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.
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.”
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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