan Emotional

Warner Bros. Pictures

“It was pretty emotional as we would finish these characters and say goodbye to Alfred for the last time and Commissioner Gordon, and eventually to Christian Bale, close to the end. Saying goodbye to Batman was a big deal. And with these newer characters too, finishing with Anne Hathaway and all these guys. It was quite touching,” said the director. “I tend not to be too emotional on set, I find that doesn’t help me do my job. But you definitely get a little lump in your throat thinking that this is going to be the last time we’ll be doing this. It’s been quite a journey.”

Thumbnail: Warner Bros. Pictures

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