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Christopher Nolan: 'The Dark Knight Rises' Used Elements From Charles Dickens Classic

Fred Topel Fred Topel
July 18th, 2012 10:15am EDT

The Dark Knight Rises

Batman was created by Bob Kane in the pages of Detective Comics. The Batman movies have had numerous writers, the latest being Christopher and Jonah Nolan. The final film in their trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, opens this weekend. It is still shrouded in secrecy, but you might find a clue in reading Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

“From my point of view, when Jonah showed me his first draft of the screenplay and it was 400 pages long or something, had all this crazy stuff in it,” Christopher Nolan said. “As part of the primer if you like, when he handed it to me, he was like, ‘Oh, and you’ve got to think of A Tale of Two Cities which of course you’ve read.’ And I said oh yeah, yeah, absolutely. Read the script, was a little baffled by a few things and then realized I’d never read Tale of Two Cities and just one of those things I thought I’d done or whatever.”

The Dickens classic deals with the oppression of the poor by the rich in pre-French Revolution France. Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, is a billionaire heir who uses his money to fund all those Bat gadgets. Could Wayne’s wealth be in conflict with the regular folks of Gotham City who Batman swears to protect?

Nolan wouldn’t spoil any such details. He said it was more the ensemble nature of the book that applied to The Dark Knight Rises. The film adds Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Bane and several original characters to its returning cast.

“So I then got the book, read it, absolutely loved it, got completely what he was talking about and he’ll have to answer as to when it entered his process,” Nolan continued. “For me then when I did my draft on the script, it was all about Tale of Two Cities and really just trying to follow that because it just felt exactly the right thing for the world we were dealing with. What Dickens does in that book in terms of having all of these different characters come together in one unified story with all of these great thematic elements and all of this great emotionalism and drama, it felt like exactly the tone that we were looking for.”

The Dark Knight Rises opens Friday.

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Photo Credits: Warner Bros. Entertainment