Christopher Nolan Discusses The Joker Interrogation Scene In THE DARK KNIGHT

Talking in-depth about the filming and creative process that went in to the intense Batman/Joker interrogation scene in The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan reveals what did and didn't make it into the final cut and more.

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By Josh Wilding - 12/4/2011
Talking to Hero Complex, Christopher Nolan has spoken in great depth about his favourite scene in The Dark Knight - the atmospheric and brutal showdown between Batman and The Joker in the GCPD interrogation room. Below are just a few select excerpts from Nolan's fascinating chat with Geoff Boucher, but to read the interview in full (where the director comments on how the scene was shot, the motivations of the hero and villain as well as the importance of Commissioner Gordon and much more) be sure to click on the link below.

"To be honest, it’s pretty easy for me. The scene that is so important and so central to me is the interrogation scene between Batman and the Joker in the film. When we were writing the script, that was always one of the central set pieces that we wanted to crack."

"On the set, we shot it fairly early on. It was actually one of the first things that Heath had to do as the Joker. He told me he was actually pretty excited to tear off a big chunk early on, really get one of the Joker’s key scenes up in the first three weeks of a seven-month shoot. He and I both liked the idea of just diving in, as did Christian [Bale, who portrayed Batman]. We had rehearsed the scene a tiny bit. We had just ripped through it a couple of times in pre-production just to get some slight feel of how it was going to work. Neither of them wanted to go too far with it in rehearsal. They had to rehearse some of the fight choreography, but even with that, we tried to keep it loose and improvisational. They wanted to save it all. We were all pretty excited to get on with a big chunk of dialogue and this big intense scene between these two iconic characters. It was quite bizarre to see Batman across the table across from the Joker [laughs]. I’m glad you asked this. You know, I could actually talk about this scene for hours."

"We had a lot of time to shoot it too, because it was so early on. Quite often, as you get behind on other things and you run toward the end of the shoot, things can get very squeezed. But you tend to schedule the first few weeks very generously to give the crew and the actors and myself time to find our feet and find our pace. So we had a couple of days to do it."

"For me creatively, that had been about inverting the expectation. We’ve all seen so many of these dark movie interrogation scenes where somebody is being given the third degree. We just wanted to completely flip that on its head. And have the bright, harsh, bleak light sort show you the Joker’s make-up and its decay. The Batsuit was redesigned for this film. And unlike the suit that we had in “Batman Begins,” it’s capable of really being shown in incredible detail and still hold up to that kind of scrutiny under that bright light. The suit looked much more real and more like a functional thing this time. The whole scene was about showing something real and brutal and getting this real harshness."

"Originally, at the end of that scene, once the Joker reveals his information, Christian dropped him and then, almost as an afterthought, he kicked him in the head as he walked out of the room. We wound up removing that bit. It seemed a little too petulant for Batman in a way. And really, more than that, what it was is that I liked how Christian played it: When he drops the Joker, he has realized the futility of what he’s done. You see it in his eyes. How do you fight someone who thrives on conflict? It’s a very loose end to be left with."


It really is hard to dispute just how brilliant a scene this was. Sound off with your thoughts in the usual place.

*This interview was originally conducted in 2008 but was reposted today by The Los Angeles Times and has not been featured on CBM before now.



By: TwitterButtons.com
Source: Hero Complex
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marvel72 - 12/4/2011, 7:07 AM
the best scene in the dark knight.
Supes17 - 12/4/2011, 7:15 AM
Favorite scene in the film. Making Batman choose between Rachel(his love interest), and Harvey, the man who locked up over 500 mobsters and cleaned the streets without a mask.
You could see how frustrated Batman was when the Joker would just laugh and mock him with each bone-crushing blow to the head. He didn't give a [frick].
like the detective said: "I know the difference between punks who need a little lesson in manners, and the freaks like you who would just enjoy it"
Supes17 - 12/4/2011, 7:30 AM
No I don't think the kick
would have worked. It'd be awesome, but Batman was crealy trying to get to Rachel as fast as he could. He wouldn't go out of his way to go back and kick him. There's no use, Joker didn't care. He was focused on saving Rachel. He didn't even turn to look at Gordon when asked who he was going after
killman1221 - 12/4/2011, 7:31 AM
best scene in a batman movie ever!!!
Supes17 - 12/4/2011, 7:33 AM
Batman: "I have one rule" (don't kill intentionally)
Joker:(clearly knowing what he's referring to) "Oh then that's the rule you'll have to break to know the truth"
Batman: "Which is?"
Joker: "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules, and tonight you're going to break your one rule"
Batman:....."I'm considering it"
Supes17 - 12/4/2011, 7:36 AM
If were interrogating and beating the shit out of a criminal and he told me my gf was strapped to a bomb with minutes to live, I'd drop the bitch and [frick]ing RUN to my vehicle
TheDetectiveComicRises - 12/4/2011, 7:37 AM
One of the gr8test scenes in movie history period, made me feel like I was standing right outside of the room with Gordon & the rest everytime I watch it! my favorite CMB of all time 2 date, great job Nolan & two of the greatest actors of our generation Bale & Ledger :)
phoe1 - 12/4/2011, 7:38 AM
anyone kno if an audio recording of this exists and is available?
Supes17 - 12/4/2011, 7:39 AM
@Intruder: yeah I would have kicked his face in as soon as I dropped him lmao. But it says that Bale turned to leave, and THEn came back to kick him. My ass would have been in the batpod by then lol
TheDetectiveComicRises - 12/4/2011, 7:39 AM
that is my favorite CBM of all time 2 date awwww I miss the edit button lol!
Supes17 - 12/4/2011, 7:41 AM

NerdyGeek - 12/4/2011, 7:43 AM
I just watched TDK again last knight(see what I did there) and I noticed how truly special that scene is. Greatest CBM Scene and Film ever!
TheDpool - 12/4/2011, 7:45 AM
had the urge to watch the dark knight a few nights ago always loved this scene but it makes you sad about the loss of ledger if he was still with us i'm pretty sure after his preformance the idea of a joker solo movie would have been big plus his career would have gone sky high.
TheDpool - 12/4/2011, 7:47 AM
Damb a joker solo movie starring Ledger as the joker as long as it followed his preformance in the dark knight would have been EPIC could have been a prequel to the joker
Bread - 12/4/2011, 7:50 AM
@supes17 lol
antonio - 12/4/2011, 7:50 AM
Legendary scene. Probably the best scene ever in a Batman film(so far).

P.S. this story is 3 years old/
NerdyGeek - 12/4/2011, 7:53 AM


Steping - 12/4/2011, 7:55 AM
Epic scene
scambune - 12/4/2011, 7:56 AM
gotta say that in terms of the script, the joker uses the exact ploy the green goblin pitches to spidey in spiderman 1, the whole "you're a freak" and "but when they don't need you..." still, great acting by heath, no doubt
MrReese - 12/4/2011, 7:56 AM
Incredible [frick]in scene

@TheIrishAvenger LMAO!!
Ghostt - 12/4/2011, 8:01 AM
how did Nolan know to cast Heath Ledger? what an odd choice for Joker, but perfect.

great scene; just watched the whole movie again. Almost a perfect movie, except for a few scenes made awkward due to Christian Bale's raspy voice and weird lisp.
Supes17 - 12/4/2011, 8:01 AM
@Irish: LMFAO. I have the one with the Shumacher dvds lol
Supes17 - 12/4/2011, 8:13 AM
"Tonight you are gonna break your one rule"
"KILLING is making a Choice."
"You have to choose between one life or the other. Your friend the district attorney, or his flushing bride to be!"

Joker made Batman break his one rule. On Rachel o_O
Gnyah123 - 12/4/2011, 8:23 AM
i like how he switched it up
he went after rachel but instead it was dent who was there
GUNSMITH - 12/4/2011, 8:36 AM
WHEN I SEE WHAT NOLAN DID WITH THE LAST TWO FILMS IT MAKES ME HOPE TO SIT 3 HOURS LONG AND JUST SOAK INTO A GOOD STORY...FREALS...

CraptainAmerica - 12/4/2011, 8:45 AM
I watch TDK quite regularly. I know some people hate the bandwagon of loving Nolans Batman but when you watch the extras you realise the real passion, intensity, commitment & precision he (and all who worked on it) has put into these movies. The more I watch TDK the more I realise I love it, not because it's a superhero movie but, because it's pure cinematic craftsmanship at its best.

The only thing I hate about watching the movie is knowing that Heath Ledger's Joker won't be making an appearance in the finale of Wayne's story. He would have, no doubt, been an integral part to Banes (possible) dictatorship of Gotham in TDKR. It's a crying shame and no doubt Nolan was just as gutted to lose a great talent and great performance.

Watching a scene like this makes it all that more bittersweet
antonio - 12/4/2011, 8:46 AM
Another meme
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqmg6xMyb11qefn6co1_500.jpg
MercMatt - 12/4/2011, 8:47 AM
@GUNSMITH: That, aolong with the entire interragoation scene, is my favorite part of TDK. Shoes Joker's sadistic genious. Bravo, Ledger.
Jolt17 - 12/4/2011, 8:48 AM
supes17TheIrishAvenger Brilliant. :D
Squaremaster316 - 12/4/2011, 9:00 AM
100% flawless in every meaning of the word.
marvel72 - 12/4/2011, 9:01 AM
this is the best batman scene ever!

TheBatman938865 - 12/4/2011, 9:04 AM
omg...i loved that he talked about this scene...because when i was watching this in theaters..i looked at my sis and brother and said this is my all time favorite scene of cinema.....it was all i wished for in a Batman movie...especially reading Long Halloween and Dark Victory to my brother as bed time stories lol
GUNSMITH - 12/4/2011, 9:05 AM
JUST WISH THE BLUE RAY HAD WAY MORE FEATURES..APPLYING THE JOKER MAKE UP, AN WHAT NOT
antonio - 12/4/2011, 9:13 AM
@Gunsmith Nolan is very 'mum' about his ideas, hence why they're not as many features on his DVD's and Bluray's.
JakeMurdock89 - 12/4/2011, 9:16 AM
I would pay to see all of heaths scenes/ takes that wer cut from the movie
Daniellantern - 12/4/2011, 9:23 AM
One of my favorite scene from TDK. Very brilliant! Just like at the Killing Joke book.
PaulRom - 12/4/2011, 9:35 AM
Favorite scene from the movie. Showed how much of a mastermind Joker was.
antonio - 12/4/2011, 9:50 AM
@N Dialogue scenes in IMAX will be very loud and annoying.
DetBullock - 12/4/2011, 9:52 AM
@N: Because Imax cameras are too big for a small set and too noisy for dialog heavy scenes and Nolan doesn't like to redub dialogs in postproduction when he can avoid it.
johnnymarr - 12/4/2011, 9:58 AM
Nolan+Bale+Ledger+Oldman = AWESOMENESS ;)
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