Christopher Nolan, 'The Dark Knight'
For Christopher Nolan, choosing the movie's essential moment was easy. He quickly noted the gripping interrogation between Batman and the Joker, which (with no special effects and only bare-bones lighting) would become "the fulcrum on which the whole movie turns."
"When we were writing the script, that was always one of the central set pieces that we wanted to crack. It was actually one of the first things that Heath [Ledger] 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 from the Joker.
"It was a great set built into a location. It had all of the advantages of feeling that we were in a real place. Nathan Crowley, the production designer, built these great mirrors and this long, tiled room that I really loved the look of; it had the feeling almost of an abattoir or something. That all fed into the brutality of the scene. We wanted to be very edgy, very brutal. We wanted it to be the point at which Batman is truly tested by the Joker and you see that the Joker is truly capable of getting under everybody's skin. I'm realizing this now about that scene. . . . the synthesis of all the different elements that I'm most interested in within filmmaking all come in that scene."
-- Geoff Boucher
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