In this weeks episode of The Nolan Batman Rewatch, Cory and Nathan train hard and fight harder as they discuss “Batman Begins.”

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In January 2003, Warner Bros. hired Memento director Christopher Nolan to direct an untitled Batman film, and David S. Goyer signed on to write the script two months later. Nolan stated his intention to reinvent the film franchise of Batman by “doing the origins story of the character, which is a story that’s never been told before”. Nolan said that humanity and realism would be the basis of the origin film, and that “the world of Batman is that of grounded reality. [It] will be a recognizable, contemporary reality against which an extraordinary heroic figure arises.” Goyer said that the goal of the film was to get the audience to care for both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Nolan felt the previous films were exercises in style rather than drama, and described his inspiration as being Richard Donner’s 1978 film Superman, in its focus on depicting the character’s growth. Also similar to Superman, Nolan wanted an all-star supporting cast for Batman Begins to lend a more epic feel and credibility to the story.

Christopher Nolan decided that there would be no second unit, and so for the whole one hundred twenty-nine shooting days, Nolan oversaw every shot of the film personally.

In an interview with Moviefone, Christian Bale said that he became interested in playing Batman after a friend of his loaned him the graphic novel “Arkham Asylum” (by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean) in 2000. After he read it, he told his agent that if anyone was making another Batman movie, he wanted in.

Heath Ledger was considered for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman during the film’s early development before being cast as The Joker in the sequel The Dark Knight (2008), a role that won him an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Only a few days before the role of Batman was cast, eight actors were asked to audition for the part. They were Christian Bale, Joshua Jackson, Eion Bailey, Hugh Dancy, Billy Crudup, Cillian Murphy, Henry Cavill, and Jake Gyllenhaal. David Duchovny was once again considered to play the part of Bruce Wayne/Batman since he was considered for the latest movie which was Batman & Robin (1997). While Bale won the part, Christopher Nolan liked Murphy’s audition so much, he cast him as Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. The Scarecrow. Part of the audition process involved the actors wearing a Batman suit (minus the cape which has been missing for some time) used by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever(1995), which was brought out of storage for this purpose.

Marilyn Manson, Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor, and Jeremy Davies were considered for the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. The Scarecrow.

Director Christopher Nolan is reputed to have been so fascinated with Cillian Murphy’s bright blue eyes, that he kept trying to find reasons and ways to have Crane remove his glasses.

Before shooting began, Christopher Nolan invited the whole film crew to a private screening of Blade Runner (1982). After the film he said to the whole crew, “This is how we’re going to make “Batman”.”

Due to his part in The Machinist (2004), Christian Bale was vastly underweight (about 120 pounds on his six foot frame) when he was under consideration for the part. After being cast, he was told to become as “big as you could be” by Christopher Nolan. Bale underwent a six month dietary and exercise regimen, and ending up weighing about 220 pounds (about forty pounds above his normal weight). It was decided that Bale had become too large (friends of his on the film’s crew dubbed him “Fatman”) and he quickly shed about twenty pounds to have leaner, more muscular frame. Bale described the experience as an unbearable physical ordeal.

Christian Bale’s active dislike of his uncomfortable Batman outfit helped his performance as the Dark Knight as he was perpetually in a foul mood when wearing it.

Although Christian Bale performed many of his own stunts, he wasn’t allowed anywhere near the Batmobile.

While shooting on the streets of Chicago, a person accidentally crashed into the Batmobile. The driver was apparently drunk, and said he hit the car in a state of panic, believing the Dark Knight’s vehicle to be an invading alien spacecraft.

The language used by Ken Watanabe is neither Japanese, nor Tibetan, nor in fact any known language at all. It’s supposedly some gibberish he says he made up himself for the role, though the subtitles list it as Urdu.

The film inspired James Bond Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to reboot the James Bond franchise, and reinvent the character of British Secret Agent James Bond, and making him much darker, and more realistic with Casino Royale (2006).

What’s Up Next?:

Next week, we continue on to the 2nd part of this trilogy, “The Dark Knight.”

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