Dark Knight, The: Secondary Characters

Secondary Characters

Rachel Dawes

For Bruce Wayne, a chance for a normal life also means a chance for a future with the love of his life, Rachel Dawes, who now works for Dent as an assistant district attorney. In that regard, the DA is not a hope but a hindrance, because Rachel is involved with him not only professionally but romantically, as well. When it comes to Rachel, there is a contradiction in Bruces feelings about Dent. While he does respect Dent, another part of Bruce just wants to knock him out, Bale says only half-jokingly. So Bruces ideological side and his very human side are again at loggerheads with each other.

Cast in the role of Rachel, Maggie Gyllenhaal notes, Rachel made the heartbreaking decision that it is impossible for her to be with Bruce as long as he is Batman. Then Harvey Dent came into her life, and she is crazy about him. I think the thing she really admires about Harvey, as opposed to Batmanor, rather, what Bruce Wayne is doing as Batmanis that Harvey is not a vigilante. He is not putting himself above the law for what he believes is ultimately best for the people of Gotham City. Instead, Harvey believes in the system, even if its broken, and he is going to work within the system to change things that are corrupt. I think thats why Rachel loves him and thinks he is a hero in his own way. At the same time, she still genuinely loves Bruce and she obviously knows he is still in love with her, so its a real predicament.

But for me, I mean its Christian Bale and Aaron Eckhart and they are both pretty spectacular, so as an actress, it was easy to live with that predicament, Gyllenhaal laughs. My wanting to be a part of this film had almost everything to do with Chris Nolan and the rest of the cast. From the beginning, Chris was so engaging and so interested in my ideas about the role. He was clear that he wanted Rachel to be smart and capable and not the damsel in distress, although she is in distress sometimes. We were really good for each other because thats very much what I wanted, and we pushed each other in different ways to make Rachel who she is.

Maggie is just a fantastic actress, states Nolan. Ive always loved her work and had wanted an opportunity to work with her, and the role of Rachel in this film seemed like the perfect match. Maggie has great intelligence and maturity and she is also very warm and, of course, lovely. You really believe her in this role. I think she beautifully conveyed the conflict in Rachel standing between these two men in her life, and you can see why both men would naturally be drawn to her. Rachel has so much history with Bruce and he will always be in her heart, but she also loves Harvey and can see a future with him.

However, that all changes in an instant when a shocking incident transforms the once redoubtable Harvey Dent into the horribly deformed Two-Face, who is now bent on one thing: revenge. Something terrible happens that alters everything in his life and rage takes over, says Eckhart. He takes strength from his grief and his pain and sets out to kill the bad guysor those he now perceives as the bad guys. He still wants justice, but now he pursues it outside of the law he once lived by. I dont think of him purely as a villain in the way The Joker is. But at the point that Harvey becomes Two-Face, his outlook is so twisted that he starts to see The Joker as a kindred spiritand The Joker knows he has Harvey where he wants him. Its a great scene, and Heath did such a wonderful job. As an actor, it was exciting to work with him. Heaths performance made this Joker an indelible screen character. He was everything you could want in an arch-villain as infamous as The Joker, and yet he was completely original.

Nolan says, The Joker is terrifying because there appears no rhyme or reason for what he does. Hes just a force of nature tearing through. With Two-Face, you see his transformation and you understand where his anger and his grief come from. Aaron did an extraordinary job of portraying the tragic arc of Harvey Dent and Two-Face; he takes you on that emotional ride with him.

Apart from the obvious example of Harvey Dent/Two-Face, the director observes, There are a number of dualities in this film, and there are also several mirrored relationships. The relationship between Batman and The Joker is an interesting one, as is the relationship between Harvey Dent/Two-Face and Lieutenant Gordon.

Lieutenant Jim Gordon

Reprising his role from Batman Begins, Gary Oldman plays Lieutenant Jim Gordon, the head of the Gotham City Police Major Crime Unit (MCU). Gary is such a remarkable actor, Roven says. Gordon could have been a comparatively straightforward role, especially surrounded by the more eccentric and even bizarre characters, but Gary brought so many colors to his performance.

Nolan comments, In the first film, Gordon was a very reserved character. It required an actor who could play an important role, but in a very subtle and restrained way. I was thrilled to be able to bring Gary back as Gordon, but in a story that challenges the character more and lets Gary show more of what hes so great at.
In The Dark Knight, Lieutenant Gordon is facing mounting pressure from all sides in the wake of the recent escalation of crime, but as a career cop, he knows his first, best option is to follow his gut instincts, which tell him to trust Batman. He understands that Batman now poses some danger to Gotham, but he believes Batman may ultimately be its salvation, especially with the arrival of The Joker. The police have never encountered anything like The Joker, says Oldman. Hes not interested in money or even power, in the usual sense of the word. The Joker is all about chaos; he does what he does for the fun of it. How do you police someone like that

Thomas adds that in addition to being tested because of Batmans efforts and the effect they are having on his city, Gordon doesnt entirely trust Harvey Dent yet because there has never been a politician in Gotham City who wasnt corrupt in some way. He knows something must be done and decides Batman is his best bet because he knows Batmans intentions and has faith that things will get better in the long run.

Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox

Bruce Wayne has two other trusted allies in his life: his loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth, who, since Bruces parents were murdered, has essentially been the only father Bruce has ever known; and the brilliant Lucius Fox, who is now the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, in addition to being the architect of Batmans high-tech arsenal. Oscar-winning actors Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman return as Alfred and Lucius, respectively, having played the same roles in Batman Begins.

As Bruce Waynes closest confidants, Alfred and Lucius know Batmans true identity, but with that knowledge comes responsibility. Each in his own way also serves as a mentor, an advocate, and sometimes as Bruces conscience. The bond between them is very clear, but you see the different sides of their relationships, Nolan says. Lucius Fox is fully aware of what Bruce is doing as Batman and approves to a large extent. But over the course of the film, we test the limits of what Lucius finds acceptable in terms of what Bruce does as Batman.

Freeman notes, I see Lucius as practical-minded in doing what has to be done in order to facilitate this mans mission. Batman has set himself up as a champion of justice, and once hes established that idea and the world is counting on him, he has to step up to the plate and deliver. But Lucius questions if there are limits to what he will do to help Bruce meet that challenge.

On the other hand, Nolan says, Alfred is a firm believer in what Bruce is doing and encourages him to take it even further if necessary, because Alfred believes its the right thing to do. Of course, Alfred is also concerned for the human side of Bruce because Alfred raised him from a boy, but he tries not to let his own fears for Bruces personal safety get in the way of telling him to carry on with his quest.

Bruce Wayne tells Alfred that, as a symbol, Batman cant have limits, but to Alfred, Bruce is a real person and does, in fact, have limits, says Caine. Bruce is like his child, and you always see your children as kids, even when they are all grown up. So, of course, Alfred worries about what he is doing. I think of Alfred as Bruces guardian angel, not only physically, but psychologically and morally. There are real issues there, and Alfred often has a go at him about it. Alfreds relationship with Bruce is the most human and also, I think, the most humorous, Caine smiles.

The director says that Alfreds humor comes naturally. Michael is a very funny guy; Ive never worked with an actor who could time comedy quite so effortlessly. He knows exactly what to do with a line to get the biggest laugh.
Working with great veterans like Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, I benefit massively from their experience, Nolan continues. They have a calm presence on the set that everybody responds to, and they just inspire everyone around them to be on their best game. It was a privilege to work with them in the first film and an honor to have them back for The Dark Knight.

Eric Roberts

The films main cast also includes Eric Roberts as Maroni, one of the heads of Gotham Citys crime cartel; Chin Han as Lau, an Asian business mogul, who makes Gothams crime syndicate an offer they cant refuse; Nestor Carbonell as the Mayor of Gotham City; and Anthony Michael Hall as a television news reporter. Cillian Murphy also makes a return cameo appearance as Scarecrow.

Overall, Nolan states, The cast is a terrific ensemble of some of the most extraordinarily talented actors working in movies, which made it very exciting for everyone involved. It generated a great atmosphere on the set, and it was magical to watch actors with very different approaches come together and work so hard towards the same goals.