The Bat-plan was simple: Base-jump off one Hong Kong skyscraper, smash through the window of another, grab the Chinese crime boss, then hitch a drag chute to a passing C-130 cargo plane for a daring aerial escape. And on to Gotham! An instant, no-fuss extradition in the best tradition of American vigilantism. Just another working day for Batman and, presumably, just another feat of digital wizardry for the visual effects team. Except for one thing: Christopher Nolan, director of The Dark Knight, wanted to do it for real.
Which is a funny thing to want when you're making a lavish superhero sequel here in the heyday of the greenscreen. And certainly not an easy thing to get, 88 stories above a juddering megacity on the other side of the world. "They spent weeks in preproduction working out a way to hang the stuntman from one helicopter and have a second helicopter following him with the camera," says Wally Pfister, the movie's director of photography. Two choppers and a stuntman on a string — all to make a comic- book hero seem as credible on film as Frank Serpico or The French Connection's Popeye Doyle. All to make a comic-book movie speak the cinematic language of crime thrillers.
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