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The Workplace Stress of ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Director Christopher Nolan

Most people endure stress at the workplace.

Director Christopher Nolan, however, took it to new heights — literally.

Need proof? Well, there’s the day Nolan watched from a helicopter as four people in his employ dangled on thin cables from a transport plane over a turboprop for the action sequence that kick-starts “The Dark Knight Rises,” opening Friday.

In the scene, shot over the Scottish highlands, stunt aerialists portray Bane’s (Tom Hardy) terrorist henchmen, rappelling onto a CIA plane to rescue their boss and kidnap a scientist.

For even more dramatic effect, Nolan’s crew even secured a stunt-double turboprop to break apart midair and fall to an unpopulated rural spot.

That was just another day on the job for the London-born filmmaker as he made his third — and reportedly last — Batman adventure.

“Really, your job as director is to ignore the scale of things and just look at the shot that you’re going to put on screen — and how that’s going to further the story,” says Nolan.

For a guy who brought the superhero blockbuster into a more grown-up future, Nolan, 41, is actually a bit of a throwback.

He famously avoids CGI gimmickry in favor of large scale practical stunts — even if they involve a thousand extras charging into a choreographed battle filmed in the heart of New York City’s financial district.

“If Chris can avoid fake stuff and doing [things] with digital effects later — which is really the fashion for these kind of big action [blockbusters] — he will,” says Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who’s worked with Nolan on both 2010’s “Inception” and “Dark Knight Rises.”

“He likes to make it as real as he can. And it certainly had quite an impact on me as an actor, as opposed to just standing in front of a green screen and pretending to react to something.”

And somehow he comes in under budget and ahead of schedule. That aerial fight sequence was slotted for up to nine days of filming. Nolan finished it in two.

That attention to detail is what got Nolan the rare honor of immortalizing his handprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre a few hours before his interview with the Daily News this month — despite having just seven feature films on his resume.

But each one stands out. He broke out with 1998’s sparse noir thriller “Following” before turning heads (literally and figuratively) with 2000’s head-warping action-drama “Memento.” Then, in 2002, he remade a Swedish thriller, “Insomnia,” into an atmospheric cat-and-mouse thriller starring Al Pacino and, in a spooky turn, Robin Williams.

Source: NY Daily News



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