When Batman Begins made its debut in June 2005, it was seen by many as a huge risk by Warner Bros.: an almost unheard of phenomena at the time of rebooting an entire franchise under the tutelage of an independent filmmaker was not the common franchise “reset” it is today. But Warner’s instincts were right, and with this film and its subsequent sequels, 2008’s The Dark Knight and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, the trilogy has become some of the most influential films of the time.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter recently, director Christopher Nolan took some time out of his Interstellar press tour to discuss his initial jump in comic-book films, and how Batman Begins began:
“It came to me in a very interesting way, which was my agent, Dan Aloni, called and said, ‘It seems unlikely you’d be interested in this, but Warners is sort of casting around for what they would do with Batman.’ It had reached the end of its last sort of life, if you’d like. And at the time, nobody used the term “reboot” — that didn’t exist — so it was really a question of, ‘What would you do with this?’ I said, ‘Well, actually, that is something I’m interested in,’ because one of the great films that I am very influenced by that we haven’t talked about was Dick Donner’s Superman….And so I was able to get in the studio and say, ‘Well, that’s what I would do with it.’ I don’t even know who was first banging around the term ‘reboot’ or whatever, but it was after Batman Begins, so we didn’t have any kind of reference for that idea of kind of resetting a franchise. It was more a thing of, ‘Nobody’s ever made this origin story in this way and treated it as a piece of action filmmaking, a sort of contemporary action blockbuster.’
“What I loved about Superman was the way New York felt like New York, or rather Metropolis felt like New York. Metropolis felt like a city you could recognize — and then there was this guy flying through the streets. ‘That’s amazing, so let’s do that for Batman, and let’s start by putting together an amazing cast,’ which is what they had done with that film, but which I hadn’t seen done since — they had everybody from [Marlon Brando] to Glenn Ford, playing Superman’s dad, you know, it was an incredible cast. So we started putting together this amazing cast based around Christian [Bale], who seemed perfect for Batman, but bringing him Sir Michael Caine and Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman and Tom Wilkinson. It was just incredible.”
On the other side of the coin, director Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass) recently gave his “two cents” on Nolan’s impact whilst promoting his latest film, Kingsman: The Secret Service and thinks that audiences are getting tired of Nolan’s style:
“People want fun and escapism at the moment,” said Vaughn. “Look at the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. I think Nolan kick-started a very dark, bleak style of superhero escapism, and I think people have had enough of it.”