FilmFocus.co.uk (August 4th, 2006)

BALE’S TAKE ON THE DARK KNIGHT

It’s become so overdone now that we might be getting bored if only it weren’t such a treat; Christian Bale delivers another stunning performance in another five-star production when Harsh Times arrives in UK cinemas on August 8th.

And so it was that we saw ourselves chatting excitedly with Bale himself as part of a big interview feature which’ll be on the site next week. But we couldn’t keep this part quiet, much as we couldn’t stop ourselves from asking the questions. With the announcement this week that the title of Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins sequel would be The Dark Knight and with the even more exciting announcement that Heath “He’s So Hot Right Now” Ledger would be tackling the Joker, we just had to get Bale’s take on events.

“I just love that title,” Bale told FilmFocus, “You know, nothing’s written in stone yet, but I like, very much, that it doesn’t have ‘Batman’ written in the title. This take on Batman of mine and Chris’ is very different from any of the others and everything else always had Batman in the title. I think this is kind-of distancing it even further and saying, ‘Hey, this is a whole different creature from what has come before.'”

Much as Ledger is a wildly different choice for the Joker; in Tim Burton’s 1989 version the role went to The Smile himself, Jack Nicholson. “Absolutely,” Bale told us, “Heath is very much into what Chris had done with the first one and he’s very passionate about the role. And he’s a really good actor so we’re going to see something very special from him.”

And what of the status of the project at the moment? Can Bale drop any hints? “You know what, you’re going to get people coming out and shooting you in the head any second if you keep asking anymore Batman questions,” Bale joked. Or, at least, we hope he did. “I’m learning about it right now; Chris and I have only just finished working on The Prestige together and I have another project before we start on Batman. I know I’m in very good hands and Chris is keeping me informed about what’s going on. But more than that and I’ll be whisked away in a loony van, you know, off to Arkham Asylum!”

Bale also told us that his partnership with Nolan, which’ll have extended to three features by the time The Dark Knight hits cinemas, is based on a solid working relationship. “As long as it’s a good working relationship,” he told us, “that’s all that matters. But Chris is the director I’ve worked with more than anyone else and what’s nice, when you do come to understand each other, is you do get this common language so you really don’t have to speak a whole lot; often too much talking just kind-of ruins everything. And it’s nice when you know the way someone works anyway and you don’t have to break that ice at all. It was a very lucky thing for me when I met Chris and became part of his circle of filmmaking.”

We’ll have our review of Harsh Times with you come Monday and our extended interview with Bale, on Harsh Times, Werner Herzog and Bob Dylan, will be on the site later next week.

By Joe Utichi.