Bale is Batman for the Last Time in "Dark Knight Rises" (Opens July 19)

 Oscar® winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman for the third and final time in Warner Bros.' “The Dark Knight Rises,” the concluding chapter in the highly acclaimed and celebrated trilogy, following “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight.”

Christian Bale details, “In ‘Batman Begins,’ you see the tragedy and the pain that motivates this angry young man, who feels useless and is searching for a path—who wants to find out who he is and what he can become. Then in ‘The Dark Knight,’ he’s discovered that path. He is useful; he is doing what he imagines is the best thing for him to be doing in his life. Now, we are eight years on and he has lost the one thing that gave him a purpose…until he is forced to deal with a new threat to Gotham City and to himself.”

Fulfilling the promise he made in “Batman Begins,” Bruce Wayne has had Wayne Manor rebuilt, “just as it was.” But now, the mansion has become more of a refuge than a home for its owner, who has retreated behind its stately walls.

David S. Goyer, who crafted the story of “The Dark Knight Rises” with Christopher Nolan, says, “The reason we decided on a gap of eight years is that there needed to be significant enough time for the Batman legend to have faded a bit, and we wanted Bruce Wayne himself to have withdrawn behind a veil of rumor and mystery.”

Bale says, “Bruce feels absolutely isolated since the tragedy of losing the woman he loved, Rachel, and the terrible turn of events with what happened to Harvey Dent. He carries a certain amount of guilt that if he had not chosen the course of becoming Batman, none of that would have happened. His belief has been rocked, and that has caught up with him, physically and emotionally. But how much longer can he allow the pain of what has happened in his life control what he does with his life? And at what point does it start to become completely self-destructive?”

Nolan observes that, in giving up the guise of Batman for all those years, Bruce has, in a very real way, sacrificed both identities. “We come back to find a man who is no longer on a mission, even though that had always been the goal.”

“On the surface, Gotham has become what Bruce had hoped for,” producer Emma Thomas adds, “but because it was all founded on a lie, nothing is quite that simple. It falls along the lines of ‘be careful what you wish for’ because without Batman, Bruce has no sense of purpose.”

“The reason I have always gravitated to the character of Batman is that, as often noted, he is a superhero with no super powers, apart from his wealth,” Nolan says. “His extraordinary nature has always come down to his extreme motivation and sheer dedication, which makes him a very credible individual.”

“One of the great things about this character is that the least relatable thing about him is his billionaire status. Having those kinds of resources is something very few people could ever fathom. But the rest of it is understandable from an emotional perspective,” Bale comments.

“It’s been very rewarding to watch Christian chart the progression of his role through the three films,” says Nolan. “He always had a strong commitment to finding the truth of the character, and I think you especially see that in this film, where he really embraced that Bruce is older, but not necessarily wiser. It’s a very thoughtful performance, and that’s what you consistently get from a talent like Christian.”

Reflecting on the completion of the Dark Knight trilogy, Bale says, “It was very bittersweet when I took off the cowl for last time, because it’s meant so much to me personally to play this character. It never stopped giving me goose bumps to stand in that suit, because I recognize the honor of having portrayed this icon. And I can’t help but feel immensely proud.”

Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, July 19 in IMAX, 2D and regular theaters, “The Dark Knight Rises” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.