Which classic work of 19th century literature inspired The Dark Knight Rises?

Yes, that question really has an answer. Plus a gorgeous new Hobbit poster shows Gandalf visiting the Shire. There's a brand new look at Mega-City One in Dredd. Old allies are spotted in Doctor Who set photos, plus the new companion's name is confirmed!

Spoilers from here on out!

Top image from The Dark Knight Rises.

The Dark Knight Rises

Jonathan Nolan, the screenwriter and brother of director Christopher Nolan, explains that the movie isn't really based on old Batman comic book arcs like Knightfall or recent real-world events like the Occupy Movement. Nope, it's actually based on Charles Dickens's 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities, the sprawling tale of the French Revolution that is probably best remembered these days for its iconic opening line: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Anyway, here's how the two Nolans explain the influence:

Jonathan Nolan: Chris and David started developing the story in 2008 right after the second film came out," he says. "Before the recession. Before Occupy Wall Street or any of that. Rather than being influenced by that, I was looking to old good books and good movies. Good literature for inspiration... What I always felt like we needed to do in a third film was, for lack of a better term, go there. All of these films have threatened to turn Gotham inside out and to collapse it on itself. None of them have actually achieved that until this film. 'A Tale of Two Cities' was, to me, one of the most harrowing portrait of a relatable, recognizable civilization that completely folded to pieces with the terrors in Paris in France in that period. It's hard to imagine that things can go that badly wrong.

Christopher Nolan: It just felt exactly the right thing for the world we were dealing with," says the director. "What Dickens does in that book in terms of having all his characters come together in one unified story with all these thematic elements and all this great emotionalism and drama, it was exactly the tone we were looking for.

There's a bit more at the link, including Christopher Nolan explaining his shock when he realized he hadn't actually read A Tale of Two Cities, even though that does seem like a very Christopher Nolan thing to do. [Coming Soon]

Here's a TV spot.

When asked if pain is the "guiding theme" of this Batman movie - which makes some sense, considering inflicting ungodly amounts of pain is a pretty key aspect of Bane's whole schtick - Christopher Nolan agreed, in the process offering another reason why his trilogy isn't like your standard, more episodic superhero franchise:

"Yeah, in a way. Or consequences. There's a lot about the consequences of actions [in 'The Dark Knight Rises']. There's a lot about being true to where we left things and where we left the characters at the end of 'The Dark Knight.' [We really tried] to push that forward, saying, 'OK, where would that really go if we carried that story on?"

More at the link. [MTV]


The Hobbit

Which classic work of 19th century literature inspired The Dark Knight Rises?

Peter Jackson has released this poster for the first of the two films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, to tie in with the upcoming Comic Con appearance. [/Film]


Dredd

Which classic work of 19th century literature inspired The Dark Knight Rises?

Here's a nice look at the latest incarnation of Mega-City One, courtesy of Empire Magazine. [Comic Book Movie]


Rise of the Guardians

Here's the new full theatrical trailer for the upcoming Dreamworks movie, in which all the legendary figures from childhood — which, yes, includes the likes of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy — are all real and have to team up to defeat the evil entity known as Pitch. [/Film]


The Mortal Instruments

Real Steel and I Am Number Four's Kevin Durand and Immortals and Sherlock Holmes actor Robert Maillet have reportedly been cast as the villains Pangborn and Blackwell in this upcoming supernatural thriller directed by The Karate Kid's Harold Zwart and also starring Mirror, Mirror's Lily Collins, Camelot's Jaime Campbell Bower, and The Borgias guest actress Jemima West. Here's a description of the movie's source material from Coming Soon:

Based on the first book in the popular literary series, "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," the film is set in contemporary New York City. There, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray, discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother, Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures.

[Variety via Coming Soon]


Doctor Who

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Some more set photos from the currently filming episode have emerged, and they are filling in a ton of details about this story that sees The Avengers (no, not those Avengers) star Diana Rigg as a mysterious Yorkshire woman known as the Ice Lady. The Victorian town is apparently called Sweetville, and three of the Doctor's allies from last series's "A Good Man Goes To War" will be showing up - Neve McIntosh as the Silurian Madame Vastra, Catrin Stewart as her sidekick Jenny (who was seen in earlier set photos), and Dan Starkey back as what certainly appears to be the Sontaran warrior-turned-nurse-turned-butler Strax. That last one is a bit of a surprise, as Strax died in that episode, so it's either another Sontaran — which seems unlikely, given the context — or the events of this episode precede "A Good Man Goes To War" from Strax's perspective, or Strax is alive again because... well, why the hell not? Anyway, these allies are reportedly enlisted by the Doctor because of something the Ice Lady does to the Doctor's new companion, as played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. And, as a final detail, the Ice Lady's daughter, played by Rigg's real-life daughter Rachel Stirling, apparently is sporting some serious burn marks on her face. More photos at the links. [Den of Geek and ScreenRant]

And here's a pair of set videos, one of which confirms a couple of key details. In the first video, the Doctor and Jenny are snooping around, and Jenny declares that "Clara died" and that the Ice Lady killed her, although the Doctor says this can be reversed. That's the first real confirmation I've come across that, yes, the Doctor's new companion is indeed named Clara. Also, that seems to go a ways toward confirming the plot synopsis above, although at least some of those finer details might well be inaccurate. [Bleeding Cool]



The Walking Dead

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Only a couple of these are new, but here's a handy compendium of all the season three promo photos released so far. [SpoilerTV]


Once Upon a Time

Star Ginnifer Goodwin previews season two:

"We're going to remember our parallel lives, so we'll be creating essentially a third character. They are going to blend the two characters we've already been playing. It's going to be a brand-new show. But I think it will still be all the characters the fans know and love."

[E! Online]


Falling Skies

Here's the synopsis for next Sunday's episode, "Homecoming":

Hal stumbles across bodies of de-harnessed kids and finds someone from his past. Tom and Anne grow closer. And Weaver's health deteriorates just as Tom discovers he may have been keeping important matters from the group in order to protect them.

[KSiteTV]


Additional reporting by Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders.