News On The Dark Knight Rises

Tom Hardy on Bane, and Nolan speaks!

You've seen the new Empire covers with Batman and Bane, but here's a sneak peek at some of the news on The Dark Knight Rises inside the magazine. Specifically, Nolan himself gives away a few tidbits on the film's plot and setting, and Tom Hardy talks about Bane.

Let's hear from director Christopher Nolan first, and see what he'll divulge about the film. "It's really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne's story. We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after The Dark Knight. So he's an older Bruce Wayne; he's not in a great state.

"With Bane, we're looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn't had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we're testing Batman both physically as well as mentally."

Speaking of physical challenges, what can Tom Hardy tell us about Bane? "He's brutal. Brutal. He's a big dude who's incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. It's not about fighting. It's about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it's nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action."

Costume designer Lindy Hemming also lets drop a few clues to his backstory as she talks about Bane's look. On the mask, she says, "He was injured early in his story. He's suffering from pain and needs gas to survive. He can't survive the pain without the mask. The pipes from the mask go back along his jawline and feed into the thing at his back, where there are two cannisters."

For much, much more from all these people - as well as Christian Bale - pick up the new issue of Empire when it hits newsstands on Thursday. The Dark Knight Rises is out in cinemas on July 20, 2012.

Its prologue, Nolan has confirmed, will be in select IMAX cinemas on December 21. As with The Dark Knight, it will be - according to Nolan - "basically the first six, seven minutes of the film" and will serve as "an introduction to Bane, and a taste of the rest of the film."

Mouth. Watering.