THE DARK KNIGHT RISES BANE – Get to know Bane and Tom Hardy a little better via The Dark Knight Rises production notes.
Bane is infamous among Batman comic fans for the terrible harm he inflicts on the Caped Crusader. Having recently worked with Hardy on “Inception,” director Christopher Nolan knew he could project an extreme physical and psychological threat despite having to act from behind a mask. “When you’re creating a monstrous presence like Bane in a movie, you could concentrate just on the physical or you could focus on the more psychological aspects. With Tom, I knew I would get the whole package. He is such an incredible actor; he was able to depict this beast of a man who has exceptional fighting skills, but also able to convey the soul of someone who is damaged inside as well as out. Tom is the kind of actor who relished the challenge of having to generate an entire performance with most of his face covered up. What he is able to do with just his eyes is truly amazing.”
Hardy states that the mask was not a deterrent when given an opportunity to rejoin the director, especially on a Dark Knight film. “Chris called me up and said there was a role I might be good for, but he wasn’t sure I’d be interested because I’d have to wear a mask for several months. He wouldn’t tell me anything else about the character, except that he was a very bad guy. I said, ‘Let me get this straight: you want me to come and work with you, travel around the world, have a stunt team and all the weapons I could possibly want to play with, and all I have to do is wear a mask?’ He answered, ‘Yeah, pretty much…’ And I said, ‘I’m in!’”
Unlike Batman, Bane does not wear a mask to conceal his identity, but to anesthetize himself against excruciating pain, resulting from injuries he suffered long ago. Countering Nolan’s concerns, Hardy says, “I didn’t feel limited by the mask. What’s cool about it is, as soon as you put it on you become the character.”
The actor adds that his portrayal of Bane entailed creating a contradiction between the voice and the body. “He is florid in his speech, but has the physicality of a gorilla. So while he is quite articulate, we also wanted to establish a very imposing presence.”
Working underground and undetected, Bane is plotting a multi-pronged attack on Gotham, involving firepower, finance and fear.