Say what you will about DC Comics’ handling of their cinematic properties (aside from Batman). When it comes to the comics they write and draw some really kickass stuff. The Caped Crusader has always had the most interesting and well-developed rogue’s gallery. So it was a surprise to many when director Christopher Nolan chose Bane as the primary villain for “The Dark Knight Rises”. The thing is, most moviegoers remember Bane as a mindless, steroid-pumped freak from Joel Schumacher’s godawful “Batman & Robin”. In the comics however, he’s much more of a brainy character, with a homicidal streak that’s disturbingly lucid. He’s still depicted as a hulking monster who’s more than a match for Batman. It is this iteration that Nolan chose to go with.
Comicbookmovie.com recently managed to scoop a rare one-on-one with DC Comics artist Graham Nolan (no relation to the director). Nolan is best known for his work on the iconic Batman mini-series “Knightfall”, the one where Bane breaks Batman’s back. Nolan, along with Chuck Dixon, and Doug Moench are the co-creators of Bane, making him the perfect person to speak about the new cinematic version of the character. Electroshadow has reproduced the interview here for you…
ComicBookMovie: You had the most influences on the visuals of Bane. Did you nail down the look of Bane right away or were there several variations?
Graham Nolan: I got about 95% on the first try. The only major changes were to the mask. His original mask was more of a Mexican wrestling mask. His eyes, nose, and mouth holes were open. I did it this way for two reasons. 1) to be able to show expressions. 2) Because of where he’s from, it’s probably the only type of mask he would have been exposed to. Editorial decided they wanted a more mysterious look so those holes were covered up. I think they made a good call on that.
CBM: What would you say Bane’s true intentions are?
GN: Bane is a narcissist. Since the world revolves around him he feels he should own it. Bane wants control.
CBM: Would you say Bane’s venom is a necessity or an addiction?
GN: An addiction which he overcame in “Vengeance Of Bane 2″.
CBM: You have ventured to comic book conventions in the past, is it odd seeing people dressed up as Bane?
GN: I don’t do many shows and as such I’d never seen anyone in a Bane costume until MegaCon this year. Saw a few guys dressed up as Bane. I love their passion and had my picture taken with all of them.
CBM: Do you feel like your creation and vision for Bane is being respected by the character’s appearance in film and comics?
GN: To be honest, I don’t follow his appearances in comics. As far as his appearances in cartoons and films with the exception of the horrid “Batman And Robin” version, I’ve enjoyed all of them.
CBM: In a previous interview you mentioned that you haven’t seen Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin, that featured a version of Bane, but you’ve seen photos. Would it be fair to assume you weren’t pleased with the look of Bane?
GN: I didn’t have a problem with his look so much as his portrayal as a muscle bound dope. What separates Bane from other villains is his amazing cunning and intelligence.
CBM: You’ve seen some footage of Tom Hardy’s portrayal do you feel the character is in the right hands? Knowing that an acclaimed director like Christopher Nolan is working on it must make you feel more comfortable?
GN: Absolutely. Everything I’ve read about their take on Bane tells me they “get” him.
CBM: Many fans have quibbled over Tom Hardy’s lack of size. Does it bother you at all that Tom Hardy isn’t exactly a hulking figure like Bane is in the comics?
GN: We don’t know that they won’t CGI him up when the film is released. But even if they don’t, a lot of size and menace can be conveyed with camera angles and lighting.
CBM: Another debate I see online between fans is about Bane’s heritage. So once and for all is Bane Latin American?
GN: I hadn’t heard about a debate, but since Bane was born in Santa Prisca he is most definitely Latin American.
CBM: Do you wish a Latin American actor would’ve been cast in the role of Bane?
GN: It doesn’t matter as long as they are a good actor. It’s all make believe anyway. Just because a character is one thing doesn’t mean the actor has to be. That’s why he’s called an actor. Does anyone think John Wayne was really a cowboy?
CBM: Do you think at the least it would’ve been nice if Bane had a Latin American accent?
GN: I don’t know what Bane’s movie background is. Maybe he was raised in Siberia or some other eastern block nation. Who knows? Whatever accent is used is only important in establishing where he’s from and I’m sure they took that into consideration.
CBM: What was your first reaction to seeing the new Bane mask that Tom Hardy is wearing?
GN: Again, the look doesn’t concern me. It might make more sense based on the script.
“The Dark Knight Rises” stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Juno Temple, Josh Pence, Daniel Sunjata, Nestor Carbonell, Matthew Modine, Tom Conti, Joey King, Brett Cullen, Chris Ellis, Josh Stewart, Christopher Judge, Adam Rodriguez, and Rob Brown. The DC Comics adaptation premieres 20th July.