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The film, being release June 17th, 2005 explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight's emergence as a force for good in Gotham. Christian Bale stars as Bruce Wayne/Batman; Michael Caine as his trusted butler Alfred; Gary Oldman as Lieutenant James Gordon, a detective on the Gotham police force; Katie Holmes as a childhood friend of Wayne's; Liam Neeson as Wayne's mentor, Henri Ducard; Ken Watanabe as the villainous Ra's Al Ghul; and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, a former board member and sidelined employee of Wayne Enterprises.
While no footage from the film was shown at this year's comic-con, it was alluded that you can expect to see the trailer for the film attached to the front Alien vs. Predator.
At the convention, screenwriter David Goyer and Cillian Murphy were both on hand to answer questions about the film...
Goyer was asked where they are in the production.
Goyer: I think we're wrapping around September 16th, we're nearing the end. About a week ago they were on day 91. They're about to make a move to Chicago where they will be shooting for three weeks and then back to England.
David was asked what he wanted to do with Batman that hasn't been done in the films.
Goyer: Well, first of all thank God we were doing an origin story. We were telling a story that took place well before the other films and we were telling a story that in large part had never been told before, there was in the comics Batman: Year One but aside from that, it was very elliptical and there are definitely segments of our film that have never been addressed even in the comic books so we were sort of in uncharted territory. It was interesting when we were meeting with DC and Paul Levitz and when we were proposing to fill in some of these gaps I was very curious as to how they were going to react, but they embraced everything we were proposing because it seemed to fit in with everything that had been set before. It was exciting to do an origin story because we weren't beholding to any of the other films or to the TV series, we could really in comic book terms it was sort of a re-boot in a way. The notion was after our film finished we could then go off and if Chris or Warner Brothers wanted to play with subsequent films they could sort of reintroduce the pantheon of villains and what-not.
They were asked whether or not this film is more real world-based.
Goyer: Definitely a depiction of Batman that is filtered through Chris' vision and he is very naturalistic director that is what was exciting to me. Frankly as much as I love Batman, I don't know if I would have been interested in writing it for anyone else, I think Chris is such a great film maker that was the main appeal to me. That he was going to be telling a story in a way that it seems like that is the way the story should have been told, but for some reason no one had ever approached Batman that way. It seemed like a no brainer to me, but the fact that Chris was doing it and that Warner Brothers was actually going to let him do it, it was an amazing experience. I remember Chris and I batting ideas around thinking there is no way they are going to let us to this. Not that we were breaking any great rules but it seemed like we were doing the sort of story that I had certainly always wanted to see, DC and Warner Brothers were great, they just embraced it. It was actually the best experience I ever had working with a studio, because they truly trusted us and just said you guys know what you are doing and we are going to let you run with it.
Goyer was asked about the origin and Batman villians.
Goyer: Well, I remember the very first discussion I had with Chris, we were talking about that and at that point it hadn't even been decided we were going to do an origin story yet, the very first discussion, but very quickly over the course of 10-15 minutes we decided we had to tell an origin story. I felt very strongly that we should use characters that hadn't been depicted in the films before, fortunately I was familiar with the sort of rogues gallery of Batman foes but fortunately I felt in the case of Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghul, they were two really great villains that hadn't been used. After that we were kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel whether it was a killer moth or some of these other crazy characters, but fortunately they had been played with in the animated shows. I just happen to think Ra's Al Ghul is unique as a Batman villain because his goals, although they are certainly perverted, he is more realistic as a character and Scarecrow is unique because it allowed the opportunity, I think, to depict a villain that is truly scary and frightening. Because Chris and I wanted to tell a story about fear and overcoming your fear, it just seemed like a no brainer.
Goyer was asked what he tried to avoid.
Goyer: We didn't have a list of what aren't we going to do, we just approached everything from the standpoint of...fortunately Batman and Chris had talked about this in the press before...Batman is the most realistic in some ways of all the costumed superheroes and he doesn't have any super powers, and he employs high technology, training and things like that. But the thing that is cool about Batman is that when you are a kid growing up and imaging yourself being him, I mean if you had access to that money and that technology you could be him, it would be unlikely, but you could. You could never be the Hulk or you could never be the Thing or Superman or anything like that. We just approached everything from the standpoint of realism, if he was going to wear a suit, what would he need to do in it? What would the suit require? If he was going to be using a batmobile why would he use it and what would be required of the batmobile, so everything was approached from the standpoint of realism, that was just our rule, so when we were working on the story it was all based on either existing technology, our general rule was technology that is going to sort of be shown in the marketplace in the next ten years or so, stuff that was being developed by the department of defense or existing programs.
Cillian was asked about his audition to play Batman.
Murphy: Well the first part of the question, I think if you ask any male if you really want to get into a real suit, that was a dream come true obviously and then just to get to work with Chris even for that little test was amazing as well and then I don't know, he saw something in it that he thought maybe he could use for the other characters.
What about a Batman Begins sequel?
Goyer: Without giving anything away, organically it sort of lends itself for one and I think people will be happy with sort of where that goes. Not specifically, I mean Chris was orginally saying he would only do the one and just the one and I don't know we'll see. I mean I was exhausted after I finished Blade, we ended up shooting 90 days I think Chris is going to end up shooting 140 days on Batman, who knows, I think if you ask Chris now he would say don't even ask that question because he's in the trenches and we'll have to see when he finishes it.
How did they decide on the Batman Begins title?
Goyer: Chris and I talked about it and we were determined to come up with a title when we turned in the script because internally with Warner Brothers we knew that would set the tone and we were talking about how it would be promoted initially. We didn't want to have the same title of any of the previous films and so I came up with Batman Beginning and then Chris said let's just say Begins because then when it was announced you can say I'm blah blah Batman Begins, I was like genius. So from that point on it was always that.
So it was never was Batman: The Intimidation Game?
Goyer: No, I think to try to keep people away, scripts didn't have the Batman Begins title or files that have that, but it was always Batman Begins.
CLICK HERE for a full transcription of the panel.