In Sir Michael Caine's opinion, Heath Ledger beat the odds and topped Jack Nicholson's Joker from Batman (1989): "Jack was like a clown figure, benign but wicked, maybe a killer old uncle. He could be funny and make you laugh. Heath's gone in a completely different direction to Jack, he's like a really scary psychopath. He's a lovely guy and his Joker is going to be a hell of a revelation in this picture." Caine bases this belief on a scene where The Joker pays a visit to Bruce Wayne's penthouse. He'd never met Ledger before, so when Ledger arrived and performed, he gave Caine such a fright, he forgot his lines.
In the early minutes of each movie in the trilogy, the main villain (Ra's al Ghul, The Joker, Bane) disguises himself as one of his own henchmen, and there is a conversation about said villain, in each scene.
Heath Ledger directed both homemade videos that The Joker sends to GCN. The first video involving the fake Batman was done under writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan's supervision. Nolan thought Ledger had done so well with that sequence, he felt there was no need for him to be there when it came time to film the scene where reporter Mike Engel reads The Joker's statement. He put his trust in Ledger and let him do whatever he wanted, ultimately pleased with the result after he'd seen the outcome.
In preparation for his role as The Joker, Heath Ledger hid away in a motel room for about six weeks. During this extended stay of seclusion, Ledger delved deep into the psychology of the character. He devoted himself to developing The Joker's every tic, namely the voice and that sadistic-sounding laugh (for the voice, Ledger's goal was to create a tone that didn't echo the work Jack Nicholson did in his 1989 performance as the Joker). Ledger's interpretation of The Joker's appearance was primarily based on the chaotic, disheveled look of punk rocker Sid Vicious combined with the psychotic mannerisms of Malcolm McDowell's character, Alex De Large, from A Clockwork Orange (1971).
While filming a chase scene on Lake Street, the Chicago Police Department received several calls from concerned citizens stating that the police were involved in a vehicle pursuit with a dark vehicle of unknown make or model.
(At around one hour and twenty-four minutes) Heath Ledger improvised when he started clapping inside his jail cell in a mocking and sardonic way, as Gordon is promoted. The clapping was not scripted, but Christopher Nolan immediately encouraged the crew to continue filming, and the sequence was included in the final cut.
Heath Ledger's sudden death from drug toxicity on January 22, 2008 prompted immediate speculation over this movie's state and Ledger's disposition prior to death. Soon after Ledger's death was announced, Warner Brothers issued a statement that verified that Ledger had finished all of his scenes in principal photography,, as well as post-production fulfillments (looping), thus making The Joker his final, completed movie role. Rumors abounded that playing the intense role had taken its toll on Ledger's mental state, causing him to become depressed and take a wrong combination of drugs as a result. However, his family has since put such rumors to rest, by stating that far from being depressed, he had a lot of fun playing the role. Ledger did suffer from insomnia throughout his life, and would often take sleeping pills together with other prescription drugs (something his sister had actually warned against the night before his death). Unfortunately, the mix he took on that night proved to be a fatal combination.
In the documentary I Am Heath Ledger (2017), Heath Ledger's vocal coach on this movie, Gerry Grennell, stated that Heath had to continuously lick his lips due to his prosthetic coming off whenever he spoke. He eventually made this a tic of the character as he was filming.
Trouble arose during a public relations campaign before the movie's release, when a website related to this movie sent out several cakes purportedly from The Joker, containing a cell phone inside which made the cake vibrate, and had wires sticking out, making the cake look like a bomb. One such news station, which received one of the cakes, believed it to be an actual terrorist act, and the entire building had to be evacuated.
Despite endless speculation on which actor had been chosen to portray The Joker, Heath Ledger had always been amongst writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan's foremost choices for the role. Ledger and Nolan had met during the Batman Begins (2005) casting process for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, but Nolan and Heath agreed Ledger was wrong for the part. When casting the part of The Joker, Nolan met with several other actors before Ledger, but found them reluctant to take the role because of the popularity of Jack Nicholson's performance in Batman (1989). Upon meeting with Ledger again, Nolan recognized him as the perfect choice for the part. When asked the reason for this unexpected casting, Nolan simply replied, "Because he's fearless."
Aaron Eckhart spoke about a unique experience he had with Heath Ledger during the hospital scene. He said that before lines were exchanged, Ledger would just walk around, in character, mumbling to himself in an odd manner. All Eckhart could do at the time was just watch him while still in character. This went on for several minutes, until Ledger got close to him. Eckhart felt compelled at this point to fiercely raise his hand up. Immediately, Ledger grabbed Eckhart's raised hand in an equally matched fierce manner. When the scene was over, Ledger, now out of character, told Eckhart "That's what acting's all about."
The bus crashing backwards into the bank in the opening sequence was much harder to pull off than was anticipated. The bus had to be taken apart and reassembled inside the building (a disused post office), concealed behind a large false wall, and then propelled backwards with an air cannon.
The character of Reese is an allusion to The Riddler, who attempts to reveal the identity of Batman. Much like Edward Nygma whose name sounds like "enigma" (as in E. Nygma), Mr. Reese sounds like "mysteries".
Two-Face's disfigurement was created through computer graphics rather than prosthetic make-up, as writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan felt that, no matter how good the make-up was, it is still inherently adding something onto an actor's face, when Two-Face's appearance requires part of his face to be burned away.
The Batman theme is heard only twice in this movie, as composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard decided that a heroic theme that a viewer could hum would overlook the complexity and darkness of the character. Hearing the tune only twice would create what Zimmer calls "a musical foreshadowing".
Cillian Murphy reprised his role as Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. The Scarecrow from Batman Begins (2005) in this movie. This makes him the first actor to reprise the role of a Batman villain in the whole film franchise. He also reprised his role in a cameo in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
The infamous growl performed by Christian Bale was much rougher in this movie than Batman Begins (2005), and has been parodied countless times due to its extreme nature. However, the common misconception is that Christian Bale was fully responsible for this voice. The real voice, during filming, was more toned down, and then heightened to a rougher, grittier vibe during post-production under the decision of writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan.
Christian Bale admitted he did not pack on as much muscle weight for this movie as he did for Batman Begins (2005), in part due to keeping with the new Batsuit design, which is leaner and more flexible.
David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan collaborated on the story of this movie. The screenplay was written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan. After watching this movie, Goyer stated "I can't believe my name is on a movie this good."
Many believe that one of the key reasons why the Academy moved from five Best Picture nominations to ten was because two of the best received movies of the year, this movie and WALL·E (2008), were not amongst the five nominees.
According to Christopher Nolan, Bruce Wayne's reasons for needing a new Batsuit (to be faster and more agile) were, in fact, the real reasons why Nolan wanted the Batsuit to be redesigned for this movie.
Heath Ledger posthumously won a total of thirty-two Best Actor in a Supporting Role awards for his work on this movie, including the Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Critics' Choice award. The only awards for which he was nominated, but didn't win, were the Satellite Award (which went to Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road (2008)) and the London Film Critics' Circle Award for actor of the year (which went to Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (2008)). Michael Shannon and Mickey Rourke played comic book villains in movies of their own; Shannon as General Zod in Man of Steel (2013), and Rourke as Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2 (2010).
Blood appears on-screen four times: on the face of the fake Batman that The Joker hangs, on Harvey's pillow in the hospital, on Batman's arm when a dog attacks him, and briefly on the back of Lieutenant James Gordon when he is shot during the funeral scene. Most of the violence occurs off-screen, or is obscured by camera angles.
(At around one hour and fifty minutes) When Harvey holds The Joker at gunpoint in the hospital scene, you can see that The Joker is actually holding the revolver's hammer with his finger, thus preventing the shot in case Harvey's coin lands on "bad" side.
When it was announced that The Joker would be main antagonist in this movie, it was rumored that Paul Bettany would be playing the part. However, when Heath Ledger was cast, writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan came under criticism from the media, as they thought Ledger was completely wrong for the role. These concerns were quickly silenced when the movie came out, as Ledger received universal praise for his performance.
Elaborate, interactive marketing campaigns were launched in the months leading up to the release of this movie. One of these was an event at the 2007 San Diego Comic Con called "Why So Serious?", which involved fans following clues hidden around the city. The legions of Joker-painted fans ended up congregating in the street across from the convention center, where one of their numbers was welcomed into a black Escalade (with Gotham license plates) that had just pulled up. After a moment, the fan started screaming and the SUV sped away. Later that day, a Gotham City newspaper was circulated reporting that a man believed to be The Joker was found beaten to death. Included were crime scene photos of the fan who had gotten into the Escalade, and a mention that he was found with a playing card in his hand, on which was scribbled "See you in December".
In one draft of the script, a reference to Robin being related to Rachel Dawes was considered. The character of Dick Grayson was not explicitly mentioned, however, Rachel Dawes is revealed as being a relative of the Grayson family. Christopher Nolan had it removed because he didn't want to build hopes up about Robin appearing in a future movie.
Aaron Eckhart described his portrayal of Harvey Dent as simultaneously coming from, and being apart from, the same world as Batman (Dent is the white knight of Gotham, as opposed to the Dark Knight). His challenge was "looking for the similarities and the tension between the two; to find what's similar to Batman, and then what's opposite to him." Eckhart prepared for his role by studying split personalities.
The Joker's make-up was composed of three pieces of stamped silicone, which took less than an hour to apply to Heath Ledger on each day of shooting. Ledger described it as "new technology which is much quicker to apply than regular prosthetics". He felt like he was not wearing any make-up at all.
(At around thirty-four minutes) During the Hong Kong action scene (to bring Lau back), Batman shoots time-bombs on the glass, which has a time of 2:22 minutes. The bombs explode almost exactly after two minutes and twenty seconds in real-time, which shows that the action could happen in almost two minutes.
Bruce Wayne wears a new Batsuit in this movie. This Batsuit was an improvement on the outfit from Batman Begins (2005), and made Christian Bale more comfortable and agile in his performance. It was constructed from two hundred unique pieces of rubber, fiberglass, metallic mesh, and nylon (producing an impression of sophisticated technology), with elastic banding added for tightening the costume to fit Bale. The gauntlets had their razors made retractable and able to be fired. The suit's cowl was based on a motorcycle helmet and separated from the neck piece, allowing Bale to move his head left/right/up/down, and comes equipped with white eye lenses for when Batman turns on Bat-sonar.
(At around two hours and ten minutes) In Batman (1989), Batman used the grapple gun on The Joker, causing him to fall to his death. In this movie, Batman also used the grapple gun on The Joker, this time to save him from falling.
While filming in Chicago, Wanted (2008) was the neighboring production, and Morgan Freeman worked concurrently on both movies. At one point, Wanted comic book writer Mark Millar visited the set, but without permission. The security and Lauren Shuler Donner (who also visited the set at that time) caught Millar sitting on the Batpod. Millar was escorted away from the set.
Unlike his counterpart in both the comics and Batman (1989), The Joker in this movie does not have his hair and flesh permanently bleached by toxic waste. His trademark grin was never definitively identified in the comics as a disfigurement. However, its appearance here, as scars deliberately carved into his flesh, echo the character's original inspiration, the character Gwynplaine from Victor Hugo's novel The Man Who Laughs (1928).
(At around thirteen minutes) The date seen on Lieutenant James Gordon's security camera photo of The Joker taken during the bank heist reads "2008/07/18", which was the U.S. theatrical release date of this movie.
Jerry Robinson, one of the original creators of The Joker back in 1940, was hired as a consultant on this movie (The Joker was to be portrayed according to his first two appearances in the comics, in which Robinson was involved). His "Batman" co-creator Bob Kane had earlier been hired as a consultant for Batman (1989).
(At around nineteen minutes) Bruce asks Lucius Fox for a new Batman suit with a head piece that is "easier to look around in". This is a comical reference to older Batman movies in which the actors playing Batman wore a suit that had a solid head piece covering the head, neck, and shoulders. This made it impossible for the actors to turn their heads and instead had to turn their entire torso to look at their targets.
A video game adaptation was in production, but was cancelled due to technical difficulties in development. Though the game was picked up by British game developing company Rocksteady and re-worked into Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009).
(At around fifteen minutes) When Harvey Dent disarms the witness in court, he removes the magazine and holds it in his little finger. This is actually the correct procedure for emergency reloads and correcting malfunctions.
The infamous interrogation scene originally ended with Batman, after getting the information he needs from The Joker and dropping him on the ground, quickly kicking The Joker in the head right before he leaves to save Rachel, almost as an afterthought. However, this part was removed in editing, because Christopher Nolan felt the action seemed "a little too petulant for Batman".
Just as it was when filming Batman Begins (2005), writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan oversaw every shot, because there was no second unit (Not withstanding Joker's homemade videos which were "directed" by Heath Ledger).
Aaron Eckhart is the third actor to play Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face in a theatrical movie. Billy Dee Williams played a pre-disfigured Dent in Batman (1989), but he didn't become Two-Face until Batman Forever (1995), where Tommy Lee Jones took over the role (in that movie, Dent's transformation was briefly shown in a flashback where Batman tried to save him from Boss Maroni, and Harvey was already Two-Face at the beginning). This is the first Batman movie to depict Two-Face's origin, starting with Harvey Dent as Gotham's District Attorney, and eventually becoming Two-Face.
The IMAX cameras used in filming proved to be problematic for the crew. Dialogue that was recorded on film was very noisy, so it had to be replaced during post-production. Also, the cameras were so heavy that special mounts were created to support the weight. Finally, IMAX cameras took five days to process film negatives, as opposed to conventional dailies.
(At around fifteen minutes) A witness on the stand pulls a gun out on Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face during the trial and tries to shoot him. This is a nod towards Two-Face's origin story in the comics, where in a similar trial scenario, crime boss Sal Maroni is on stand and throws sulfuric acid in Dent's face, resulting in his scarring.
Bruce Wayne makes his final appearance in this movie (out of the batsuit) a whole forty minutes before the end of the movie, when he is reacting to the sound of Gotham General Hospital exploding shortly after his car accident.
The Joker's fate at the end of this movie was left ambiguous. This is in line with the comics, as The Joker would routinely be presumed dead to end a story, only to see him return in later stories very much alive.
Shortly before this movie's DVD debut, Warner Brothers were under legal action by the city of Batman, Turkey (pronounced "but-mun") in November 2008. Even though it wasn't used in the title, the character name of Batman was considered an infringement.
In the original Batman comics (specifically, Detective Comics #80, 1943) the surname of the plastic surgeon who attempts to repair Two-Face is "Ekhart". In this movie, Two-Face was played by Aaron Eckhart.
The lenses that cover Batman's eyes during the hostage rescue scene, give him a look that's close to the comic and animated adaptations, where Batman's eyes are often visible in the dark, while the rest of his body is blackened out.
Matt Damon was offered the part of Harvey Dent, but had to turn it down because of a schedule conflict with Invictus (2009), which also starred Morgan Freeman. "Invictus" was directed by Clint Eastwood, who coincidentally was considered for playing Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face in Batman (1966) television series.
According to the British Board of Film Classification (or BBFC), this film received the most complaints of the decade from British viewers. It was the subject of forty-two percent of all letters received by the BBFC in 2008.
(At around one hour and sixteen minutes) When Harvey Dent is being transferred, his holding vehicle is attacked by The Joker with various guns. One is an R.P.G., and a S.W.A.T. member is heard asking if it is a bazooka, which is a signature weapon of The Joker's girlfriend and partner in crime, Harley Quinn.
Along with Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Glory (1989), Crimson Tide (1995), and Independence Day (1996), this is one of only five movies whose purely orchestral soundtracks won the Grammy Award for Best Score despite not being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Held the record for reaching the $500 million mark the fastest, after forty-five days. The former record holder was Titanic (1997) (ninety-eight days). It has since been surpassed by Avatar (2009) (thirty-two days), The Avengers (2012) (twenty-three days), Jurassic World (2015) (seventeen days), Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) (ten days), and Avengers: Endgame (2019) (seven days). As of April 2019, it has not been surpassed.
The false title given to this movie during production, Rory's First Kiss, was named after writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan's son Rory. When filming began in April 2007, the production was code-named to thwart onlookers and trespassers. All over downtown Chicago, fliers were posted with this pseudonym (alongside an "RFK" logo) and also listed the address for this movie's production offices.
With 4,366 locations, this movie held the record for opening in the most venues on its release date. (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) opened in 4,362 theaters the previous summer.) It held the record until the release of Iron Man 2 (2010), which opened in 4,380 theaters.
For the first time in feature filmmaking, IMAX cameras were utilized. Writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan had wanted to shoot in the IMAX format for years, thus using this movie as his opportunity to do so. Six major action-heavy sequences, along with various high-altitude shots, were filmed on the IMAX ratio. (These sequences are available on the bonus disc of the 2-disc DVD edition.)
(At around thirty-five minutes) Batman leaps from the roof of Two IFC, the tallest building in Hong Kong at the time, at over 400 meters (1,312 feet) tall. Some time later, he appears to be gliding down to the same rooftop. His target is in fact One IFC, which is about half as tall and has a similar ornate crown.
Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago was closed every night, starting at 7 p.m. during the summer of 2007, to accommodate filming. The street was open during the day, however, and the several Batmobiles and Tumblers were visible, just on the other side of the barricades, covered only with sheets.
Hans Zimmer often used bizarre methods when developing his musical score, particularly with scenes with The Joker which would involve playing piano wires with razor blades, and guitar with shards of metal.
The console for the Bat Sonar resembles "The Listening Post", Mark Hasen and Ben Rubin's dynamic portrait of on-line communication, especially when Lucius Fox and Batman switch it off. The installation is currently on display at the Science Museum in London.
On Thanksgiving weekend, 2007, fake four-page tabloid-size Gotham Times newspapers were distributed at various public events. Headlined "City at War - Batman Saves Entire Family", every article teased about events in this movie, and everything in the handout was geared toward this movie, including the weather ("Gloomy and overcast") and advertisements for Gotham National Bank, the Gotham Girl Guides and recruitment for the Gotham Police Department.
(At around ten minutes) Near the beginning of the movie, there is a scene where Batman pauses at the top of a parking garage, looking down a spiralling entrance ramp at an escaping van and planning the exact time to jump. Christian Bale did this exact same thing with a chainsaw in a spiralling staircase in American Psycho (2000).
Chinese actor Edison Chen can be seen escorting Lucius Fox from the helicopter into the building, and later, when the police go in for the raid at Lau's office. The Hong Kong scene contains a scripted set piece where Batman drops into the harbor. However, it was scrapped because environmental officials found out that the water was polluted.
The sky-hook device is, in contrast to many other Batman gadgets, not fictional. The full name is the "Fulton surface-to-air recovery system", and was developed in the 1950s by inventor Robert Edison Fulton, Jr., for the Central Intelligence Agency. The first pick-up of a human happened in 1958. The experience is described as less violent than that of opening a parachute.
(At around twenty-eight minutes) In Batman Returns (1992), Catwoman finds a gap in Batman's armor and sticks a claw into him. In a possible nod to this, when describing the new armor for the Batsuit, Fox tells Wayne that it would do okay against cats.
(At around two hours and five minutes) The camera angle shooting up at The Joker as he beats Batman with a pipe is reflective of the graphic novel scene in the Batman series "A Death In The Family", in which The Joker beats up Robin (Jason Todd) with a crowbar.
This movie held the box-office record for the largest opening weekend of all time. It made $158,411,483 in its first weekend of release. Another superhero sequel, Spider-Man 3 (2007), set the record the previous summer. This movie held it until the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), which had an opening weekend of $169,189,427, which was beaten by The Avengers (2012), with $200.3 million. This is the fourth Batman movie to break the opening weekend record following Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), and Batman Forever (1995).
(At around two hours and fifteen minutes) In the final fight in the tower, after Batman pulls The Joker up by a cable, right before the police officers arrive to arrest The Joker, he hits the camera while giving his monologue and waving around with his arms, you can see the screen view shaking for a moment.
When asked if Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two Face would return in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Aaron Eckhart spoke about the conversation he had with Christopher Nolan about it. He said that he told Nolan that people keep asking him about it, to which Nolan responded "...yes?" Eckhart then asked "...well, am I (returning)?" He then said that Nolan looked at him with a serious face and replied "...of course, not."
In this movie, despite his name, The Joker only performs three actions that could pass for jokes. The smoke bomb in the bank, the pencil trick, and his fake seductive greeting to Harvey Dent while in the nurse's outfit. (He also claps sarcastically when James Gordon is appointed Police Commissioner, and throws his hands up in mock despair when the hospital he targets (Gotham General) doesn't immediately go up in flames.)
This movie on Blu-ray features the IMAX version of this movie. Any sequence filmed with the IMAX cameras fills up a widescreen television at a 1.78:1 ratio, thus giving a grander view from the top to bottom. The rest of the movie plays at a 2.35:1 scope ratio, which delivers a panoramic view. It is only on Blu-ray that this movie can be watched this way, as on a 4:3 television, the transition would be too jarring. However, the IMAX sequences can be viewed as a special feature on the DVD version.
The Joker's make-up and look was partially inspired by Brandon Lee's character in The Crow (1994). Interestingly, both Lee and Ledger died during, or just after, the making of their respective projects.
While filming the bank and police department scenes at the post office, an unrelated fire broke out in a top floor mechanical room, and many onlookers believed that the smoke and fire was related to the filming.
Sam Rockwell, Hugo Weaving, and Heath Ledger were the finalists for the role of The Joker, Rockwell and Weaving ended up playing villainous roles, in Iron Man 2 (2010), and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), respectively.
All of the main action in this movie takes place over nine days and nights, by far the shortest time span of The Dark Knight trilogy (Batman Begins (2005) takes place over a few decades, and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), even when removing the flashbacks that elongate its time span to a few decades, still covers many months within the main action). The only scenes in this movie that are implied to take place outside of these nine days and nights are the brief flash-forwards in the final scene of Harvey Dent's funeral (which would probably not take place for at least one week) and Gordon breaking the bat signal. The "day" with the most screentime in the movie is the final day, which covers forty-eight minutes (a full third of the total runtime). Furthermore, unlike the other movies of the trilogy, which contain copious flashbacks, this movie only contains one flashback, when Harvey Dent remembers flipping his coin to Rachel while lying in his hospital bed. With that flashback, this movie not only becomes the only movie in the trilogy where Bruce Wayne does not have a flashback, but also the only movie where the content of the flashback references a previous scene within the movie's main action. The flashbacks of the other movies all either reference moments that take place outside of the movie's main action (a flashback to Wayne's childhood), or moments that, while being part of the main action, are shown for the first time in the flashback.
IMAX camera technician and consultant Wayne Baker has a cameo that is the only close-up shot in the IMAX format in this movie. He sits on the loading dock and reacts to the Batpod emerging from the wreckage of the Batmobile.
An explosion was filmed at the Battersea Power Station in London. The fireball created calls from panic-stricken local residents, who assumed a terrorist attack had occurred at the out-of-use station. The Battersea Power Station first received popularity after being featured on the front cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 album "Animals". (A pig is seen flying over the power station.)
When it was released on July 18, 2008, this movie made $67.2 million in a day, the most lucrative opening for any movie. Because of its pent-up demand, midnight showings all over the country were sold out, resulting in $18.5 million in late-night showings alone. This movie held the record for biggest one-day intake until The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009).
The Bat Symbol at the beginning of each movie in the trilogy foreshadows something that happens later. In this case, the Bat Symbol is made up of fire and it symbolizes Harvey Dent's face being burned, which later turns him into Two-Face.
(At around one hour and thirty minutes) The Joker says that Rachel is located at Avenue X and Cicero. Cicero is a prominent street in Chicago (where a lot of the movie was filmed) located at 4800 West (48 blocks from State Street).
Christopher Nolan said on the Blu-ray that he ended up having to place a "very small visual-effects component" into the scene of blowing up Gotham General Hospital that he'd planned to film on IMAX with no added visual effects at all. Between the time they'd gotten the agreement to demolish the building and were able to actually go film, somebody came in and stole all of the windows and all the metal frames from the top two floors. Visual effects supervisor Nick Davis and his crew were able to very subtly just put in some window reflections and match the real row of windows that the building still had.
The masks that The Joker and his partners wear at the beginning of the movie during the bank robbery are strikingly similar as the masks that The Joker and his henchmen used in his first appearance on Batman (1966) season one, episode five, "The Joker Is Wild".
The 70mm IMAX prints of this movie each consisted of forty-five reels, which once assembled, were roughly nine and a half miles (fifteen kilometers) long and weighed four hundred fifty pounds (two hundred four kilograms).
In the "Two ships" game theory scenario, The Joker is seen with all three of the Chechen's dogs. In Greek Mythology, Cerberus is the "hound of Hades", who guards the gates of Hell, and is usually is presented as a three-headed dog. Though this may come off as purely coincidental, The Joker's deeds and personality are emblematic of Pluto, Lucifer, and other demonic entities, and the image of him with three dogs, gives that notion further validation.
35mm VistaVision cameras were used, to provide additional coverage of some of the action sequences, as there were only a limited number of IMAX cameras available. Though rarely used since the 1960s, the format provides a larger frame area than regular 35mm, and is horizontally-gated in the same manner as 65mm IMAX.
The serrated edges on the side of the Batman's gauntlets were inspired by the pulp character Tony Quinn, the Black Bat, whose origin (he was a district attorney victim of an acid flinging gangster) was borrowed for Two-Face.
In addition to the Lamborghini being a "bat"mobile, its color scheme is an homage to Batman. The wheels are black, the color is dark grey, and the brake calipers are vibrant yellow. In the animated series and some comic versions, the cowl and cape are black, the suit is dark grey, and the oval around the bat symbol and his utility belt are yellow.
A common misconception is that Heath Ledger was method acting when playing the role of The Joker. There is no indication that he tried to "live" as his character, and there is no evidence that he drew from his own life experiences when acting the part.
(At around one hour and forty-five minutes) Batman asks Alfred to find the names of any police officers who have family members staying in the hospital. Alfred texts Gordon with two names "Ramirez, Berg". Charles Ramirez-Berg is an acclaimed professor of radio-television-film at the University of Texas at Austin who, amongst other honors, was mentioned in Robert Rodriguez's autobiography as his favorite professor.
(At around one hour and fifty-five minutes) When Harvey Dent confronts Wuertz in the bar, a small statue of Marvel superhero Captain America can be seen on the shelf behind Dent. The star on Captain America's chest is clearly visible, and he is holding his shield in his right arm. Odd to see a Marvel figure in a DC Comics movie.
(At around twenty-five minutes) When The Joker interrupts the crime boss meeting, Gambol (Michael Jai White) shouts "Enough from the clown!" This is a reference to White's performance in Spawn (1997). He shouts this same line to a wise-cracking Violater, played by John Leguizamo, another comic book villain that also wears clown make-up.
In the comics and Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Barbara Gordon is the daughter of James Gordon, as well as Batgirl. But in this movie, Barbara Gordon is James' wife (Melinda McGraw). Although we do see that James has a daughter in this movie, her name was never mentioned. James Gordon's daughter is named after his wife Barbara, and they also have a son named James, Jr.
The Batman film franchises have attracted the longest list of actors and actresses who have Oscar and Golden Globe wins or nominations. Eighteen Oscars, thirty-three Golden Globes. The franchises have won three Oscars. Jack Nicholson: three Oscars, nine nominations. Seven Golden Globes, ten Nominations. George Clooney: two Oscars, four nominations. Four Golden Globes, seven nominations. Sir Michael Caine: two Oscars, four nominations. Three Golden Globes, eight nominations. Tommy Lee Jones: one Oscar, three nominations. One Golden Globe, three nominations. Christian Bale: one Oscar, one nomination. One Golden Globe, one nomination. Halle Berry: one Oscar. One Golden Globe, three nominations. Heath Ledger: one Oscar, one nomination. One Golden Globe, one nomination. Kim Basinger: one Oscar. One Golden Globe, one nomination. Nicole Kidman: one Oscar, two nominations. Three Golden Globes, six nominations. Ben Affleck: two Oscars. Two Golden Globes, one nomination. Morgan Freeman: one Oscar, three nominations. Two Golden Globes, four nominations. Anne Hathaway: one Oscar, one nomination. One Golden Globe, two nominations. Marion Cotillard: one Oscar, one nomination. One Golden Globe, two nominations. Michelle Pfeiffer: three Oscar nominations. One Golden Globe, five nominations. Tom Wilkinson: two Oscar nominations. One Golden Globe, three nominations. Uma Thurman: one Oscar nomination. One Golden Globe, three nominations. Liam Neeson: one Oscar nomination. Three Golden Globe nominations. Gary Oldman: one Oscar nomination. Danny DeVito: one Oscar nomination. One Golden Globe, five nominations. Maggie Gyllenhaal: one Oscar nomination. One Golden Globe, two nominations. Eric Roberts: one Oscar nomination. Three Golden Globe nominations. Matthew Modine: two Golden Globe nominations. Joseph Gordon-Levitt: two Golden Globe nominations.
Michael Jai White (Gambol) was on the Collider Podcast (March 2019), where he talked about the atmosphere of working on the set of this movie. His description of an extremely relaxed movie set and Heath Ledger (The Joker) confirms Ledger's parents' explanation that he did not in fact suffer from depression while playing the psychopathic role. White described Ledger as being "chill", a great co-actor with whom to work and someone who was having "a blast".
Gotham City's civic heraldry combines elements of New York City's and Chicago's municipal emblems. Examples include Gotham-area license plates (based on Illinois plates) and Gotham's garbage trucks (whose door emblems directly quote New York City's old Sanitation Department logo: a large red sans-serif capital letter S atop a medical caduceus, all within a circle with a text border).
Not as frequent as it was in Batman Begins (2005), but there are some considerably impactful ironic echoes "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." "I am sure a businessman of your stature would understand." Repeated within the same scene. "I make my own luck", which Harvey says when he's about to try Sal Maroni, is echoed by Rachel saying, "you make your own luck" right before the car chase. Harvey's fundraiser is absolutely loaded with them, subtle though they may seem. Bruce and The Joker enter the party announcing that they're only just in time; both immediately ask "Where is Harvey Dent?" upon arriving; both spill champagne out of a glass, et cetera.
Harvey mentioned early in the movie that "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain", foreshadowing his and Batman's eventual fates, from that same scene, when the Russian ballet dancer suggests that Harvey might be Batman, she uses a menu so that half of Harvey's face is covered, also note the number of times the light only falls on the right side of Harvey's face.
(At around one hour and sixteen minutes) In the chase scene where The Joker is firing a bazooka at the police car Harvey Dent is in, on the side of the truck The Joker is driving, the letter "S" has been painted on ahead of the word "Laughter", which is already imprinted on the truck, making the word "Slaughter".
Prosthetics make-up supervisor Colin Sullivan created three different sculptures for The Joker's scars. He made a silicone mold combining the three looks, using a technique he learned on The Last Samurai (2003).
The Joker's primary handgun/sidearm is a Glock 17-two tone converted to full-auto, with a stainless slide and a Glock 18 standard thirty-three-round magazine, which has been converted to full-auto as the gun lacks the Glock's 18's firing selector switch on the side of the slide.
The ferries depicted are CGI models of the Molinari-class of Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry, which is run by the New York Department of Transportation, offers a free twenty-five-minute ride across New York harbor from St. George in Staten Island to South Ferry in Manhattan.
Based on early concept art produced by Jamie Rama, a potential scene was pitched that would have featured The Joker in a slaughterhouse. No further information or details on this scrapped scene have been released since this movie's release.
(At around forty-five minutes) At the fund raising party, Bruce remarks about Harvey's previous campaign slogan "I believe in Harvey Dent". He then says, "Look at that face", which turns out to be ironic, since Harvey later becomes a gruesome Two-Face villain that is hard to look at.
(At around one hour and forty minutes) In the original English version, when Lau is sitting on a pile of burning cash, The Joker asks Checken "Where's the Italian?", while in the Italian version, he asks "Where's Maroni?"
In the original origin story of The Joker, he was disfigured by acid, whereas in this movie, it was done by a blade. This ties into the notorious 1947 murder and disfiguration of Elizabeth Short, who was referred to as "the Black Dahlia". The first time The Joker describes his scars, he says that they were made with a knife, and were intended to create a smile. When Elizabeth Short was killed, this is exactly what was done to her face. Until the Manson murders in 1969, the Short murder and mutilation represented the most hideous and deeply shocking crime in all of Los Angeles history. The concept in this movie, that The Joker had a smile carved into his face, adds to the terrifying nature of the character.
(At around fifty-five minutes) Batman overhears a call between The Joker and the 911 operator, where The Joker says "Eighth and Orchard. You'll find Harvey Dent there (believed to be missing at the time)." Batman finds two dead men, one named Patrick Harvey. The other was Richard Dent, who was a Hall of Fame NFL player for the Chicago Bears, with much of this movie being shot in Chicago.
(At around forty-two minutes) In the scene where the fake Batman gets hung by The Joker, there's a reference to Eminem's song "The Real Slim Shady". On the joker card, it says "will the real Batman please stand up?"
The Joker wearing a nurse costume is most likely a nod to a scrapped idea from Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, where the Joker was originally going to be dressed like Madonna. The only reason it wasn't used was because a cross-dressing villain was considered to be too silly.
In a recent interview the original TV Batman, Adam West, commented on the Chris Nolan Batman franchises as well as the other more recent, darker iterations of the character: " Batman himself, Adam West, has spoken candidly about modern versions of The Caped Crusader, calling for more humour and less angst. "The new movies, Batman is very full of vengeance and deep-seated angst and so on," West told a roundtable of journalists at New York Comic-Con while promoting the animated movie Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders, via Den of Geek. "They're very dark." He added: "Enough violence. Let the costume work for you. And put a little humour into it. I think it's about time to relieve that all of that kind of attitude of vengeance and 'I can't take it anymore, I'm going home and I'm going to suck my thumb.'"'
In scenes where Batman speaks with the three people who know his secret identity, Alfred, Rachel, and Lucious, while dressed as Batman, he used his Batman voice, but when speaking with them as Bruce Wayne, he used his normal one.
This movie marked the second Oscar nomination for Heath Ledger in which he has acted with a Gyllenhaal sibling. He worked with Maggie Gyllenhaal's brother Jake in Brokeback Mountain (2005), which had earned him his only other Oscar nomination.
The mask that The Joker (Heath Ledger) wore during the bank heist at the beginning is strikingly similar to the mask that Cesar Romero wore during the end of Batman (1966) season one, episode five, "The Joker Is Wild".
The skyhook retrieval process is a real one devised by the CIA. It was used in the James Bond movie Thunderball (1965) at the end. In that movie and this one, the hero is shown holding another person when the plane grabs him. It was Domino in Thunderball (1965), and Lau in this movie.
Ron Dean appeared in The Fugitive (1993), which was also filmed in his native Chicago. It also won an Oscar for Tommy Lee Jones for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. His character, like Heath Ledger's, was inspired by a Victor Hugo character. Gerard was modelled after Inspector Javert from Les Misérables, and The Joker was inspired by Gwynplaine from The Man Who Laughs (1928). Jones also played Two-Face in Batman Forever (1995).
The other motorcycle that Bruce Wayne rode was a MV Agusta F4 1078. Which is a newer model in the same series as the 1999 MV Agusta F4 750 Serie Oro which Angelina Jolie rode in Gone in 60 Seconds (2000). They both have a similar paint scheme and exhaust.
The two mafioso clans from Gotham City are named Maroni and Falcone. Maroni is the family name of a famous Italian politician (it also means "nuts"), while Falcone was a real-life judge who was murdered by the Italian Mafia.
Two-Face, in this movie, is similar to the villain of the James Bond movie, GoldenEye (1995), Alec Trevelyan, who is Janus. They are both two-sided, believes in the same aspect, and is a friend of the protagonist until something happens and turns against them. Also Javier Bardem Bond villain Silva was inspired by Heath Ledger's The Joker and Tom Hardy's Bane in The Dark Knight trilogy.
(At around one hour and twenty-two minutes) When Batman goes head to head with The Joker facing off and staring Batman down as he heads toward him on the Batpod. This is a similar re-creation of when Batman faced off with The Joker in his Batwing in Batman (1989).
According to the judge, The Joker's henchmen are charged with seven hundred twelve counts of extortion, eight hundred forty-nine counts of racketeering, two hundred forty-six counts of fraud, eighty-seven counts of conspiracy to commit murder, and five hundred twenty-seven counts of obstruction of justice, for a total of two thousand four hundred twenty-one charges. Judging by the number of charges, that is enough to put away the henchmen for life.
According to writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan, the main theme of this movie (in contrast to "fear" in Batman Begins (2005)) is "escalation", personified in The Joker, whose emergence comes as a result of Batman's pressure on the mob, and it just climbs from there.
The joker says, "All the old familiar places", as he begins attacking Batman hes referring to a old song from WW2: "I'll Be Seeing You". It goes, "I'll be seeing you/In all the old familiar places/That this heart of mine embraces/All day through".
Goof, not a point of trivia. In the opening sequence, you can see the amount of bags that are ready to be loaded onto the bus is between eight and ten bags, yet we only see The Joker load four bags onto the bus. Lau later tells the mobsters around the table that they were robbed of $68 million. $1 million in $100 bills weighs twenty-two pounds, meaning if the bags are loaded evenly in multiples of a million, each bag would have contained $17 million, and would have weighed in excess of 350 pounds per bag.
(At around fifty-five minutes) When Batman is atop the Sears Tower monitoring telecommunications, a voice says "8th and Orchard, you'll find Harvey Dent there". The voice is very similar to that of Jack Nicholson, who iconically portrayed The Joker in Batman (1989). Nicholson has a very distinguishable voice, and although unconfirmed by Christopher Nolan, there is much speculation amongst fans that it is indeed either a Jack Nicholson cameo, or tribute to him.
Nicky Katt has been in two Batman movies. In this movie as the S.W.A.T. officer who rides shotgun in the armored car chase. In Batman & Robin (1997), he plays the motorcycle racer who wanted to race Barbara Wilson (Alicia Silverstone).
In the beginning of the movie, pay close attention to the masks that The Joker and his gang wear. They appear to be an homage to the mask the robber wore while robbing a racetrack in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956).
(At around one minute) When The Joker is standing on the street waiting to be picked up by his henchmen, over his left shoulder is a sign Payday Store. They are about to rob a bank, and a typical expression for that sort of day is "payday".
Marks the second time that Heath Ledger played a villain. In Ned Kelly (2003), he portrayed Kelly as a Robin Hood-like figure. He was, however, considered to be an antagonistic character in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009). Due to his untimely death, he was unable to finish the role, making this movie his only completed villainous role.
This is part of the reason why Harvey Dent would personally blame Gordon for Rachel's death, Lieutenant James Gordon: "All that was left in the vaults were marked bills. They knew we were coming. As soon as your office got involved." Harvey Dent: "My office?! You're sitting down there with scum like Wuertz and Ramirez."
When this movie was released, there were many rumors that stated Ben Key and Eddy Westcott played two boys on the boat of civilians in the ferry scene. These rumors have not been confirmed nor denied by the actors.
Harvey Dent believes that the police and Batman decided to save him instead of Rachel, when in reality, The Joker set it up such that they'd be saving the person they hadn't intended to save. Bruce's comments at the fundraiser also count for those familiar with Two-Face from the comics. Bruce: Look at this face. This is the face of Gotham's bright future.
In the Japanese dub, Keiji Fujiwara was very likely cast as The Joker due to his role as another ax-crazy psycho, Ali al-Saachez from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (2007), which was being broadcast in Japan at the time this movie debuted there.
In this movie, Bruce resides in a penthouse at Wayne Tower instead of Wayne Manor, which is being reconstructed after the events of Batman Begins (2005). Batman operated out of a secret underground bunker in Gotham City instead of the Batcave. In the comics, Bruce left Wayne Manor and lived in a penthouse at the Wayne Foundation building and Batman from a secret sub-basement ("The Batbunker") from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.
The scene where the Joker (Heath Ledger) jeeringly yells at Batman (Christian Bale) to run him over in the Bat-pod is slightly reminiscent of a scene in Tim Burton's "Batman" where the Joker (Jack Nicholson) urges Batman (Michael Keaton) to hit him with the Batwing.
The Dark Knight DVD Extra features 46minutes of footage of fictional GCN TV program hosted by Mike Engel and Lydia Filangeri hosting the show Gotham Tonight with interviews with major characters building up the activities in Gotham between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face in this movie is different from the comic books, Batman: The Animated Series (1992) and Batman Forever (1995). In the comic books and in Batman Forever (1995), Harvey Dent became Two-Face when Sal Maroni disfigured Dent by throwing acid onto Harvey's face. In the 1992 animated series, Dent's face gets disfigured in an electrical fire explosion when he chased Rupert Throne, and in this movie, Dent is disfigured in a building explosion when Batman rescues him from an abandoned building which The Joker imprisoned him and rigged to explode.
The Joker turned Harvey Dent into a villain because he wanted to turn the District Attorney into a monster and to turn him into the very criminal Dent, Batman, and Commissioner Gordon fought against, and The Joker wanted to expose Dent's darker side by manipulating Dent into thinking that The Joker wasn't really responsible for Rachel Dawes' death and his disfigurement, and carrying out revenge killings on those responsible (Wuertz, Ramirez, Maroni, Gordon, et cetera) and that if the people learn about Dent's crimes, they would lose hope, and that Gotham's "White Knight", who fought to rid Gotham City of crime and corruption, would turn out to be no better than the criminals that he helped Batman and Commissioner Gordon lock up behind bars.
Ironically, Commissioner Loeb tells Lieutenant James Gordon, "You're unlikely to discover this for yourself" about what being a Police Commissioner is like. Even people who didn't know Gordon would be Commissioner after Loeb's death were reasonably assured he would eventually follow a similar career path to the comics.
Patrick Leahy: (At around fifty minutes) The older gentleman that confronts The Joker at the party thrown by Bruce Wayne for Harvey Dent. Senator Leahy is a huge Batman fan, and arranged an early showing of the movie on July 12th, as a fundraiser for the children's section of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont. He also appeared in Batman & Robin (1997) and as a Batman: The Animated Series (1992) voice.
Buster Reeves: (At around one hour and sixteen minutes) A Joker thug. He appears in the trailer of The Joker's semi-truck, as he hands The Joker his weapons, and he fires them at the police transport. He then rides in the passenger seat of the cab of the truck as The Joker drives.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The address 250 52nd Street, where Rachel Dawes is killed, and where Harvey Dent brings Gordon's family is a palindrome: it's the same forwards as it is backwards. The way it's framed with a zero in the middle, and the same numbers in opposite directions on either side suggests the opposite sides of Dent's favorite coin, the two sides of his face, and by extension, the duality of his nature.
The Joker only looked at three of the people he killed in this movie. He shoots the bus driver while looking back at the hostages. Two of Gambol's thugs he stabs while looking up. He kills Gambol while looking at another thug. He throws the cigar, lighting Lau on fire and turns to talk to The Chechen as Lau dies. The three he looks at are the thug he kills with a pencil, the policeman stopping the semi-truck before the chase, and the policeman that is clearing the hospital out, which he shoots with a pistol while in a nurse uniform. This character choice is a reference to the graphic novel "The Man Who Laughs", in which it is mentioned that The Joker "just opened fire and didn't even look at the people while he killed them."
In one of the final scenes of this movie, where Harvey flips his coin for Batman, Gordon, and himself, the outcome of the flips foreshadows the future of each of the three characters. Batman received "Tails", the "bad" side; at the end of this movie, he asked Gordon to blame all of the city's troubles on him, resulting in Batman's reputation being disgraced and scorned. On the other hand, Gordon and Harvey received "Heads", the "good" side, and were both honored as heroes at the end of this movie.
After his transformation, Two-Face flips his coin eight times. It comes up on the good side five times for The Joker, Sal Maroni, Detective Ramirez, Dent, Gordon's son (though Two-Face didn't catch that one) and the bad side three times, for Detective Wuertz, Maroni's driver, and Batman.
This movie used numerous elements of The Joker's first appearance in Batman #1, published in 1940. In this movie and Batman #1, The Joker publicly announces his crimes before committing them, removes his make-up and disguises himself as a police officer to gain access to a person he threatened to kill, uses a powerful bomb smuggled into jail to escape, steals and kills not for personal gain, but simply to create chaos and disorder, and infringes upon the city's old-fashioned mobsters.
There are many elements from various Batman graphic novels, either verbatim or slightly re-cast. In The Long Halloween, Batman, Gordon, and Dent fake Dent's death; in this movie, Gordon's death is faked. Also in The Long Halloween, Batman poses as a S.W.A.T. officer; in the movie, Gordon does. The Joker's reference at the end of this movie to pushing Dent over the edge mirrors his social experiment with Gordon in The Killing Joke, in which The Joker attempts to drive Gordon insane by making him have a really bad day. A lot of the interaction between Batman and The Joker is taken from The Long Halloween, specifically the interrogation scene in the movie, which is also is similar to elements of The Dark Knight Returns. The copycat Batmen were inspired by The Sons of The Batman from The Dark Knight Returns. Finally, in The Killing Joke, The Joker explains if he "had a past, it would be multiple choice." This is referenced when The Joker tells two different stories about the origin of his scars.
This is the only movie in The Dark Knight trilogy where there is not a surprise revelation as to who was the instigator of the criminal events, and the identity of a villain. This is also the only movie in the trilogy where the League of Shadows does not play an active part in the plot.
It was confirmed in August 2018 that had the ferry passengers triggered the detonator, they would have blown themselves up rather than the adjacent ferry. This follows The Joker's theme of misleading his victims.
(At around twenty minutes) When Harvey Dent discusses Gotham's politics and referencing Ancient Rome, Rachel brings up Julius Caesar, which leads Dent to saying "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain". In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", the title character is portrayed to be a man of notable ignorance, whose "partial deafness" implies that he only listens to that which he deems relevant, rather than being an open-minded leader. In the aftermath of Harvey Dent's transformation into his "Two-Face" persona, he loses his sense of reason, instead, only discussing matters that relate to Rachel's murder and his "betrayal" by Gordon and Batman. When Batman "kills" him for crossing the line, it almost mirrors Brutus' slaying of Caesar, a man who was his friend, but was no longer serving his people the way to which he swore.
Michael Jai White gave an interview with the YouTube series Vladtv in 2019, where he stated that his character of Gambol didn't originally die in the script he was given. In the way Gambol's final scene was originally filmed, White put his hand up to his face and fell down after The Joker had cut his cheek open (from the knife being inside of his mouth) which would have given Gambol half of a similar scar that The Joker had. White went on to say that in the script he was supposed to interact with Cillian Murphy's The Scarecrow character later on with the appearance of the scar on his face. He then went on to speculate that because of Heath Ledger's death, more than likely, that Christopher Nolan wanted to preserve as much of Ledger's performance as The Joker as possible, and simply shortened the knife scene in post-production to make it look like Gambol was killed, so that little to no re-shoots or edits to The Joker would be needed.
In each part of the trilogy, Batman/Bruce Wayne has either a friend who turns into the villain, or vice versa. In this one, Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face is an ally of Bruce Wayne, then afterwards opposes Batman, blaming him for Rachel's death, and his transformation.
The identities of the Joker's clowns in the bank heist, whose names you would only know through the script or through watching the scene with subtitles. The robbers are: Dopey: Alarm man (one of the two robbers who enters by rappelling on a cable from a vacant office across the street). Is shot in the back by Happy with a suppressed pistol. Happy: The guy who shoots Dopey, then runs downstairs and drills into the vault. As soon as the vault door unlocks, he is shot by Grumpy. Grumpy: The driver of the stationwagon, entering through the lobby with Chuckles and Bozo. He is shot in the shoulder by the Bank Manager (as Bozo tricks the Manager into using his last shotgun pellet). When Happy remarks that he was told to take out the alarm guy, Grumpy remarks that he was told something similar, and shoots Happy. He then loads their satchels with money, and Bozo helps him place them by the door. When they're done, Grumpy draws his pistol and aims it at Bozo, believing that The Joker has Bozo to kill him after they load the cash, unaware that Bozo is The Joker. The Joker shrugs and says that actually, he kills the bus driver. Grumpy is confused, until seconds later, when a school bus bursts through the doors and runs over him. Chuckles: He is the guy riding shotgun with Grumpy when they pick up The Joker (as Bozo) on the street corner. When they enter, he announces their arrival by firing a submachine gun into the ceiling, then overpowers a guard. He is killed when the Bank Manager shoots him in the back with a sawed-off shotgun. The Joker (posing as Bozo): Handling crowd control, The Joker sticks primed grenades into the hostages' hands so they will be focused on holding on for dear life. He wounds the Bank Manager after tricking him into using his last round, using an automatic Glock 18 pistol modified to use extended stick magazines. After the school bus arrives, The Joker shoots and kills the driver, and finishes loading the money. As he is about to drive away, the Bank Manager asks him what he believes in. The Joker momentarily doubles back over to the Manager, sticks a gas grenade in his mouth, and unmasks himself to reveal his clown make-up, before driving off.
The novelization clears up a few details about the movie, such as making it possible to understand Dent's Knight Templar tendencies. Bruce is skeptical that Dent could have a skeleton-free closet, and decides to do some digging. What he finds is that Dent's father was a police officer who abused his mother, and whenever the police were called, they'd look the other way. Eventually, Dent's father killed his mother while he was away at school. This explains Harvey's initial distrust with Lieutenant James Gordon at the beginning, due to Gordon having dirty cops in his special unit (like Wuertz and Ramirez, to be specific). Bruce eventually realizes he's been digging so hard because he's jealous.