DC Comics aren’t the only books director Christopher Nolan used for the story of his Dark Knight trilogy. Nolan and his brother/screenwriting partner Jonathan borrowed a theme from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” to bring some depth to his films.
Dickens’ classic tale is about the class struggle taking place in Europe in the late 18th century.
Nolan told ComingSoon about using the old tale as inspiration for the trilogy that is universally loved.
“When Jonah showed me his first draft of his screenplay, it was 400 pages long or something,” Nolan said. “It had all this crazy stuff in it. As part of a primer when he handed it to me, he said, ‘You’ve got to think of A Tale of Two Cities which, of course, you’ve read.’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I read the script and was a little baffled by a few things and realized that I’d never read A Tale of Two Cities. It was just one of those things that I thought I had done. Then I got it, read it and absolutely loved it and got completely what he was talking about… When I did my draft on the script, it was all about A Tale of Two Cities.”
While viewers have noticed the film’s connection to real-world sociopolitical events, Jonathan Nolan noted that the class warfare presented in its theme is not just a present day struggle.
“Chris and David started developing the story in 2008 right after the second film came out,” he said. “Before the recession. Before Occupy Wall Street or any of that. Rather than being influenced by that, I was looking to old good books and good movies. Good literature for inspiration… What I always felt like we needed to do in a third film was, for lack of a better term, go there. All of these films have threatened to turn Gotham inside out and to collapse it on itself. None of them have actually achieved that until this film. A Tale of Two Cities was, to me, one of the most harrowing portraits of a relatable, recognizable civilization that completely folded to pieces with the terrors in Paris in France in that period. It’s hard to imagine that things can go that badly wrong.”
Aside from the theme of class warfare, the tone of Dickens’ novel also perfectly matched Nolan’s film, as the director noted, “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 his characters come together in one unified story with all these thematic elements and all this great emotionalism and drama, it was exactly the tone we were looking for.”
The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final film in the trilogy featuring Christian Bale as the titular hero. It begins with Batman, having assumed responsibility for the crimes of District Attorney Harvey Dent in order to protect his reputation, being chased into exile by the Gotham City Police Department. Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the appearance of the mysterious Selina Kyle sets in motion a chain of events culminating in the arrival of Bane, a ruthless terrorist with plans to destroy Gotham City. With the future of the city at stake, Batman must emerge from his exile and confront Bane to bring about an end to his reign of terror.
The film will hit theaters on July 20th, 2012.