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Saturday, June 4, 2005


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The Continuum today continues its series of features on Batman Begins, with a roundtable discussion with screenwriter David Goyer and producer Chuck Roven.

Following is an edited transcription of the interview.

Question: David, did you have a list of banned words that people couldn't say? I don't think we heard the word "Batmobile" in the film.

Goyer: There was no list, but I don't think that ever occurred to us.

But, you know what? I think that's a natural progression of the fact that we were trying to tell a more realistic story. I think, in the movies from here on out, if the name Batmobile came up, someone else would call it that, not him.

Question: How did you strike a tone between the humor in the movie with the seriousness?

Goyer: Even with the darkness movie, you need a little bit of humor. But a lot of the humor comes in private moments with Bruce, together and Alfred, where he feels he can let his hair down.

Roven: Or Bruce and Gordon...

Goyer: Or Bruce and Gordon. Or Bruce when he's playing the public Bruce Wayne, where it's very deliberate.

Roven: And I think a lot of it has to do with just how exceptional the talent of the actors are who are in the movie that they can take lines that in other hands may not be as warm or funny. Their delivery, their timing. Michael Caine's timing is just incredible or Morgan Freeman's timing is incredible.

Question: Gordon seem to have a little Leslie Thompkins in him. Can you talk about the integration of characters from the comics?

Goyer: We pulled from a lot of different sources. We pulled from 64 years of material. We had to boil it all down and figure out what would work best. I mean, yes, Gordon is a little bit of Thompkins, but he's a lot of Year One. Ra's al Ghul, we pulled from the 70's, Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams' stuff.

Roven: We found bits of the characters, rather than drawing from other characters. There wasn't amalgamation of characters.

Goyer: It was more like, we'll pull from Ra's from this story. A lot of lines Chris (Nolan, director) and I came up with on our own. But in some cases, I literally took this line of dialogue from this issue and this line of dialogue from that issue.

Question: What a way for DC to relaunch itself. With the success you're having, you're writing The Flash. Do you think Ryan Reynolds will still be attached to this?

Goyer: Who knows?

Roven: He's not attached at the moment.

Goyer: He's not attached. I haven't even finished (writing) it yet. Chuck's one of the producers on it, and he's riding me to finish it. When I finish it, then we'll get into who might be playing him.

Question: Is it true you're also going to tackle Thor?

Goyer: No. I don't have time right now. There's no way.

Question: What was the creative mandate for reviving this character? How was it compared to Blade?

Goyer: Batman and Blade are so different. Because, first of all, a lot of people are familiar with Batman, and nobody knew Blade. There have been other depictions of Batman before; there hadn't been a Blade. And, more importantly, there had been four other films.

The biggest issue for us was making it seem real, not seem like a comic-book movie even though it had been inspired by a comic book.

Roven: The studio had, before our involvement, decided they wanted to revive the Batman franchise and had been working on it for a number of years in a lot of different kind of iterations. They knew they wanted something different from what the character was after Batman and Robin, but they didn't know exactly and they were trying different things. When Jeff Robinov came on as president of production, with Alan Horn, they sort of focused on a desire to create and do an origination story. When Chris Nolan came in to talk to them and to talk with David about it, they also coincidentally thought that the best thing to do was an origination story, and one that would be grounded in reality. And that's how it really came about.

Question: This movie sets up sequels. Do we see The Joker being the next villain?

Goyer: Who knows? Honestly. I'm not being coy, but none of us are signed for another one yet. We're also waiting to see what Chris wants to do, so we'll see.

Question: One of the projects that has been rumored was Batman vs. Superman. Do you think that will ever see the day of light?

Rover: That's a great script.

Goyer: Yeah, maybe one day. I think with this new film, they're not going to do it for a while. Maybe one day. The fact that Warners owns DC and those guys are both DC properties, makes it more likely.

Rover: This movie clearly shows there is more life in the franchise, and I think if there is another Batman in the near future, whether any of us were involved, most probably would flow from this. Plus, you have to wait and see what Bryan Singer's Superman going to be, and I don't think that the Batman/Superman could be brought up again until that movie's seen.

Question: What was the conception of a depression in Gotham City?

Goyer: I honestly don't know where the depression came from. I don't remember any more. We had so many conversations.

Rover: One of the things that we were trying to do was to tie everything back together. Chris always talks about how the movie is grounded in reality, there is one super-power that Bruce Wayne has. And that's he is one of the wealthiest guys in the world. Economics is a power, and so the flip side of that is a depression. The irony of the story and the fantastic reveal is that the bad guys have created it. "I've already been there before." One of the weapons they used was that depression to try to destroy Gotham.

Goyer: I can also say this: I wanted to link Bruce to Gotham in a way that hadn't been done before. And we wanted to link his father to Gotham. And so necessarily for Batman to exist, Gotham itself had to fall on very hard times. And we also wanted to show that it did have a Golden Age prior to that.

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