Talking Movies: Inside the Premiere of The Dark Knight

Every Thursday, BBC journalist Tom Brook, host of “Talking Movies,” will contribute a post to Anglophenia. He gives you red-carpet access to Hollywood’s biggest stars, with a focus on the many British actors who have invaded our shores. Give him a hearty welcome!

I went to the world premiere of the new Batman picture, The Dark Knight, in New York thispast Monday night: the Caped Crusader is the most American of comicbook icons, but this Batman film is packed with Blighty talent. ChristianBale who plays Batman is Welsh-born; two of the other actors -Michael Caine and Gary Oldman are British, as is the film’s directorChristopher Nolan. What they’ve put together, with a cast of othertalents, is what could rate as one of the best Batman pictures ever.

Atthe world premiere, there were dozens of reporters on the arrivals lineand their focus was on Heath Ledger, the star who wasn’t there. It’snow six months since Ledger died following an accidental prescriptiondrug overdose, but his artistry lives on, astoundingly, in this newpicture. His turn as The Joker has electrified preview audiences. ForLedger’s family, friends, and fans the premiere turned out to be abittersweet affair: the actor was getting the biggest accolades of hiscareer for a high profile role in a big Hollywood picture, and hewasn’t there to enjoy it. Gary Oldman seemed a little pained by it all;he’d clearly come to admire Ledger during the time they spent togetheron the shoot. Whatever sadness one might feel, there is at least somecomfort that the creepy screen villain that Ledger has wrought will beforever preserved on celluloid.

All in all it was a good evening. I enjoyed meeting Michael Caine -he’s very unpretentious and seems authentic. Christian Bale isn’t theeasiest interview; I got the impression that he doesn’t suffer foolsgladly. Maggie Gyllenhaal made some good points about the picture beinga superhero movie for our times, and Gary Oldman was generous with hispraise. The arrivals line was a whirl of frantic sweatiness in thesummer heat – it was hard to think clearly – but I was left with thereassuring impression that Heath Ledger had made a very personalconnection with all his acting colleagues.

My interview with Christian Bale.

My interview with Michael Caine.

My interview with Gary Oldman.

My interview with Maggie Gyllenhaal

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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