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The Dark Knight Development

Before the release of Batman Begins, screenwriter David S. Goyer wrote a treatment for two sequels which introduced the Joker and Harvey Dent. His original intent was for the Joker to scar Dent during the Joker's trial in the third film, turning Dent into Two-Face.

Goyer, who penned the first draft of the film, cited the DC Comics 13-issue comic book limited series Batman: The Long Halloween as the major influence on his storyline. While initially uncertain of whether or not he would return to direct the sequel, Nolan did want to reinterpret the Joker on screen.

On July 31, 2006, Warner Bros. officially announced initiation of production for the sequel to Batman Begins titled The Dark Knight; it is the first live-action Batman film without the word "Batman" in its title, which Bale noted as signaling that "this take on Batman of mine and Chris' is very different from any of the others."

After much research, Nolan's brother and co-writer, Jonathan, suggested the Joker's first two appearances, published in the first issue of Batman (1940), as the crucial influences. Jerry Robinson, one of the Joker's co-creators, was consulted on the character's portrayal.


Nolan decided to avoid divulging an in-depth origin story for the Joker, and instead portray his rise to power so as to not diminish the threat he poses, explaining to MTV News, "the Joker we meet in The Dark Knight is fully formed...To me, the Joker is an absolute. There are no shades of gray to him maybe shades of purple. He's unbelievably dark. He bursts in just as he did in the comics."

Nolan reiterated to IGN, "We never wanted to do an origin story for the Joker in this film," because "the arc of the story is much more Harvey Dent's; the Joker is presented as an absolute. It's a very thrilling element in the film, and a very important element, but we wanted to deal with the rise of the Joker, not the origin of the Joker."


Nolan suggested Batman: The Killing Joke influenced a section of the Joker's dialogue in the film, in which he says that anyone can become like him given the right circumstances.

Nolan also cited Heat as "sort of an inspiration" for his aim "to tell a very large, city story or the story of a city": "If you want to take on Gotham, you want to give Gotham a kind of weight and breadth and depth in there. So you wind up dealing with the political figures, the media figures. That's part of the whole fabric of how a city is bound together."

According to Nolan, an important theme of the sequel is "escalation," extending the ending of Batman Begins, noting "things having to get worse before they get better."

While indicating The Dark Knight would continue the themes of Batman Begins, including justice vs. revenge and Bruce Wayne's issues with his father, Nolan emphasized the sequel would also portray Wayne more as a detective, an aspect of his character not fully developed in Batman Begins.

Nolan described the friendly rivalry between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent as the "backbone" of the film. He also chose to compress the overall storyline, allowing Dent to become Two-Face in The Dark Knight, thus giving the film an emotional arc the unsympathetic Joker could not offer. Nolan acknowledged the title was not only a reference to Batman, but also the fallen "white knight" Harvey Dent.


The Dark Knight Filming

While scouting for shooting locations in October 2006, location manager Robin Higgs visited Liverpool, concentrating mainly along the city's waterfront. Other candidates included Yorkshire, Glasgow, and parts of London.

In August 2006, one of the film's producers, Charles Roven, stated that its principal photography would begin in March 2007, but filming was pushed back to April.

For its release in IMAX theaters, Nolan shot four major sequences in that format, including the Joker's opening bank robbery and the car chase midway through the film, which marked the first time that a feature film had been even partially shot in the format. The cameras used for non-IMAX 35 mm scenes were Panavision's Panaflex Millennium XL and Platinum.


For fifteen years Nolan had wanted to shoot in the IMAX format, and he also used it for "quiet scenes which pictorially we thought would be interesting." The use of IMAX cameras provided many new challenges for the filmmakers: the cameras were much larger and heavier than standard cameras, and produced noise which made recording dialogue difficult.

In addition, the cameras had short film loads ranging from 30 seconds to two minutes and the cost of the film stock was much greater than standard 35mm film. Nevertheless, Nolan said that he wished that it were possible to shoot the entire film in IMAX: "if you could take an IMAX camera to Mount Everest or outer space, you could use it in a feature movie."

In addition, Nolan chose to edit some of the IMAX sequences using the original camera negative, which by eliminating generation loss, raised the film resolution of those sequences up to 18 thousand lines.


Warner Bros. chose to film in Chicago for 13 weeks, because Nolan had a "truly remarkable experience" filming part of Batman Begins there. Instead of using the Chicago Board of Trade Building as the location for the headquarters of Wayne Enterprises, as Batman Begins did, The Dark Knight shows Wayne Enterprises as being headquartered in the Richard J. Daley Center.

While filming in Chicago, the film was given the false title Rory's First Kiss to lower the visibility of production, but the local media eventually uncovered the ruse. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times commented on the absurdity of the technique, "Is there a Bat-fan in the world that doesn't know Rory's First Kiss is actually The Dark Knight, which has been filming in Chicago for weeks?"

Production of The Dark Knight in Chicago generated $45 million in the city's economy and created thousands of jobs. For the film's prologue involving the Joker, the crew shot in Chicago from April 18, 2007 to April 24, 2007.


They returned to shoot from June 9, 2007 to early September. Noticeably, unlike Batman Begins, less CGI was used to disguise Chicago. Many recognizable locations were used in the film, like the Sears Tower, Navy Pier, 330 North Wabash, the James R. Thompson Center, Trump International Hotel and Tower, LaSalle Street, The Berghoff, Randolph Street Station, and Hotel 71.

An old Brach's factory was used as Gotham Hospital. The defunct Van Buren Street post office doubles as Gotham National Bank for the opening bank robbery. Several sequences, including one car chase, were shot on the lower level of Wacker Drive. The Marina City towers also appear in the background throughout the movie.

Pinewood Studios, near London, was the primary studio space used for the production. While planning a stunt with the Batmobile in a special effects facility near Chertsey, England in September 2007, technician Conway Wickliffe was killed when his car crashed.




Resources:
IMDB.com, Wikipedia.org
screenmusings.org






COMPLETE STORY & SCREENSHOTS


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Chapter Two: The Dark Knight

The movie begins with a gang of men with clown masks breaking into the bank where the mob has a large portion of their money stashed. It begins with five clowns, each getting a cut of the spoils. They suggest that a sixth member of the gang - nicknamed 'The Joker' - who did the planning, but sat out the robbery, doesn't deserve a cut.


As the robbery goes on, the clowns begin to kill each other in order to get a larger cut, until a school bus crashes through the wall of the bank, killing another clown. A mob bank manager, who was himself shot with an automatic weapon after he tried to take out the clowns with a shotgun, tells the remaining clown that he doesn't know who he is dealing with.


The clown kneels down and tells the banker, "Whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you...stranger..." then removes his mask to reveal that he himself is The Joker. Joker puts a grenade into the banker's mouth and boards the bus, leaving a string attached to the pin. The bus pulls out with all of the bank's cash and the pin pops out. It is just a gas grenade. The Joker joins a long line of school buses leaving the scene as the police arrive.


Gotham is then seen at night with criminals afraid to commit crimes under the watchful sign of the batsignal projected onto the clouds. We see Lt. James Gordon manning the batsignal, waiting for Batman with Det. Anna Ramirez, who asks if he's coming. Gordon explains that it is okay if he is not, hoping that he is busy elsewhere.


Meanwhile, in a parking garage, the Scarecrow is negotiating with the Russian mob members over the sale of some of his fear-inducing drugs. The sale is interrupted when some of Gotham's citizens dressed as Batmen wanna-be's begin shooting at the men. As he gases one of the fake Batmen with his mind-altering drugs from his cuff, the Scarecrow notes that they are not the real Batman, because Batman would never use a gun.


Suddenly the Batmobile/Tumbler crashes through a barricade and Scarecrow notes, "That's more like it!" The Batmobile fires rockets into a nearby office, causing the remaining mobsters to begin to flee. The real Batman arrives on the scene and bends the rifle of one of the wanna-be Batmen before knocking him out.


The Chechen sends his rottweilers to attack the Batmen, and as Batman saves them he takes the dogs out after being badly bitten in the arm. The Scarecrow attempts to flee in a white van but Batman jumps onto the van and begins cutting into the side with his device called the mangler. Scarecrow swerves into a support which sends Batman to the ground.


As Scarecrow gets away down a spiraling passageway, Batman leaps onto the roof of his van, smashing it to a halt. He leaves the fake Batmen and the Scarecrow along with some of the mobsters tied up together for the police to eventually round up.


Gordon arrives at the bank the Joker held up earlier with Ramirez who shows him the Joker's picture from a security camera. Batman arrives to inspect the scene, noting that they have irradiated the drug money to make it easier to trace. When Gordon asks him if the Joker is a threat, Batman informs him that he cannot worry about one man when there is an entire mob to bring down.


The next day, as Bruce Wayne stitches himself up from the dog bite, Alfred offers his concerns, warning Bruce to 'know his limits'. He notices Bruce keeping a close watch on newly appointed district attorney Harvey Dent via some computer screens, as Bruce is trying to decide whether or not Dent can be trusted. Alfred wonders if he is really spying on the relationship that Rachel Dawes has developed with Harvey Dent.


Harvey Dent arrives in court to join Rachel Dawes in prosecuting mobster Salvatore Maroni, the alleged new leader of the Falcone crime family. One of Maroni's men takes the fall in court, and attempts to shoot Dent from the witness stand. The gun doesn't go off and Dent punches the man before he is hauled off to jail. Maroni is eventually set free, to the dismay of Dent.


Dent meets Lt. Gordon, and after a short exchange of words, they both express their distrust for those that are working in each other's offices. Harvey interrogates Gordon over his involvement with the Batman and Harvey tells him he wants to meet him. Gordon requests search warrants for five banks that are believed to be holding the remainder of the mobs money.


Dent agrees to back Gordon's search warrants, forming a tenuous trust with the honest Gordon, who in turn hails Dent as Gotham's "White Knight" while Dent questions Gordon about another nickname they had for him when he was at I.A.D., a nickname Gordon claims to have no knowledge of.


Lucius Fox holds a board meeting at Wayne Enterprises, negotiating a joint venture with Lau, the head of Lau Security Investments, based in Hong Kong. After the meeting with Lau, Wayne expresses his reservations with Lucius Fox about Lau's business operation, apparently illegal based on their profits. After agreeing to cancel the deal, Wayne asks Fox for a new suit. He explains that he needs to be lighter, and faster, in case he runs into any more guard dogs.


That night, Harvey dines out with Rachel. Harvey tells Rachel he had to make a reservation weeks earlier, and even then needed to exercised his influence to get a table at the very fashionable restaurant. Bruce and his date, the prima ballerina for the Russian ballet, encounter Rachel and Harvey. Bruce has them pull a table together so they can dine together, informing Harvey that he owns the restaurant.


At first, Bruce seems jealous and threatened by Harvey, based on the fact that he is dating his own love interest, but Harvey explains how he supports the work of Batman and appreciates his help. Bruce changes his tune and informs Harvey that he intends to throw a massive fund-raiser for him.


Meanwhile, all of the top mob members are having a meeting. Because of their inside sources in the police, they were aware that the banks that their money was stashed in were going to be searched. Lau appears to them on a television monitor from his plane on his way back to Hong Kong.


He informs the mob that all of their money has already been moved to a single secure location, just as Lt. Gordon and company are searching the banks, finding nothing but the irradiated trace money. When the Chechen expresses concern over the man with the clown makeup stealing $68 million from one of their banks, Maroni dismisses him as nothing but a nobody.


The Joker enters in the room, and after killing a hostile mob member's crony by way of a 'magic trick', sits down and talks with the mob about how pathetic they've become since Batman came around. He tells them their one solution is to 'Kill the Batman', and offers to do so for half the mob's money. He warns them about Lau, saying he knows a squealer when he sees one, causing Lau to promptly turn off his monitor.


The mob laughs, and as one of the mobsters, Gambol, rises from his seat and threatens the Joker, the Joker opens his coat, exposing grenades. Gambol tells the Joker that he's putting a price out on his head. The Joker tells the mob that when they plan to take things a little more seriously, give him a call, and presents them with 'his card', a joker playing card. And with that, he exits. But not before warning that Batman will come for Lau.



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