EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview was conducted in late June of 2008 during the press event for THE DARK KNIGHT. – Bill “Jett” Ramey
BOF: With The Joker in this film, I got the sense that there was a lot of BATMAN #1 (vol. 1) in him, if you will, in terms of the fact that “He just is.”
JONATHAN NOLAN: Absolutely. We didn’t want to do the origin because I think that would make him less interesting.
BOF: I asked Chris [Nolan] about that earlier and he said that you pointed it out to him — that what he and David [Goyer] had come up with was very similar to BATMAN #1.
JN: True (laughs). Midway through the process, I went back and looked at the first appearance of The Joker in the books. There certainly are a couple of moments in BATMAN #1 which are almost [identical to some scenes in] THE DARK KNIGHT. [It was] very gratifying to sorta reverse engineer your way back to what the starting point of the character.
BOF: But I also got a THE KILLING JOKE vibe.
DAVID GOYER: Oh yeah, certainly. A little bit of the dynamic between The Joker and Batman…we definitely pulled from THE KILLING JOKE. Obviously there’s some of THE LONG HALLOWEEN in there. There’s some [Frank] Miller stuff. I think in [THE DARK KNIGHT] there’s less of the Denny O’Neil stuff [than what was in BATMAN BEGINS].
BOF: I felt that THE KILLING JOKE stuff was very subtle [in the film] and draws off of him saying — in the comicbook — if he’s going to have an origin, he’d rather…
JN: …it be “multiple choice.” You got that? Alright (smiles). The idea with The Joker is if he had a back-story and if one of the stories he told you was true, somehow, it would reduce the character. It’s more frightening because, in a sense, there is no mystery there. There is no back-story. He is exactly what he presents himself to be — which is an anarchist.
DG: Like you said, “He just is.” [The Joker is] more interesting without [an origin].
JN: Hey man, are you “Jett?”
BOF: Yes, I am.
JN: [extends his hand, we shake] Love the site — wanted you to know that.