Aaron Eckhart Confirms Two-Face and Two Performances in Dark Knight
by Alex Billington
March 7, 2008
Buzz for The Dark Knight has been a little thin around here, primarily because Iron Man has stolen most of it, but I think it's time to change that. Wizard recently interviewed Aaron Eckhart and talked with him at length about playing Harvey Dent and eventually the villain Two-Face. Not only does Eckhart confirm that Two-Face makes an appearance in the movie, but he talks about how he portrayed the character and how his story is involved in the framework of the movie. While we do have Iron Man coming up a good two months before The Dark Knight hits, now is the time to start getting really excited for both as we get close and closer to the summer movie season.
Eckhart plainly answers their question regarding his appearance as Two-Face, stating "Harvey Dent turns into Harvey Two-Face in this movie. So that answers your question better." With that out of the way, it's time to dive into the deeper realm of Harvey Dent and Two-Face because he is such an intricate character, playing on both the good and the bad sides. Eckhart is thankfully a very talented actor who understands how to perfectly portray a character that maybe good sometimes, bad the others, but will always keep your attention. "If you can relate to a character who's a villain, or not, it's always better. If I can help you to relate to my character, then I think that I'm more likely to keep your attention."
For those like me who want to go into this with as little knowledge as possible so as to experience the full story in theaters for the first time, we're keeping very light on the story details. However, Eckhart does give a great explanation as to what we will see of Harvey Dent and how his transformation will occur. Don't be worried, we're not talking spoilers at all, we're talking about how exactly his character is involved in the overal framework of The Dark Knight.
"I think that right now we're showing who Harvey was before he was scarred, and it's an interesting role that he plays. We're looking at Gotham City trying to get out of its darkness. That's why Harvey is important."
"I have done scenes as Harvey Two-Face. It's interesting. I won't tell you exactly what we're going for, but I think that I can say that it will use all of today's technology to create this character. He's going to be interesting, and I think that's what makes this character important in the movie—you get to see him as he was before, as in the comic books. Harvey is a very good guy in the comic books. He's judicious. He cares. He's passionate about what he loves and then he turns into this character. So you will see that in this film."
This is where Jeremy from CHUD steps in. He posted a very interesting article that is seemingly unrelated to Wizard's interview, in which he said that "Nolan shot complementary takes of Eckhart in Two-Face makeup so he could visually represent the duality of Dent in a less cartoony fashion." What that means, in essence, is that "he's a fifty-fifty split of the same actor giving two wildly divergent performances in the same shot. And because he has two takes of each scene, Nolan has the luxury of shaping Eckhart's performance in post." The moment I read that for the first time, I instantly blurted out "no fucking way!" Apparently both of the takes will be present, but only one will dominate his consciousness at any given moment.
As Jeremy eludes to, the technical aspect of pulling this off may be why they haven't shown any of Harvey Dent or Two-Face in the trailers yet. I'm sure Nolan wants to finish the work and perfect every last detail regarding Dent before he even shows as much as a glimpse of him. Think about the idea of seeing Eckhart's two performances combined into one in post-production, and without noticing the blend, one side of his face is acting maniacal while the other is acting like Harvey Dent. I could be wrong about how I'm imagining this, but that's what it sounds like from Jeremy's explanation.
I'm so overwhelmed by envisioning what all this means, that I don't even know how to respond. I knew The Dark Knight was going to be something profound and life-changing when I saw the IMAX footage in front of I Am Legend that Nolan had shot. Now you throw in Two-Face's duality into the mix and that really blows my mind. While initially anyone might be worried that the movie features too many villains, I think more than anyone out there, Christopher Nolan is the one who knows exactly how to pull off the delicate balance that is required for it to work.
With exactly 133 days and counting until The Dark Knight hits theaters (on July 18th), there is still plenty of time for the buzz to build. I'd suggest you all stay tuned next Thursday, March 13th, as I'm apparently being treated to some footage (and maybe more) from The Dark Knight at ShoWest in Las Vegas. In the meantime, let the discussions begin on Aaron Eckhart and Harvey Dent. And stay tuned for new trailers, interviews, and more hype for The Dark Knight right here on FS.net!
What do you think of Two-Face's appearance and Eckhart's double performances in The Dark Knight? Is it too much, or is it just right?
Reader Feedback - 22 Comments
Woooow! This sounds so amazing! Haha, i even got goosebumps. This is going to be one of the best movies ever. And i really believe that. Not in a "Ah dude, that's the best movie EVER!"-kind of way but in a "Ladies and gentlemen, i present to you, one of the best movies in filmhistory, EVER!"-kind of way. Man, i'm gonna cry watching this knowing that Heath Ledger can't receive the credits he will get.
Markus on Mar 7, 2008
When I read that I thought that maybe they would be overlaying the 2 performances over each other (with transparency) with one performance showing out stronger depending on the situation?
RP on Mar 7, 2008
I think that's exactly what they are going to do.
Markus on Mar 7, 2008
I don't know about it being life changing, but this will be good.
Zach D. on Mar 7, 2008
I think something as simple as transposing one shot over another is too easy. Knowing Nolan and what they've been doing for the film thus far, I'm expecting something much more innovative.
Ian on Mar 7, 2008
So this is how i think the Two-Face character is going to work in THE DARK KNIGHT, He won't be like Tommy Lee Jones' Two-Face, in that he goes and robs banks and diamonds. He will be another version of Batman, only Two-Face has no remorse anymore. He goes and finds the crooks and murderers of Gotham to bring them to justice in his own demented way. He flips his coin to decide whether to kill them or not. Creating a character thats more of a DARK KNIGHT than Batman himself. Harvey Dent is a man who wants change, so after his disfigurement and split personalities, he goes on a Crusade of his own. He finds a murderer and flips his coin and then kills him. The next day in the the paper you see "HARVEY DENT WANTED FOR MURDER". No Batman is forced to go after a man like himself only with different morals now. Interesting thought.
John on Mar 7, 2008
Man i can't wait to see this, I thought the only villian was going to be the joker... I almost wish I didn't know he was gonna be in, it would have given me a real surprise... this movie is going to kill all superhero movies before it (including iron man, which is also going to rock... hard)
Avelanch on Mar 7, 2008
This is awesome. Have any of you seen "In the Company of Men"? Not particularly one for the kiddies, but btw/ that & Thank You For Smoking, I'd say this is the perfect piece of casting. What I like is that they're using effects in an interesting, innovative way. I'm picturing, given Nolan's previous work, more of a splicing-back-and-forth between the two performances, so the background's pretty consistent, but he goes from contemplative to maniacal, mid-sentence. That's just where my imagination went, tho. Tough to tell for sure... SO glad to hear Two Face is finally getting the treatment his character deserves!
Djoser on Mar 7, 2008
That sounds amazing! Two performances at the same time! WOW!
Ryan on Mar 7, 2008
"I'm picturing, given Nolan's previous work, more of a splicing-back-and-forth between the two performances, so the background's pretty consistent, but he goes from contemplative to maniacal, mid-sentence. That's just where my imagination went, tho. Tough to tell for sure…" I'm kind of thinking it'll be like the Gollum/Smegole conversation in the Two Towers. Where different camera angles were used to portray the different personality aspects of the character at war with itself. Having anything more than quick cutting between the personalities, such as over lapping or any cgi work would take away from the grit and realisim that they're going for.
jason_md2020 on Mar 7, 2008
Yeah- I think Smegul's a good comparison, but given the tone of the character and filmmaker it'll probably be a bit shakier, and scarier. Smiegel's scenes in Two Towers are some of my favorite additions by Jackson, exploiting Andy Serkis's talents for a much needed dose of comic relief. I expect none of that from this movie. But who knows? Maybe they will find a funny bone in there somewhere, no matter how subtle... I really like this Picture, btw, which no one has commented on yet. It somehow seems to get across the essence of the character, even though it's just one simple image. Like it. Keep up the good work, boys.
Djoser on Mar 7, 2008
*Fangirl squeal* OHMEHGAWDOHMEHGAWD! Gonna be the best movie ever... I hope your excited to camp with us Alex!
CSpuppydog on Mar 7, 2008
Christopher Nolan was born to make The Dark Knight thats all i can say!!
Curtis on Mar 7, 2008
I got a call from Harvey Dent earlier today, it was one of the coolest things ive heard in a long while
Alexander on Mar 7, 2008
Mr. Dent called me as well!! The time to change is now!!!
Breebaby on Mar 7, 2008
I got a call too. It was strange. The number was 000-000-0000.
Joel on Mar 7, 2008
"I'm kind of thinking it'll be like the Gollum/Smegole conversation in the Two Towers. Where different camera angles were used to portray the different personality aspects of the character at war with itself. Having anything more than quick cutting between the personalities, such as over lapping or any cgi work would take away from the grit and realisim that they're going for." Im thinking the same thing but maybe a CGI shot like motion capture the performance's so you have dent act out the scene out, with all the facial reactions and expressions. then the same for two-face. and then kinda blend each half into each other. might looked a little mess but it be like a inner battle shown on his face..
christopher on Mar 8, 2008
this movie will be good. i will and shall buy my tickets early... believe that!
theTruth on Mar 9, 2008
My take on this is that nolan will be shooting two scenes of the same shot depicting what is going on in Harveys mind. Meaning it shows how Harveys conciousness reacts and how Two-Faces conciousness reacts to a given molment and then possibly showing the coin being flipped to decide on who to let out. Explaining where in the article it says "Apparently both of the takes will be present, but only one will dominate his consciousness at any given moment." Maybe showing both of them arguing to which one of them yells flip the coin! Possibly in a split screen with the same background or like in the Hulk movie where banner is shaving and sees the Hulk in the mirror and the Hulk grabs him.
JMC on Mar 16, 2008
jumanji on May 1, 2008
I think what they mean is that they will shoot each scene (once he's Harvey Two-Face) two times, one where he plays through the whole scene as Harvey and the other where he is Two-Face. The scripted speech will fit along with it, and when they show you the scene it'll randomly cut back and forth between the two speaking. As if he carries on a conversation with himself or addresses someone with different points of view in erratic ways. Either way I also imagine they'll alter the perspective for each - like Harvey sees things pretty clearly but Two-Face's world looks grimy and ruined.
William Hart on Jun 2, 2008
I just saw Dark Knight (LOVED IT) and this is the way I think it works now that I saw it. I think they shoot the scene while Eckhart is Harvey Dent with no Two Face makeup on. Then they shoot the scene again with Two Face makeup on. probably very basic and not to the full extent of the makeup (boy did Two Face look awesome! definately not Tommy Lee Jones). Then they overlay the shots so that half of Eckhart is Dent, the other Two Face. Yurp. Thats it. lol. Go see the movie.
Toni on Jul 18, 2008
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