Aidan Gillen On The Extreme Secrecy Of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES And Shooting The Opening Scene

Aidan Gillen, probably more recognizable to most Americans as Littlefinger on HBO's Game of Thrones discusses what is was like being offered a role in Christopher Nolan's final Batman film and the memorable opening scene with Bane.

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By Mark Julian - 1/3/2013


It may have escaped the attention of a small few that the CIA Agent in the opening scene of The Dark Knight Rises was played by Aidan Gillen, who also portrays Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish on HBO's Game of Thrones. Below, the actor discusses the insane secrecy requirements for the role and what it was like filming that memorable opening scene.

On how he was approached for the role.
Gillen: Yeah it was all very clandestine. When I was offered the role the missive I got was, “There’s this one part, it’s one scene…” I said, “Eh, is that it?” And they said, “Yes. That’s it. It’ll be a good scene, but you don’t get the pages unless you say you’re going to do it.” So I said yes and a couple of days later seven red pages which arrived by FedEx in New York, where I was.

I didn’t actually meet with or speak to Chris Nolan until Day One on the set. I had a few questions, naturally, about how much I was supposed to know about Bane ¬in the story — whether we were actually looking for him or was this just a fortuitous, or rather not very fortuitous encounter, on my part, that is. I got some answers, but didn’t ask about anything that didn’t relate to the scene we were shooting, as at this point I also knew it would be the opening scene and anything beyond this in story terms wasn’t really relevant. As the Bane character has been around a while, I had the basic Bane knowledge — ie he’s big and he’s strong.


On the plane scene.
Gillen: I was in that rig for a day or two. The rig itself did just about as much as you could possibly expect to replicate the action of an out-of-control plane without actually being in one, and you had to watch out for real, cos it was still pretty high up, with an open door, and you’re rolling around with stuff flying all over the place when it gets going. All controlled, sure, but you had to watch it. Wind machines blowing broken glass in several directions, people falling past, a massive IMAX camera that makes a sound not unlike a wind machine itself…

It was cool to see the dynamic between Nolan and Wally Pfister. I hadn’t reckoned on it being such a level partnership. Wally is like something from a John Ford or Howard Hawkes set, if not those actual guys themselves. Very old-school feel, super-profane, all in a good way. And despite it being such a massive set-up, they were shooting in what seemed a very loose and free manner.

I felt at home getting shunted around up there, firing my gun and hanging guys out the door. And thinking, “Shit — this only lasts until Wednesday.”

On Bane.
Gillen: We were just getting on with it. I tend to keep to myself in between takes when working on anything, and in this case you really did have to listen out so you were on-side with what was going to be happening next. He had the mask on all the time and it was very noisy, like I said, with the hydraulics, wind machines and camera, so it was really a quite technical exercise, like me trying to find timings so I’d know whose turn it was to talk. He’d be arriving with a sack over his head, so the long-lensers in the bushes couldn’t get any shots of the mask, which was amusing!

In short, Gillen signed on for a role he knew absolutely nothing about. But a director like Christopher Nolan and a franchise like Batman understandably makes some strange and interesting demands on its cast.



The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan and the story with David S. Goyer. Featuring the DC Comics character Batman, the film is the final installment in Nolan's Batman film trilogy, and it is the sequel to Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). Christian Bale reprises the lead role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, with a returning cast of his allies: Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. The film introduces the characters of Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a cunning cat burglar in search of a way to escape her past, and Bane (Tom Hardy), a militant revolutionary out to destroy Gotham City. The film deals with a Batman who has retired, but is drawn back into action by new threats to the city.

The Dark Knight Rises premiered in New York City on July 16, 2012. The film was released in Australia and New Zealand on July 19, 2012, and in North America and the United Kingdom on July 20, 2012. It received positive reviews and grossed over $1.081 billion worldwide. The Dark Knight Rises is currently the 7th highest-grossing film of all time, the second highest-grossing film of 2012, and the second highest-grossing superhero film of all time.


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Source: Empire
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37 Comments
marvel72 - 1/3/2013, 3:48 PM
one of the good scenes from the dark knight rises.
AUSSYACE - 1/3/2013, 3:58 PM
The whole opening scene was just Brilliant with Bane and I thought it came close to topping the Joker opening but I still have to give the Bank Robbery scene with Joker as far more exhilirating that just blew me away while also being the one scene I can watch over and over and never get bored of...

DEATHbyEXILE - 1/3/2013, 4:09 PM
thewonderer - 1/3/2013, 4:11 PM
One of the many fantastic scenes from TDKR
RorMachine - 1/3/2013, 4:25 PM
Shamo - 1/3/2013, 4:26 PM
didn't much care for this scene in comparison to Nolan's other opening sequences. Gillen did his thing though, no hate there.
marvel72 - 1/3/2013, 4:38 PM
the best scenes in the dark knight rises can be counted on one hand.

in no particular order

1.plane opening
2.the wall st chase
3.first fight between batman & bane
4.final scene,the bat flying around gotham & the batpod (the bat flying out to sea & selina killing bane are not included)
5.alfred crying at grave
GodzillaKart - 1/3/2013, 4:38 PM
That opening scene was fantastic. But I agree that the opening scene in TDK was even better.

ManofSteel23 - 1/3/2013, 4:39 PM
didnt even know that was him without the tash
BIGBMH - 1/3/2013, 4:42 PM
wow. didn't recognize him.
PeterParkerofGotham62 - 1/3/2013, 4:53 PM
Have to agree with @AUSSYACE, TDKR opening scene was excellent, but TDKR still has one of the best opening scenes out of the 3 films
PeterParkerofGotham62 - 1/3/2013, 4:55 PM
*TDK
MrEko - 1/3/2013, 5:12 PM
Mayor Carcetti ;)

TDKR had a ton of awesome cameos in it.
Lt Dangle - Reno 911 (Thomas Lennon),
Teal'c - Stargate Atlantis (Christopher Judge) &
Buddy Colvin - The Wire (Robert Wisdom) were my favorites.
Jollem - 1/3/2013, 5:15 PM
thewonderer - 1/3/2013, 5:16 PM
"1.plane opening
2.the wall st chase
3.first fight between batman & bane
4.final scene,the bat flying around gotham & the batpod (the bat flying out to sea & selina killing bane are not included)
5.alfred crying at grave"

How do you forget the first fight between Bane and Batman.

1. Plane Opening
2. Wall Street Chase
3. Catwoman and Batman team up against Banes team and have their moment.
4. Bruce living life in poverty for the first time in his life.
5. Batman and Catwoman in the sewer being all stealthy.
6. Batman VS. Bane round 1!
7. Bruce learning to find himself in the prison.
8. Banes fantastic speeches in Gotham.
9. Blake and Gordon teaming up to make a plan.
10. Bruce escaping the pit
11. Batman finding Gordon and lighting the symbol to inspire the city.
12. Batman saving Blake and taking out his thugs teaching him the way of the bat in the process.
13. Batman Vs. Bane Round 2!
14. Gordon trying to find the bomb to disarm.
15. Blakes brave stand off towards corrupt cops
16. Batman learning about the truth of Talia.
17. Batman aerial chase towards Talia
18. Batmans heartfelt Gordon recognition
19. Batman sacrificing himself, while his loved ones realize whats happen.
20. The entire ending, with Gordon, Lucius, and Blake all having their respective realizations of the future of Wayne and the Bat.
21. Bruce finally getting the happiness his parents wanted for him all along and securing the future of Gotham in the process.
22. Blake becoming the Batman!
marvel72 - 1/3/2013, 5:17 PM
@ blackandyellow

you're right i do but i don't think its on every article but on quite a few.

it could be my thing,you know grif = shit show or shit movie,teabag = tits,gunsmith = writes with caps lock on mine could be lists. :D
marvel72 - 1/3/2013, 5:21 PM
@ thewonderer

i didn't forget the first fight between batman & bane(when he broke him).

that's all i got from the movie if you got more out of it well that's money well spent by you.
Asterisk - 1/3/2013, 5:27 PM
That guy was the worst part of the movie.

Still my favorite movie of the year, but still, YEESH! He was horrible!
StarkAnthony - 1/3/2013, 5:33 PM
His acting in that scene, regardless of his other work, I found to be really awful
weareanydaynow - 1/3/2013, 5:39 PM
@ thewonderer I agree with you list, love the film, but I also feel like your list is basically the complete DVD scene selection menu. But I mean that in the best way possible ha
jessepostal - 1/3/2013, 5:41 PM
scene was great, this guy was a tool
PapaMidnite - 1/3/2013, 6:04 PM
Absolutely amazing scene! The only thing i can't forgive is: they shouldn't have "fixed" Bane's voice. The voice of the prologue was perfectly fine IMO.
OverlyManlyMan - 1/3/2013, 6:18 PM
The scene was awesome, but that dubbed over-voice was laughable
CrimsonDynamo - 1/3/2013, 6:49 PM
He provided us with some of the most horrific acting ever committed to film, leave alone imax film, in the history of comic book movies. This would have been a total reshoot if it wasn't so expensive to do so.
pud333 - 1/3/2013, 6:55 PM
That was an amazing scene. One of the best opening scenes in any movie. It totally got me pumped for the rest of the film.
Supes17 - 1/3/2013, 6:57 PM
I'd like to see a list of why you choose to make lists on every article, @marvel72 :P
nowtheresaBATman - 1/3/2013, 7:51 PM
Aiden's acting in GoT is stellar but his acting in TDKR sucked. The overall awesomeness of the plane scene makes up for it though.

nowtheresaBATman - 1/3/2013, 7:57 PM
@ElChavo damn right it was! haha

@thewonderer
Re:#22 I hate the idea of Blake becoming Batman. The Bat isn't his totem. It's Bruce Wayne's :)

Maximus101 - 1/3/2013, 8:00 PM
@marvel72 we get it man your a marvel fanboy that did not like the movie. You do not need to keep coming into every batman article telling everyone what we already know.
Supes17 - 1/3/2013, 8:33 PM
Yo come on now... We're all getting along just fine..
mgeoff88 - 1/3/2013, 8:43 PM
It's funny, but whenever I see Aidan Gillen, I always think of him as the villain from Shanghai Knights.

His career has really taken off, which is awesome!

@Maximus101 He's stating his opinion. He's allowed to post in whatever article he wants. And he even listed his favorite scenes from TDKR.
TheDetectiveComicRises - 1/3/2013, 10:08 PM
Not only one of the best scenes in TDKR or a Batman movie but it is also one of the best scenes in cinema ever. I loved the other scenes like:

1)Batman's intro
2)Blake leaving Wayne Manor & Bruce & Alfred talking *when the score playing it was letting you know Bruce is getting back in the game*
3)First look at the Batcave & Bruce utilizing his detective skills.
2)Bruce Rising out of the Pit
3)Catwoman taking Batman to Bane *Batman and Catwoman are so iconic even when they were walking in dark everyone in film audience knew who there were*
4)The Bat and Banes fight
5)Bruce & Blake riding in police car *headnod to Batman & Robin*
6) Wall street fight *best fight scene since "Enter the Dragon" with thousands of people*
7)Flying the Bat
8)The ending when Bruce nodded his head to Alfred in return *letting him know that he is at peace & all is forgivin as well as saying thank you to the fans for our support & acknowledging Bale has been our Batman/Bruce Wayne for almost a decade.*

There is much more I like but not enough time to cover all but Great movie.

Batman Begins=Awesome
The Dark Knight=Phenomenal
The Dark Knight Rises=EPIC

The Dark Knight Trilogy=A Monumental Achievement to the Legacy of The Dark Avenger, The Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight...The Batman :)


pepe - 1/3/2013, 10:43 PM
Most boring movie of 2012... True story
bbarber2323 - 1/4/2013, 12:55 AM
Maximus...ur talking smack to Marvel72 while youre the biggest dick riding Nolan fan boy here. How entertaining.
Nomis1800 - 1/4/2013, 3:21 AM
Wonderful film, absolutely stunning opening! I hope Nolan will direct a Bond film one day and shoot as much as he possibly can in IMAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously hoping WB chooses to shoot JLA partially with IMAX too!!!!!!
Bread - 1/4/2013, 4:13 AM
Didn't like this movie that much, but the opening scene was really good
KidGoku - 1/4/2013, 8:07 PM
Honestly I bought TDKR on Blu Ray about a week ago and I've watched at least 5 times and haven't gotten bored with it. Which is completely weird, it's as if Nolan made the films like:

Batman Begins: great origin story
The Dark Knight: an amazing story/film all together
The Dark Knight Rises: great story and film, not as great as TDK, but still an amazing film to watch that makes the whole experience complete

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