Sunday, August 15, 2004
WIZARD WORLD CHICAGO: DAVID GOYER TALKS BATMAN BEGINS
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- David Goyer is used to double duty. While writing and directing Blade: Trinity, he is also the writer of Batman Begins, the sure-to-be blockbuster from Warner Bros.
On Saturday, he appeared at two panels to promote Batman Begins, a regularly scheduled appearance at the DC Universe panel in the morning and than a bonus appearance at the end of the Green Lantern panel in the afternoon, where he was joined by director Chris Nolan and producer Emma Thomas.
Following is an edited transciption from Goyer's question-and-answer session at the DC Universe panel, starting with a statement.
Goyer: First and foremost, I have to say, and I've said this elsewhere, this has been the best experience of my professional career, working with Chris (Nolan, director) and Emma (Thomas, producer) and Warner Bros., and Paul (Levitz) and the rest of DC. It's been amazing becuase this is one of those times when everything came together right. Moment after moment after moment, Warner Bros. let us do everything we wanted to do. There wasn't any hindrance, from all the casting choices to absolutely everything.
We got to sort of cherry-pick our moments in the film. Chris and I sat down and drew up a list of about 10 sort of amazing moments from some of the comic books that we really wanted to see on screen, and every single one is in the movie. And you will definitely recognize some of them.
And I've said this before, too, but I think our biggest influences from the comic books we were drawing from were Year One, the O'Neill Batmans and the stuff that Jeph (Loeb) has done. Chris and I were big fans of The Long Halloween and The Dark Victory.
Question: Was Christian Bale your first choice to play Batman?
Goyer: Christian was one of the names that came up first, somebody who were talking about. There was a very, very short list. Jake Gyllenhaal was also somebody who we had talked about. The reason why this movie is different is because it's the origin story and Bruce is much younger than in all the previous depictions. So we were going to a diferent talent pool to begin with. Christian is, I think when Chris and I talked a couple of years ago, his name came up in our first conversation.
Question: Who are the villains?
Goyer: I think it's safe now to say the villains are The Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghul. But there are also a couple of other familiar faces from the comic books. That's the neat thing about the movies, is that even the secondary or tertiary characters in the film are drawn from the comics and are true to the way they've been depicted in the comic books.
Question: What's the timeline for the movie?
Goyer: I've said before that this movie is the cinematic equivalent of a reboot. The present day story of Batman is taking place now, so his parents died 20 years ago or what not.
Question: Do you like Neal Adams' work?
Goyer: I'm a big fan of Neal's work, certainly from the time I was a kid. I think that in the film ... I'm trying to think of the artist who was our biggest point of reference. In some ways, it was the Marshall Rogers in the comic book. Obviously, the costume is darker here, but look at that cape. That looks like it's from a Marshall Rogers panel.
Goyer: There are moments from the movie that have been alluded to in the comic books, but have never been completely depicted. We were really concerned a lot that this movie fills in some of the gaps in terms of what happens from the time Bruce leaves Gotham to the time he becomes Batman. I remember when I read Year One, I think it opens with Bruce Wayne flying back to Gotham City after that period of time. And I just kept on thinking, "What happened before then? Where did the Batmobile really come from? How did he outfit the Batcave? We cover that ground in this movie.
Question: Are there any thoughts or plans about a second movie yet?
Goyer: There will obviously be a second movie, and I think it's safe to assume there will probably be a third movie as well. Nothing's been solidified, but yes, there will be a second movie.
Question: I wondering about the thought process for the costume. It kind of looks like the previous suits.
Goyer: Really? I think that it's largely black, which is something that lends itself to the other movies. I actually think that when you see it on film and moving around, this is pretty close to the comic books.
One of the things that I'm really happy with is that the cape moves like a cape. It's light. There's all these classic panels you've all seen in the comic books -- this being a cinematic equivalent to one of them. I remember Chris was really influenced by this Michael Kaluta drawing of Batman, where he was crouched like a gargoyle on this corner of a building and the cape was flowing over the side, draped around him. Then the wind and blows behind, and we were really determined that the cape move like a cape and not just be a rubber shell like in the previous films.
I have to say, I was looking at some footage the other day and was thinking and even said to my friend, "I think this is as close to the comics as you're going to get," in terms of making it a Batman suit that would actually work.
The whole debate over the sort of gray vs. black -- although I've certainly seen black versions of the suit in the comic books -- it just made more sense to make it largely black because he's running around in the dark and he's trying to camouflage himself. That was also the big debate on whether to go with the yellow-and-black symbol.
You have to take some liberties when you're making a movie to depict it in a slightly different way.
Question: Do you know who is composing the score?
Goyer: We don't know yet -- or we can't say yet.
Question: Are you happy, like am I, that Joel Schumacher is going to have nothing to do with it?
Goyer: I'm trying to be as diplomatic as possible.
Question: No Bat-nipples?
Goyer: No Bat-nipples, no inline skating, no bad guy street gangs running around in florescent (colors). This movie is just a world away from those versions of Batman. I think that should evident even in the teaser. It's just a completely different take.
Question: How important is Gotham City as the setting.
Goyer: Gotham is very important. One of the things Chris and I were determined to do, however, was not make the film look like it was shot on the Warner Bros. back lot. We really wanted to make Gotham feel like a real city, which is one of the reasons we're shooting in Chicago right now.
Having said that, Gotham is sort of an amalgamation of Chicago and other places, as you will see. But there are some moments in the movie that do take place not in Gotham, as we wanted to broaden the scope.
But Gotham, as a city, is very important. And we talk about in the movie who founded Gotham and the way Gotham was founded. For the first time, the city of Gotham is a character in a film and not just in terms of interesting sets. We sort of get into the workings of Gotham, the politics behind it.
Question: Have you speculated on villains for future movies and whom you would like to cast?
Question: Who would you like to see play him?
Goyer: Wow! That's a tough one. I can't really say.
Question: What was the inspiration for the Batmobile?
Goyer: Honestly, the original inspiration was looking at the really elongated versions of the Batmobile in the other film, Chris and I other people involved in the film said that if that thing ever really tried to turn a corner, it would completely flip over in a heartbeat. So we wanted a Batmobile that actually did things. We wanted to be able film proper car chases that weren't just a car going down a city block on the Warner Bros. back lot. So we put this thing through its paces and the reason it was designed that way was so that we could put it through its paces and do something really, really amazing sequences with it, which we're doing right now.
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