In Nolan We Trust: Can he make Tom Hardy the new Heath Ledger?

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8:00 pm EDT, May 19, 2012

by Jason

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.

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