Monday, January 21, 2008

The Dark Knight Villains Revealed

Some exciting news on the upcoming The Dark Knight broke last week and I’ve been really itching to blog about it. For those not interested in knowing some minor spoilers (characters appearing in the movie) for next summer’s Batman Begins sequel, stop reading today’s post immediately.

Heath Ledger as The Joker
Last week the Los Angeles Times published a really exciting article on the villains popping up in 2008’s The Dark Knight. (link) The secretive writer/director of the movie, Christopher Nolan, has been very tight lipped on what characters will be showing up and even what characters certain actors will be playing in the movie. As most are aware Heath Ledger is playing The Joker, but what most don’t know, according to the Nolan quote given to the LA Times, is that “The Joker, he sort of cuts through the film -- he's got no story arc, he's just a force of nature tearing through. Heath has given an amazing performance in the role, it's really extraordinary." (link)

Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent
Two-FaceIn fact, the real focus of the story is Aaron Eckhart’s (Thank You For Smoking, No Reservations) character Harvey Dent. Dent is a very tragic figure in the Batman mythology. As a former District Attorney and ally to Batman, Dent is horribly disfigured when a vile of acid is dumped on half of his face while conducting a trial. The incident leaves Dent with a dual personality and he subsequently adopts the alter-ego of Two-Face, becoming one of Batman’s biggest adversaries. The character’s trademark is choosing to do good or evil based upon the flipping of a coin.

Two-FaceThe character of Harvey Dent has showed up in the modern day Batman movies twice previously, once portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in 1989’s Batman and once by Tommy Lee Jones in 1995’s horrible Batman Forever. According to Nolan, "Harvey Dent is a tragic figure, and his story is the backbone of this film.” (link) While it’s been known for many months now that Eckhart would be playing Dent in The Dark Knight, there had been rumors that his role, similarly to Billy Dee Williams, would only be that of Harvey Dent. According to this report though, it can be confirmed that at some point in the movie Eckhart will make the transformation into feared villain Two-Face. This is pretty exciting news for me as the only other live incarnation of this great villain was in Batman Forever and Jones’ portrayal of this twisted psycho was played pretty much just for laughs. Then again all of Batman Forever was played for humor so Jones can’t really be faulted for his performance. But with Nolan’s realistic vision, I am expecting a much more faithful adaptation of this long time Batman villain.

Cillian Murphy as The ScarecrowAnother rumor that has been circulating for months is that Cillian Murphy, who played Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow in Batman Begins, was seen on The Dark Knight set. The LA Times article finally confirms that Murphy will be reprising his role as the Scarecrow. Cillian was really great in his portrayal of the unhinged psychiatrist and I’m glad to hear he’ll be returning to the role he originated on the big screen, even if it’s just in a limited cameo.

Batman on the new Batpod
The last line in the article really puts any fears and reservations I have about the upcoming movie at ease and pushes the memory of Batman Begins to the deepest recesses of my mind. The article states, “Don't expect a lot laughs in this summer's return to the cave. ‘It's a dark and complex story,’ Nolan said, ‘and the villains are dark and complex as well.’" Just as they should be! Sounds like music to my ears.
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