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Christopher Nolan owes a lot to the things that have formed his reputation in Hollywood – he’s known as the mind-bender, with Memento and Inception becoming cult-classics, and he’s known as the comic-book movie king with The Dark Knight – but is there another distinction that will possibly define him further? For your consideration, we present Christopher Nolan: Master of the Supporting Actor.

Heath Ledger’s legendary turn in The Dark Knight contributed greatly (ha! understatement) to the success of the movie. Nobody doubts his deserving of the title of the greatest performance in a comic book movie ever, but remember Ledger before Batman? Patrick from 10 Things I Hate About You? He was decent in A Knight’s Tale, but he didn’t establish himself as a notable actor until Brokeback Mountain. Until Christopher Nolan got to Ledger, he was known as a pretty-boy actor with a few great performances. When we learned of how he became the Joker, we admired his dedication. He spent hours in a dark room just practicing voices, and played with the character by himself. The performance that eventually went on to become The Dark Knight’s Joker was all Ledger’s. But who created this interpretation of the character? Nolan.

Ledger’s performance is impossible to actually top. But remember that before Nolan came to Ledger, he had pretty much the same record that Hardy has now. The biggest roles he had were in Inception and Warrior, the first in which he played the charismatic British Eames, and the latter which was just mainstream acting. Up until now, the lack of Joker in Rises has been mourned among fans everywhere. But then the trailer came out.

I know, I know. We all hate the voice. It’s like Hulk with cotton in his mouth. But besides that, look at the transformation. The amount of dedication to the character is what makes Ledger and Hardy the same. Could you really picture Inception-Eames as the hulking, masterminded Bane? Oh, I know, you’re probably still on the voice. It was bad, but did you see how much he transformed it? Even if you don’t like it now, you have to remember, we weren’t too pleased with the original promotional pictures that came out, remember?

We can fairly conclude from this is that Warner Bros. sucks at marketing.

But then the trailer came out and we got a full realization of the transformation Joker underwent. In the original Batman comics, Joker was, at best, a scary clown (remember the lips? Creepy). He was a narcissist, driven by his own genius, trying to see just how much evil he could accomplish with his own massive intelligence.

That shows you just how Nolan can change a character. Joker was already a warped psychopath, but his motives changed. He didn’t just want to test the limits of his genius anymore. He wanted to see how far he could push people – to test and corrupt their humanity, show that people aren’t truly good underneath. We saw this in the scene where the civilians and the prisoners were on the ships.

Joker wanted to see who would blow up the other first, to get the people to see how bad they really were on the inside. This is real character motive. If Nolan could do such things with his characters, who’s to say he can’t do it with his actors?

Look at Bane in the comics. He’s the opposite of Batman. Bane was born in prison, Bruce Wayne born into higher society. Bane is supposed to be this criminal mastermind in the comics, but after a while, his intellect is played down. They took advantage of his muscularity, infamously becoming “The Man Who Broke the Bat.” This is where I trust in Nolan: if he treats Bane’s character like Joker’s, he’ll twist his mythology in a way that can give Hardy the kind of material Ledger had to work with – becoming a transformed character.

The same element that Ledger added to The Dark Knight just may be the same Hardy adds to Rises. He has the opportunity to turn Bane into the tortured, frightening villain we’ve been dreaming of. Look at Nolan’s trademark storytelling ability – his supporting characters are so prominent in his movies that his flair for creating them is inarguable.

Mostly this article serves as a plea not to worry. Because “In Nolan We Trust,” we believe any character he creates to be amazing, whether it be obsessive magician or a psychopathic clown. The rest is up to Hardy – he can’t top Ledger’s performance – but can he challenge it?

Due to Hypable’s (fair) 800 word limit, my article (which included ways Nolan could make Bane a memorable character) was abridged. To read the rest visit this link.

This article was written by a Hypable user! Learn more and write your own right here.

  • Jordan

    I do think that Tom Hardy’s Bane will be very worthy of The Joker. Christopher Nolan knows what he’s doing, and I think that it will all turn out amazing.

  • pygmypuff22

    Why does everyone hate the voice?! It’s cool!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VCJSDSEDKYOBEKWGIXCDB2QPYA Henry

      it sounds great in the theatre

  • Tessa

    It’s not going to top the joker, nothing will ever top the joker but I think tom hardy will be very good. Ledger had some pretty amazing performances before TDK and Brokeback Mountain though. (The Patriot, Ned Kelly, Candy, Lords of Dogtown and I’m Not There..just to name a few) Sometimes supporting but all still amazing performances
    Heath has always been talented, it wasn’t only the joker that he showed  amazing depth and conviction in nor was he the only dynamic, new character hes played

    • Mel823

      Thank you for posting that. It slightly irks me when people act like TDK and Brokeback were the only two good acting performances Heath had in his career.

  • Mel823

    Sorry, but I don’t credit Heath’s Joker to Nolan. That was all Heath. 

    • Jason

      I don’t either (I hoped I made that clear enough). I think that the reinvention of the character is what Nolan deserves credit for, and that’ s the raw material that Hardy can use to make his own memorable performance. I did include that in my full article. What I’m saying that at this point, Hardy and Ledger are pretty much on the same track acting-wise, and that combined with Nolan’s raw material gives him the potential to give a great performance. 

      • Mel823

        I think Nolan added an extra layer to the Joker, but I don’t think he reinvented the character, but that’s just my opinion.

  • TonyStarkakaIronMan

    This is the best user review Hypable has ever posted. I would rather read these than “why twilight is good” or “stop hating justin beidermeister” nonsense.

    And thanks for crediting Nolan on the Joker as well. Ledger himself said that he really agreed with Nolan’s idea of what the character should be (and props to Chris and John for the Joker’s amazing dialogues). Saying stuff like “it was all Heath” is silly. But of course Heath MADE that role and NOBODY will EVER be able to do what he did in that movie. Goyer, the Nolans, and Heath are responsible for the Joker we see in TDK. Remove even one component of the equation and the result wouldn’t have been even half as good as the final film.

    With that said, I still think you need a college degree to understand TDK and that its totally wrong to make the hero the bad guy in the end. MY movies, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and the Avengers are much more awesome. Especially cuz I am in them. Duh, everybody knows that.

    • Hehedied

      Tony avengers was great. But your ironman movies, are a boreing. He you face a grand villain on you next movie…. So far, your no Batman.

      • TonyStarkakaIronMan

        I’ll remember that the next time I have to save your life.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VCJSDSEDKYOBEKWGIXCDB2QPYA Henry

    he wont be the next joker… but he will be an amazing Bane.

  • Jadeey

    If you need to see how AMAZING an actor Tom Hardy is, just watch Bronson. He was brilliant in it!

  • http://twitter.com/Snapescape Laura Cain

    I agree with your praise of Nolan, he really is a genius when it comes to reinventing a character and adding more depth to him (I’m not saying the comics aren’t essentially deep but I mean, the Joker in The Dark Knight was just something else!). However, whilst I think it’s fair to give Nolan a thumbs up for his directing, Ledger deserves all the applause for actually playing him. He immersed himself so much, maybe too much, in the role of the psychopath and I think that this partly lead to his death. I don’t think Nolan is the Master of the Supporting Actor, after all he only gave Ledger the tools to work with. It was Ledger who crafted the Joker, and absolutely aced it.

  • Jill

    A lot of people in the US will only know Tom Hardy from Inception or Warrior. Most people won’t know him at all. A lot of his earlier work was with the BBC or TV movies. For those people who don’t know much about Mr. Hardy let me assure you he is an extremely talented and amazing actor. He transforms himself, often he is almost unrecognizable (see Bronson and Stuart: A Life Backwards) I have complete faith in Tom and Nolan. Heath Ledger was amazing as the Joker and Tom’s Bane does not need to top Ledger’s Joker but I believe this movie and Tom’s performance will stand alongside The Dark Knight and complete Nolan’s story. I think Hardy will surprise some people and earn a new army of fans. He is my favourite actor and I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE IT!!

  • Liderc

    Have to agree with the others who have mentioned that Heath was a very fine actor way before TDK. 

    Nolan didn’t make him suddenly turn into a great actor, Heath just used his abilities to make the joker an epic character, even one that overshadowed batman himself.

    I’ve watched much better movies with Heath in them, TDK wasn’t even a great movie overall, it was just that his Joker was such an epic character that it made the movie feel a lot better than it was.

    When I rewatch TDK it never has the same impact because the movie isn’t good, two face was laughable and Maggie playing Rachael was just awful. 

    When Morgan Freeman and Heath Ledger are the only reason your movie is good and they aren’t even the main actors, you’ve messed up.  

  • boom

    The reason i trust Tom Hardy is one word: BRONSON.

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