Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy still holds up as one of the best superhero movie franchises in history. It began with small beginnings as Nolan was just getting his footing with Batman Begins. A few years later Nolan's crowning achievement came out known as The Dark Knight in which Heath Ledger shocked audiences with his portrayal of the Joker. For the final movie in the trilogy, Nolan had to bring the big guns in terms of a villain and their performance to follow up the likes of Heath Ledger. For this Christopher Nolan best thought to continue the saga with another Batman villain known as Bane.
Bane is one of Batman's most known enemies and is also one of the strongest. Therefore Christopher Nolan needed to find someone that was perfect to play the villainous powerhouse known as Bane. Bane in the comics is portrayed as a large superhuman standing feet above Batman and the rest. Obviously, this wasn't possible for the big screen so Christopher Nolan sought after someone who could bulk up and who could play the part. This is where he crossed paths with Tom Hardy. Tom Hardy fit the bill perfectly and it wasn't long before Christopher Nolan signed Hardy onto the project.
What followed was larger than life superhero film that many fans saw as the best in the trilogy. Others called the film too unbelievable and too ambitious to fit into the trilogy. No matter your opinion on the film it's no secret that Tom Hardy's Bane won't soon be forgotten. It is almost six years later and you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't do a solid Bane impression once a week.
20 Bringing Things Full Circle
All of Christopher Nolan's Batman films can stand on their own as independent superhero films, and in many people's opinion, this would make them better films. However, Christopher Nolan realizes that fans will connect these films together and Nolan enjoys putting the occasional easter egg referencing another film in the future or past. Therefore when Nolan was creating The Dark Knight Rises he wanted the story to line up with his Batman story so far. He stated during the filming of Dark Knight Rises Nolan wanted to keep any references to Heath Ledger's Joker out of the film out of respect for him since his recent passing.
Therefore Nolan was stuck with trying to connect The Dark Knight Rises plot to the plot of Batman Begins. This is where the character of Talia Al Ghul and The League of Shadows come into play. Bane needed an origin story and Nolan didn't want it to take up too much of the film. Therefore Bane's origin unfolds as the plot does and we find out that Bane was part of the league of shadows. This explains his connection to Talia and his incredible knowledge of martial arts he uses against Batman several times during the film.
19 Training Was Almost Too Much For Tom Hardy
Many people were shocked when Tom Hardy was chosen to play Bane. Mainly because of his body mass. Tom Hardy isn't exactly small or weak but Bane is just that buff. For Tom Hardy to play Bane he needed to put on some serious weight. In preparing for his role as Bane Tom Hardy put on 30 pounds of pure muscle in a very short amount of time. This is a lot for anyone in Hollywood but especially for the aging Tom Hardy. Tom isn't a young actor anymore and this workout showed this.
The aftermath of Tom Hardy's extreme exercise regimen hurt him more after filming was done more than it did during. Tom Hardy explained feeling discomfort in a lot of his joints and strange pains he hadn't felt before playing Bane. He expressed pain in doing simple activities such as picking up his children. Since the time of filming The Dark Knight Rises Tom Hardy hasn't taken on super physical roles. Not any that match the pure pain that was playing Bane. It's not known if Tom Hardy has healed from his performance or if he is still in pain from playing Bane but it's obvious he isn't in a rush to pick the character back up.
18 Keeping It PG-13
Christopher Nolan went into the Batman trilogy with the notion to keep them as realistic as possible. He wanted to do achieve this by recreating the characters from the comics into something more relatable to the everyday human being. While he had good intentions the realism in many people's eyes fell apart at the "twist" ending. However, Nolan stuck to his word about recreating these savage comic book characters into something more realistic. This started with Bane and his story of breaking Batman's back.
This is where Nolan had to choose fight or flight with this scene. The encounter between Bane and Batman is so iconic in the comics that Nolan thought it wrong not to include it in a film with Bane on the big screen. So when it came time to portray this gory scene in the film Nolan decided to keep the gore to a minimum. The scene took place in a dark setting and he used the combination of great camera angles and most importantly sound to get his point across. Rather than just censoring the scene itself Nolan discovered a type of filmmaking that doesn't focus on the subject directly but still gets the message across. Audiences still agree that the fight was one of the most brutal Batman faced in the trilogy.
17 The Perfect Casting
Nolan is very particular when it comes to many aspects of his movies, just like any great director should be. This was no exception when it came to choosing who would fill the boots of the juggernaut Bane. After some consideration about choosing different actors, Nolan kept coming back to the idea of asking Tom Hardy. Nolan's main inspiration behind this was Hardy's role as Charles Bronson in the movie Bronson. In the film, Tom Hardy completely transforms himself to play the character of Charles Bronson a fighter who was imprisoned. During this imprisonment, Bronson would wear a mask that would cover his mouth. Nolan picked up on this small detail and realized how good Tom Hardy was at conveying emotion even though his mouth was covered.
It was a done deal, Nolan needed someone who could convey comic book like emotions even though their face was rigged to only show their eyes. Tom Hardy was a perfect choice. Nolan told Tom Hardy during the process of filming to be outrageous as he wants with his facial expressions. This added character to the masked villain. Rather than just being a faceless villain Tom Hardy added personality to Bane. Had it been another actor Bane would likely be very forgettable.
16 Getting Lost In The Crowd
The ending of The Dark Knight Rises may go down as one of the most epic battles in superhero history. On one side of Gotham you have, it's citizens that include the police force and pedestrians who want to take back their city. This side is led by Batman. On the other side, you have Bane's mercenaries led by Bane himself. The all-out Braveheart nature of the scene put a smile on many people's faces. However, during filming, it was less smiling and more confusion for one Tom Hardy.
During the filming of this gigantic scene, Tom Hardy was tasked with a specific route to find Batman. This route included Tom Hardy fighting a few cops along the way until he found the Bat. However, Tom Hardy quickly got confused during several takes of the scene and would start fighting the wrong police officers leading him up to 20 feet away from Batman. Hardy explained that it was because all of the officers were wearing similar outfits. During a few scenes after fighting a few cops, Tom Hardy would realize he's not near Batman and start yelling out for him. This was by far one of the hardest scenes to get right but rightfully so due to its pure magnitude.
15 Hardy Is A Huge Fan Of The Bat
Tom Hardy was more than willing to take on the role of Bane mostly because as a kid growing up he was a huge fan of Batman and his comic books. While he wouldn't be aiding Batman in the film Tom Hardy still wanted to have a chance of being in the DC universe alongside the caped crusader. The fact that he would be the one to literally cripple the Batman it made it a bit harder for Hardy to go through with it. However, after some time he used this as a driving factor to better his role. He trained harder and studies more on the character of Bane.
It's not every day that you get to meet your childhood hero but it is even more rare to fight them. Tom Hardy wanted to be the best Bane he could be so he wouldn't disappoint fans and everyone around the film and most importantly his hero Batman. The drive it took to toss his childhood nostalgia aside and fight Batman must have taken a lot out of Hardy not to mention his workout routine either. We hope that Tom Hardy feels fulfilled with his performance against Batman, his childhood hero.
14 Classically Redesigned
When considering making a superhero film it's important to consider the source material. Today more and more directors are simply rewriting the comic book origin story to better fit the big screen but Christopher Nolan wanted to make the story of Batman his own. Coming into The Dark Knight Rises this proved to be very difficult. He didn't want to include anything that would upset fans but change it just enough to where it would work in the context of the universe and something that fans can enjoy. One of these things was the character, Bane.
Christopher Nolan obviously was considering the villain of Bane from the start but with that, he came into the problem of Bane's main advantage his venom. In the comics, Bane had a special venom that would course through his canes and it would make him stronger and stronger the more venom he's using. Bane is a large character in the comic books and could get several feet taller than any normal human. This would be a problem for Nolan because he didn't want to make Bane completely CG. Therefore he decided to keep the venom out and it was met with some distress but overall was received well. Another change to the character was his mask. The mask went through several iterations before deciding on the voice changing gas mask that we know today.
13 Tom Hardy Wore Heels!?
Tom Hardy isn't a very tall actor only reaching heights of 5'9. Therefore standing next to most cast members Tom Hardy was a bit shorter than most. Especially when Tom Hardy stood up next to Christian Bale. Tom Hardy is so short that Christopher Nolan saw it as a problem when portraying Bane. As mentioned before in the comics Bane is much larger than Batman and most people in the DC universe. Instead of simply using CGI legs and camera tricks Nolan decided to give Tom Hardy heels when filming. Not exactly the traditional heels but lifts nonetheless.
Nolan also included the use of some camera tricks when Bane wasn't standing next to Batman. For example in scenes where Bane is the only one on screen Nolan would use camera angles that would look upon Tom Hardy to give the illusion that he is tall and larger than life. This is also a tactic to make the audience feel smaller and the villain more villainous. This tactic isn't used much in movies today as many directors will either just recast or find a way to CGI their way out of visual issues. Nolan can be congratulated on this feat alone.
12 Bane Wasn't Originally Going To Be The Villain
Christopher Nolan took the liberty to choose the different villains that would be in his Batman trilogy. In the first film, he focused on the origin of Batman, therefore, making Ra's Al Ghul his mentor and the overall villain of the film. In the second one, Nolan went with a more sinister villain known as the Joker. Heath Ledger delivered such a stunning performance that Christopher Nolan wanted to recruit him for another film. However, sadly Heat Ledger passed before Nolan even began writing the third film in the trilogy. Therefore, Nolan had to start looking and planning for another villain.
This is when he came across the idea for Bane and the idea for casting Tom Hardy. We believe the original idea for The Dark Knight Rises was very different than the film we know today. Sadly Christopher Nolan never wrote it down and it will never be made into a film. We could only imagine the type of film that would come from Heath Ledger if he got back into the makeup one more time. The timeline of the films suggests that Joker was simply put into prison at the end of The Dark Knight so it was likely that Nolan was planning on bringing the Joker back.
11 Bane Brought The Bat Out During The Day
Throughout the Dark Knight trilogy, it's very rare that you see Batman in the light of day. The trilogy itself is a very dark group of movies symbolizing the Batman as a character. Most scenes either take place in the nighttime or in dark places like caves and alleyways. The only real time the film takes a lighter side is when Bruce Wayne is seen. Batman was never once seen in a daytime scene in any of the films. That is until The Dark Knight Rises.
Christopher Nolan did this to add to the symbolism of the movie as discussed earlier. He wanted Bane to be the person who would bring the darkness of Gotham City to the surface and this includes Batman himself. During the final fight scene in Gotham City Bane can be seen waiting for Batman to come to fight him. Batman obliges as he has no other choice and this is the first fight scene, and the first scene overall that the Bat was seen outside in the daylight. The colors of the bat-suit along with Bane's outfit made for an amazing visual fight scene. Many people didn't notice that this was the first time Batman was brought to the surface in the trilogy and many have the "Oh" moment when they find out. Clever symbolism from Nolan once again.
10 How Tom Hardy Saw The Character Bane
Tom Hardy wanted to embody the character of Bane perfectly. Therefore when preparing for the role he separated himself from the character and looked at him as a whole. What he saw was an absolute savage of a villain. He wanted to embody the madman known as Bane and completely destroy the Batman in the process. In doing this Tom Hardy had to become terrifying as Bane and he wanted to come across as something to fear. He felt that this was the only way the character would work on the big screen.
This benefited the film in several ways including Christopher Nolan's symbolism. As mentioned before Bane is mostly seen in the underground parts of Gotham City and he is displayed as a character who doesn't show his face much until the end of the film. He builds up his character until the climax of the film where Bane breaks Batman's back. This added real fear into the audience to Bane's character. Many believe this is what Tom Hardy wanted to portray in Bane the most. He wanted to make the character seem unstoppable and for the most part (up until the end) it seemed like Bane might be.
9 Bane's Voice Was Redone
When The Dark Knight Rises portrayal of Bane is brought up in conversation you'll be hard-pressed to find someone not doing an impression of him. Many audiences are completely divided on their opinion of Bane's voice. Some absolutely despise it and feel like it made the character not serious at all. Others didn't find too much wrong with his voice and felt it fit the character nicely. Once the first trailer dropped fans were torn at the sound of Bane's voice. The trailer featured an early cut of Bane's voice which didn't resemble the final product.
Many people found this voice awful because they couldn't understand it. Many people required subtitles to even be able to understand the dialogue. After this backlash, Christopher Nolan decided that it would be best to make Bane's voice a bit more legible. After a lot of time in the editing room, they decided on the Bane voice we all know today. For many people, this voice still isn't the best Bane voice but for many, it was a lot better than whatever Nolan decided was in the trailer. For some noncomic fans, it is the only voice they know for Bane and anything different may bring an uproar for those people.
8 Tom Hardy Was Too Busy Bulking Up To Read The Script
Superhero movies have risen (no pun intended) to massive popularity in recent years due to the Dark Knight films and the Avengers films. Therefore actors started to look for big-budget superhero roles to boost their popularity and their notability for more films in the future. Christopher Nolan is a director that is known to stay in his comfort zone for recruiting actors. After working with Tom Hardy a bit in his film Inception Christopher Nolan decided to ask Hardy if he'd want to take on the role of Bane.
Tom Hardy was eager to accept the role and decided that he'd want to take on the masked foe even before reading the script. When it came to reading up on the script Tom Hardy was still busy bulking up for the role. Tom Hardy was more focused on resembling the physical appearance of Bane vs. what the writers wrote for him. Hardy spent his days practicing martial arts and his nights reading over the script. In the end, this tactic didn't end in a complete disaster (according to most people). Tom knew how it was to work with Nolan and he knew that Nolan would provide Tom Hardy everything he needed to perfect the character.
7 Heavy Punches
Tom Hardy is no joke when it comes to acting and also no joke when it comes to getting into a fight (real or fake). Tom Hardy has never been against fighting someone in a movie and The Dark Knight Rises is no exception. Between fight scenes in dark sewers to city streets in the middle of the day, Tom Hardy took a lot of punches during the filming of The Dark Knight Rises. Hardy was being hard headed about hiring a stuntman to do most of his fight scenes and decided that he wanted to deliver his own fight scenes his way. Tom Hardy felt that this would look better in the long run and make the final product feel more natural.
One of the small things Tom Hardy loves about his job is watching fight scenes that look real but don't feel real at all. However, during the filming of The Dark Knight Rises Tom Hardy may have spoken too soon. Tom Hardy spoke that hitting a plastic and rubber bat suit hurt his hands after filming. Now Hardy has even more battle scars from the filming of The Dark Knight Rises including his hands! He won't soon forget this role.
6 His Love For Talia
As mentioned before many changes came to the characters in The Dark Knight Rises to better fit Nolan's Batman universe. These changes included some of Bane's backstory. Nolan wanted to connect Bane somehow to the first film with the villain from that film Ra's Al Ghul. In this, he made Bane's backstory one of protecting Al Ghul's daughter Talia from. Talia is explained to be the one person to escape from the pit which is shown in the climax of the film. Many were led to believe the escaper was Bane but it was later revealed to be Talia and Bane was simply her protector.
Near the end of the film, Bane can be seen in bad condition as Talia is holding on to him for the rest of his short life. As he is on the ground slowly passing he has the look that many audiences assumed was love for Talia. Considering Bane was an adult when he was protecting the child known as Talia this came across as strange and creepy for the character. The last-minute love setup to get people to feel more for Bane didn't go over well for audiences and most people didn't even notice it. This was by far one of the worst calls from Nolan with changing the lore and seemed like a cheap Hollywood tactic.
5 Mostly Improvised
The Dark Knight series is known to include a lot of unscripted scenes that make it into the final edit known as improvised scenes. For example, The Dark Knight has several scenes that are improvised. The first time actor Michael Cane sees Heath Ledger in his Joker makeup was during a take in the final film. Therefore the reaction from Michael Cane was his real first reaction which was one mostly of fear. In another scene with Joker, he is trying to blow up a hospital with a remote device and he is unsuccessful in the first few attempts. Heath Ledger decided to keep in character and finish the scene and it ended up in the final cut.
The Dark Knight Rises is no exception when it comes to these improvised scenes. For example, when Bane first shows his face in the light of Gotham in the Gotham football field he walks out during the Star Spangled Banner playing. At this moment Bane said "what a beautiful voice". This was completely improvised by Tom Hardy and Nolan decided to keep it in to add fear to Bane's character. It's likely Tom Hardy added improvised lines because he didn't fully read the script as mentioned earlier.
4 Evil Underneath Gotham
Christopher Nolan is known to have his hidden symbolism in films and The Dark Knight trilogy is known for that. Throughout the three films, the world and environment Nolan built gets darker and darker. Christopher Nolan wanted to take this theme to new levels of symbolism. Gotham City was slowly becoming a very corrupt city as obvious from the opening of The Dark Knight Rises. The film opens up with Gotham City celebrating the memory of Harvey Dent as the GCPD hid the truth of Harvey Dent turning into Two-Face.
Christopher Nolan wanted to symbolize this hidden evil in the overall theme of the film which is why he has Bane's base underneath Gotham in the sewers of Gotham. Most of the film takes place in dark places and there is even a line that Bane says that sums up the symbolism perfectly: "You merely adopted the darkness, I was born in it". While this was a direct reference to the hidden darkness in the city it took many fans some time to realize the true nature of the symbolism this film had to offer. The symbolism goes even further as overtime Bane is seen in the light he brings a point with him in attempt to bring down the corrupt Gotham City.
3 Covering Up Hardy's Tattoos
Tom Hardy has a lot of tattoos. Mostly on his arms going down his torso. Most pictures of him without a shirt on will reveal just how many tattoos he is rocking. However, in the film, The Dark Knight Rises all of Tom Hardy's tattoos magically disappeared. This is to help portray Bane properly as there are many scenes where he is just sporting a military vest with his arms fully exposed. To do this Christopher Nolan decided to remove the tattoos digitally instead of naturally.
The use of makeup could have been used to remove Tom Hardy's tattoos but Christopher Nolan didn't want to take this approach. Instead unedited set photos reveal that Tom Hardy has full on tattoos while in the Bane costume. Christopher Nolan has always been picky as to where to use CGI and where to use practical effects. Considering he used practical effects for the bat jet it's strange he wouldn't do the same for something as simple as tattoos. In the end, the CGI isn't noticeable and is a quick fix, either way, the director goes about it. Luckily for Tom Hardy, he didn't have to walk around on long set days with makeup covering his arms.
2 Bane's Red Hood Cameo
There are many hidden easter eggs of sorts in the Dark Knight Trilogy. For example at the end of the first film in the trilogy Commissioner Gordon finds a playing card that reveals the Joker. There are several easter eggs present in The Dark Knight Rises as well. For example, there are two easter eggs that relate back to two popular villains in the Batman comic series. During a scene Cryo-sleep is mentioned which is a direct reference to the villain of Mr. Freeze. In another scene, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character mentions taking their investigation to the sewers which is promptly shut down with a comment by Gordon that reads "You haven't heard the reports of giant crocodiles in the sewers?". This is a direct reference to Killer Croc another popular Batman villain.
Bane himself also sports a very small but interesting easter egg. During a scene where Bane is riding a motorbike to escape, he is seen wearing a red motorcycle helmet. This is a direct reference to the red hood which is the original identity of The Joker in the original comics which introduced the Joker character. Christopher Nolan is great at putting in very subtle references to things that he couldn't include in his film due to time restraints.
1 The Bane Voice Inspiration
As mentioned before Bane's voice is quite controversial and was even unintelligible at one point in time. However, Tom Hardy spoke on the choice to use that voice and said that he was inspired by an Irish boxer known as Bartley Gorman. Tom Hardy felt like Bartley Gorman was the perfect inspiration for Bane's voice as he was a similar fighter to what he thought Bane might be. Tom Hardy spoke about this in an interview with Vulture.
"He's the king of the gypsies, and he's a boxer, a bare-knuckle boxer, an Irish traveler, a gypsy."
The voice is a bit off-putting at first and is a weird inspiration when it comes to using it as a villain and character as large as Bane. However, when Christopher Nolan heard Tom Hardy do the voice he fell in love and knew that it had to be used for Bane's voice. Nolan said that it added to the fear that Bane would instil into the audience. A lighter/stranger voice would offset the audience enough to put fear in the eyes of the viewer. Bartley Gorman passed away in the early 2000's of cancer but he would most likely be proud that his voice was finally on the big screen.