COMIC-CON: Goyer & Murphy on Batman Begins!

Warner Bros. Pictures kicked-off the Batman Begins campaign on Friday at Comic-Con International 2004 in San Diego, and star Cillian Murphy (Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow) and the film’s writer, David Goyer, were there to talk about the project. Although no footage from the film was shown, Superhero Hype! has learned that the teaser trailer will hit theaters with Alien vs. Predator on August 13th, and you can expect the teaser poster during the month of August as well. Here are Goyer and Murphy!

Goyer was asked where they are in the production.

Goyer: I think we’re wrapping around September 16th, we’re nearing the end. About a week ago they were on day 91. They’re about to make a move to Chicago where they will be shooting for three weeks and then back to England.

Murphy was asked about how they first approached him and what his character is like.

Murphy: I don’t know how much at liberty I am to discuss plot and stuff.

Goyer:I was actually told by Chris [Nolan - the director] to stop him if he ever said anything he shouldn’t.

Murphy: Please do, but I’m not a huge comic book afficionado, I wasn’t but DC sent me all the comics with the character in it and I just read them all and then spoke to Chris a lot about it. Then spoke to him about the script and fears addressed about in the script. I think you know psychology, I think that plays a lot in the character of Batman anyway from the very beginning.

Goyer: Fear is one of the themes of the whole movie for all of the characters.

Murphy: Scarecrow has this fear toxin that is his weapon. So discussed that a lot, the psychology of fear because Jonathan Crane is not a very physically imposing character, so this is what he uses instead.

What will the Scarecrow look like?

Murphy: Jonathan Crane?…no actuallly I can’t.

David was asked what he wanted to do with Batman that hasn’t been done in the films.

Goyer: Well, first of all thank God we were doing an origin story. We were telling a story that took place well before the other films and we were telling a story that in large part had never been told before, there was in the comics Batman: Year One but aside from that, it was very elliptical and there are definitely segments of our film that have never been addressed even in the comic books so we were sort of in uncharted territory. It was interesting when we were meeting with DC and Paul Levitz and when we were proposing to fill in some of these gaps I was very curious as to how they were going to react, but they embraced everything we were proposing because it seemed to fit in with everything that had been set before. It was exciting to do an origin story because we weren’t beholding to any of the other films or to the TV series, we could really in comic book terms it was sort of a re-boot in a way. The notion was after our film finished we could then go off and if Chris or Warner Brothers wanted to play with subsequent films they could sort of reintroduce the pantheon of villains and what-not.

They were asked whether or not this film is more real world-based.

Goyer: Definitely a depiction of Batman that is filtered through Chris’ vision and he is very naturalistic director that is what was exciting to me. Frankly as much as I love Batman, I don’t know if I would have been interested in writing it for anyone else, I think Chris is such a great film maker that was the main appeal to me. That he was going to be telling a story in a way that it seems like that is the way the story should have been told, but for some reason no one had ever approached Batman that way. It seemed like a no brainer to me, but the fact that Chris was doing it and that Warner Brothers was actually going to let him do it, it was an amazing experience. I remember Chris and I batting ideas around thinking there is no way they are going to let us to this. Not that we were breaking any great rules but it seemed like we were doing the sort of story that I had certainly always wanted to see, DC and Warner Brothers were great, they just embraced it. It was actually the best experience I ever had working with a studio, because they truly trusted us and just said you guys know what you are doing and we are going to let you run with it.

Goyer was asked about the origin and Batman villians.

Goyer: Well, I remember the very first discussion I had with Chris, we were talking about that and at that point it hadn’t even been decided we were going to do an origin story yet, the very first discussion, but very quickly over the course of 10-15 minutes we decided we had to tell an origin story. I felt very strongly that we should use characters that hadn’t been depicted in the films before, fortunately I was familiar with the sort of rogues gallery of Batman foes but fortunately I felt in the case of Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul, they were two really great villains that hadn’t been used. After that we were kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel whether it was a killer moth or some of these other crazy characters, but fortunately they had been played with in the animated shows. I just happen to think Ra’s Al Ghul is unique as a Batman villain because his goals, although they are certainly perverted, he is more realistic as a character and Scarecrow is unique because it allowed the opportunity, I think, to depict a villain that is truly scary and frightening. Because Chris and I wanted to tell a story about fear and overcoming your fear, it just seemed like a no brainer.

With Batman & Robin, was it a case of too many villains?

Goyer: I know some people were concerned…Oh My God, they are going to do two villains, but we wouldn’t have done it if it didn’t fit in an organic way. Chris is a real task master and a perfectionist and when you are working with him, and Cillian can attest to this, he is hyper-cricital about everything has to make sense and everything has to be motivated. He won’t even use a line the audience would love, even if doesn’t make sense, if it is just there as sort of an easter egg for the audience he won’t do it, so he holds everything up to a very high criteria and fortunately we were able to come up with a story that made perfect and total sense why there were two of them and why they were interwoven in the story and it was very organic.

Cillian was asked what it was like working with Christian Bale and the Ying/Yang factor.

Murphy:We did obviously discuss it and like all the scenes with me, Chris & Christian. A fair point they are two polar opposites, both dealing with fear in some way and using it for different ends I guess. Christian just looks so fantastic in the suit, it’s great, you’re like…that’s Batman, he’s wonderful on set, so committed to it, he was in training for months and months before this and all the fight stuff is really impressive. We had good fun too and I really enjoyed it.

Did Cillian have to slim down making the physical stuff a little harder to do?

Murphy: I don’t have that much girth anyway but in the comics he is definitely Scarecrowesce (Goyer – “Gangly”), so we did play with that with the costume and stuff.

Why come to Comic-Con to promote the film?

Goyer: Comic-Con has become the place to sort of initially mount a campaign whether it is for a comic book announcement, video game, a genre film, so it made sense. I think had we not had a presence here it would have been kind of a glaring ommision and first and foremost everyone would have said we tried to hide something or I don’t know what, but it made sense and I think if they had only been filming for two weeks or something like Chris would not have wanted to do it but because most of the filming, principle photography has been finished and the shape of the film has been carved out, I think everyone felt comfortable.

Is there anything you are looking for from the fans as far as reaction goes or something you are not sure about?

We are sure, no we are sure. Honestly, I have no doubt in my mind that this will be a seminal, not just a comic book film, but a genre film for like this decade of generation. I’m sure.

Goyer was asked what he tried to avoid.

Goyer: We didn’t have a list of what aren’t we going to do, we just approached everything from the standpoint of…fortunately Batman and Chris had talked about this in the press before…Batman is the most realistic in some ways of all the costumed superheroes and he doesn’t have any super powers, and he employs high technology, training and things like that. But the thing that is cool about Batman is that when you are a kid growing up and imaging yourself being him, I mean if you had access to that money and that technology you could be him, it would be unlikely, but you could. You could never be the Hulk or you could never be the Thing or Superman or anything like that. We just approached everything from the standpoint of realism, if he was going to wear a suit, what would he need to do in it? What would the suit require? If he was going to be using a batmobile why would he use it and what would be required of the batmobile, so everything was approached from the standpoint of realism, that was just our rule, so when we were working on the story it was all based on either existing technology, our general rule was technology that is going to sort of be shown in the marketplace in the next ten years or so, stuff that was being developed by the department of defense or existing programs.

Cillian was asked about his audition to play Batman.

Murphy: Well the first part of the question, I think if you ask any male if you really want to get into a real suit, that was a dream come true obviously and then just to get to work with Chris even for that little test was amazing as well and then I don’t know, he saw something in it that he thought maybe he could use for the other characters.

Did they have batsuits for the auditions?

Murphy: They had a few, I think it was the Val Kilmer suit, (Goyer – “I think you can say it”) I had to adjust it like, but it was very hot.

Goyer: When Chris and I went to DC and they had one of the original Michael Keaton suits in the lobby at DC, it was definitely good for its time, but the thing that was remarkable about all those early batsuits is that the cowl part was just one piece and you couldn’t turn your head. We talked about all that stuff and what the material would be like, we knew that it couldn’t be a rubber sort of piece of armour that he had to be able to move and turn his head.

Goyer is also directing Blade: Trinity.

Goyer: There are so different, Chris and I talked about this in terms of their approach. Blade is a really gonzo in your face over the top comic book movie and Batman is much more classic, I think they are both really cool but they could not be further removed from one another. The thing that is interesting about Blade is that first of all its the third movie so people are always wondering are you going to do something new, but the main sort of interest of Blade is the introduction of these other characters. But it was interesting, because I was writing Batman while I was in pre-production on Blade, so I was working with Chris a lot of times from seven in the morning to noon and then I would do pre-production from noon until nine and sometimes during production I would call up Chris and ask his advise about something and I was shooting Blade and sometimes he would call every once in a while and ask, it was kind of a fun experience.

Was it hard to keep them separate?

Goyer: They are so different it was not hard at all because they are completely apples and oranges even though they are both based on comic books they are just totally different films.

What about a Batman Begins sequel?

Goyer: Without giving anything away, organically it sort of lends itself for one and I think people will be happy with sort of where that goes. Not specifically, I mean Chris was orginally saying he would only do the one and just the one and I don’t know we’ll see. I mean I was exhausted after I finished Blade, we ended up shooting 90 days I think Chris is going to end up shooting 140 days on Batman, who knows, I think if you ask Chris now he would say don’t even ask that question because he’s in the trenches and we’ll have to see when he finishes it.

How did they decide on the Batman Begins title?

Goyer: Chris and I talked about it and we were determined to come up with a title when we turned in the script because internally with Warner Brothers we knew that would set the tone and we were talking about how it would be promoted initially. We didn’t want to have the same title of any of the previous films and so I came up with Batman Beginning and then Chris said let’s just say Begins because then when it was announced you can say I’m blah blah Batman Begins, I was like genius. So from that point on it was always that.

So it was never was Batman: The Intimidation Game?

Goyer: No, I think to try to keep people away, scripts didn’t have the Batman Begins title or files that have that, but it was always Batman Begins.

Where are you now with Blade?

Goyer: I’ll deliver in early October so we are mixing and doing sound and effects stuff, we are largely finished editing. We are still tinkering with little things.

What is Comic-Con like now?

Goyer: Its everything, its just evolved and with every year it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It used to be the studios never really had a presence down here per se. But now that all have booths and with every year a self fullfilling prophecy that sort of gains more critical mass. I think the on-line community has been a large part of that, I know everything we say here will posted online in hours, minutes or as you guys are sitting there.

Batman Begins hits theaters on June 17, 2005. Following the press interview above, the presentation to the fans also included a brief clip of Christian Bale and director Chris Nolan who apologized for not being able to be there (see picture above). Stay tuned for more from Comic-Con!

Source: Superhero Hype!