'The Dark Knight Rises' spills story details in production notes

christian-bale-anne-hathaway-dark-knight-rises.jpgWarner Bros. has released the production notes for "The Dark Knight Rises," which in normal circumstances wouldn't be a big deal. But because the movie so heavily anticipated and because details of the film's story have thus far been closely guarded, it's definitely a big deal.

The notes -- which are usually given to reviewers and reporters seeing advance screenings of a movie -- reveal some details about the setting and story for "The Dark Knight Rises." Since they're studio-approved, it's hard to call them spoilers, but if you want to go into the movie completely clean, you might not want to read past here.

OK? OK. Let's get on to some of the things we learned from the notes:

Time has passed: "The Dark Knight Rises" is set eight years after "The Dark Knight," and the lie Bruce Wayne ( Christian Bale) and Commissioner Gordon ( Gary Oldman) concocted about Batman having killed the virtuous Harvey Dent has done its job: Gotham has been relatively safe, and Batman hasn't been seen (or really needed) since. Carrying the secret about Dent, though, is eating away at Gordon, and he looks for the right time to reveal the truth.

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Cat and Bat: Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and not Tom Hardy's Bane, is the impetus for Bruce Wayne to come out of the self-imposed shell he's been living in since "The Dark Knight." He has rebuilt Wayne Manor "just as it was" and the mansion is the site of a benefit honoring Harvey Dent Day that Selina sees as an opportunity. Her encounter with Bruce sparks something in him that he hasn't felt for quite some time.

Bane = pure evil. If "Batman Begins" villain the Scarecrow was a psychopath and the Joker in "The Dark Knight" represented chaos, then Bane "is a terrorist in both his mentality and his actions," Hardy says. "He is physically intimidating and he's also very intelligent, which makes him even more dangerous." Adds director Christopher Nolan, "Bane is raw strength with a fanatical devotion to duty, and that combination makes him unstoppable."

Meet The Bat: That's the name given to Batman's newest toy, a plane that's described as part helicopter and part jump jet and which is seen maneuvering through the concrete canyons of Gotham City in trailers.

New characters: Both Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are playing characters not in the Batman comics. Cotillard's Miranda Tate is a philanthropist and an ally of Bruce's on the board of Wayne Enterprises, while Gordon-Levitt's John Blake is a young, idealistic cop who reminds Commissioner Gordon of his younger self.

The prologue? Mostly real. One of the more surprising revelations in the production notes has nothing to do with the plot. It's that much of the hijacking sequence that opens the film (and which was screened in IMAX theaters in December) was actually shot in the air. Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister filmed the sequence from a helicopter traveling alongside the two planes.
Photo/Video credit: Warner Bros.
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