The Batmobile - Documentary Special (2012) Movie Script

NOLAN: There's something incredibly primal
about the relationship...
...between man and machine.
It's extraordinarily powerful.
It's almost like the myth becoming reality.
Well, you look at the comics themselves
and how much they've changed over the years.
When you see it, you go,
"That's so cool! I wish I had one of those."
We wanted to raise the bar and build
the best Batmobile there ever was.
USLAN: The origin of Batman is so primal
and emotion filled.
When Bruce Wayne was a young boy...
...he saw his parents murdered
before his eyes.
And at that moment, in the belief
that one person can make a difference...
...he made a vow to get the bad guy
who did this...
...and to get all the bad guys...
...even if he had to spend the rest of his life
walking through hell... honor that commitment.
As a man, I'm flesh and blood,
I can be ignored, I can be destroyed...
...but as a symbol...
As a symbol, I can be incorruptible.
I can be everlasting.
One of the attractions of Batman as a
superhero is that he doesn't have superpowers.
You are just an ordinary man in a cape.
- I never said thank you.
- And you'll never have to.
He dedicated his life to fighting crime... no one else in Gotham City
would have to suffer the way he did.
SCHUMACHER: He is an ordinary person
doing extraordinary things... stop injustice.
The Batmobile is the way he gets there.
I've got to get me one of those.
The very first Batman story was in
Detective Comics, number 27, May 1939.
And right from the get-go, Batman needed
to get from place to place in the city... he drove Bruce Wayne's red sedan.
And in 1941, Bill Finger, the writer...
...decided to take what Bob Kane
had been drawing...
...and dub it the Batmobile,
and then working with Jerry Robinson...
...craft it as something that began
to look a little darker...
...a little bit more serious,
and a little bit more bat-like.
The Batman! Come on.
When the movie serial started,
you had real cars.
Let's go.
USLAN: The 1943 Batman movie serial
was a 1939 Cadillac...
...which was the car
Bruce Wayne was driving.
But it seemed like if the top was up,
it was the Batmobile.
If the top was down,
it was Bruce Wayne's car.
Come along, fella,
you're going with us to the Bat's cave.
It didn't have any bat symbology...
...they didn't have any budget
to build fins for it. It was very simple.
DIDIO: When you hire a new artist for DC
to work on Batman... of the first things they want to do
is they want to invent the Batmobile.
What was happening around 1950...
...was an editorial decision
to modernize Batman.
The existing Batmobile has a crash...
...Batman breaks his leg,
and as he's recuperating...
...he's sitting there drawing up plans
for a brand new Batmobile.
The Batmobile elongated,
the Batface on it grew in size...
...and was far more prominent...
...and the various artists through the years
of the 1950s continued to modify that.
It had different kinds of weapons...
...different kinds of devices
from story to story...
...depending on what the writer needed
to get him out of some kind of a fix.
I actually have seen a Batmobile
in real life.
I've actually seen the '60s
Adam West Batmobile.
Still one of my favorites
just because it's the first one.
The first iteration of the Batmobile
I ever saw was the TV show.
I remember as a kid
that was a massively important part...
...of what the appeal of Batman was.
The TV Batmobile was created
by George Barris...
...whose daytime job was customizing cars.
BARRIS: The producer, William Dozier,
called me from 20th Century Fox...
...says, "We're doing a Batman TV show...
...and we'd like to create a Batmobile.
Now, you've got 15 days and $15,000."
I said, "Wait a minute, 15 days?"
But the challenge was worth it,
so I said, "Let's go for it."
And of course the big part is
that Ford Motor Company...
...had the basic car that we used.
I bought the concept car, the Futura,
from Ford Motor Company for $1.
It gave me pieces already
that I could make fit...
...but this car had to be a star.
What I had to create was a fantasy
and basically we started wrong.
We had it in a dull gray primer
with a fading white stripe...
...and we'd come out of the Batcave.
I said, "Stop. It ain't gonna work."
So immediately I run it back to the shop,
I painted it a gloss black...
...and then I went and got
sign painting glow paint.
I went with red-orange because I wanted
to bring out the lines.
Boom, I take that to the Batcave,
and out it comes and Dozier said:
"Ah. That's more like it."
When I first saw the Batmobile...
...I was kind of in awe...
...because it had so many wonderful gadgets
and things that it did.
I feel that we had the first car phone.
That was so my agent could reach me.
This is supposed to be a jet-powered car.
The actual tube is a 5 gallon paint can.
I was a kid and I remember racing home
to see the first episode of that...
...and it was a big deal.
The Batman show breaks bigger than
anybody ever expected.
I drove the Batmobile most of the time...
...and that's why Burt Ward, as Robin,
was white-knuckled...
...because I did things with the Batmobile
maybe that shouldn't have been done.
I would come toward camera...
...swing the thing around
in a big splash of gravel...
...trying not to hit anyone.
Because the kids loved it.
Come on, Robin. To the Batcave.
We haven't one moment to lose!
The Batmobile represents freedom
in a way because, as a kid... completely lose yourself in the fantasy
of being that character...
...getting to drive that car.
I was probably 4 or 5
when I got a die-cast toy of it...
...and it had the jet burner on the back
and some orange flames.
I've got a couple of them. I've got the Matchbox
one since I was a kid. I still have it.
I've got a 16th scale and a 32nd scale.
My wife, when we were dating,
she walked into my place...
...and she said,
"You're one of those guys that... know, you get nervous when you walk in
and see all the toys on your shelves."
The number one car
is what we call the hero car.
That is the original Batmobile
that the actual Futura was made from.
That is the car that used a lot of close-ups
on the stars in the car.
WOOD: The car has been rebuilt
a couple of times...
...because when they wrecked it during
the filming of the TV show...
...they didn't have a stunt car for this
until later on.
We made five cars that were functional cars,
and two exhibition cars.
I pulled molds off of the original car...
...and all the expensive cars
were all made out of fiberglass...
...on Ford Galaxy chassis.
WOOD: They went on tour,
they went around to supermarkets.
It brought hundreds of people.
To this day, 60 years later,
these cars still draw crowds...
...and they still go out on tour.
One Halloween evening
I got permission to take the Batmobile...
...and leave the studio... I went trick-or-treating,
in costume, in the Batmobile.
I couldn't convince anyone to go with me.
They thought I was nuts.
"Trick or treat."
"Oh, my God! There's Batman,
and look, there's the Batmobile!"
Oh. It was so funny.
And it lasted about three houses,
then I had to come back.
Well, we enjoyed driving it
many times for fun.
Batchutes, these are real parachutes,
the ones used for race cars.
I'm coming down the 101 Freeway
and I pop my Batchutes.
Going the other way
was a highway patrolman.
The Batmobile itself
that was in the TV show...
...actually works its way
into the comic books themselves...
...because the books want to be reflective
of the success the show was getting.
Super Friends TV show
started in the 1970s.
They also based their animated Batmobile
after the Lincoln Futura model.
Throughout the 1970s, there had
to have been about a dozen variations...
...and that continued through the 1980s.
There was no set template for a Batmobile.
You could turn to 1986, Frank Miller
deconstructs Batman in graphic novel.
He rethought what Batman was.
It's a darker time, it's a very dystopian world.
He needed something big and heavy
and that was this Batman Assault Tank.
It was like, wow.
This was the first time
we've really seen anything quite like that.
I think when I think of the Batmobile
I always think of the classic...
...Michael Keaton, the first Tim Burton movie,
really low to the ground.
When Ben Melniker and I
acquired the rights to Batman in 1979... took 10 years before the first dark
and serious Batman movie came out... 1989, thanks largely
to the genius of two people:
Tim Burton and my dear friend, Anton Furst.
Up until that time, comic-book movies
were, I think, seen more as light.
The only one that I can recall which
was a big movie, was Superman...
...but, you know, Superman is a much more
positive, acceptable character...
...for a big movie, rather than some
dark internalized guy...
...who dresses up like a bat.
So, I mean, it was--
It felt like kind of new territory...
...for that kind of movie at the time.
USLAN: To get an audience
to suspend its disbelief...
...and buy into the fact
that there could be a guy...
...seriously getting dressed as a bat...
...that took a lot in order to accomplish that.
Part of that is the effectiveness
of the Batmobile.
I wasn't interested in making the TV show.
I was much more interested
in making a darker version...
...more what the roots
of the comic book was.
Just going back to the psychology
of what the guy is trying to do...
...he's trying to scare people,
he's trying to make a mythic...
...almost supernatural persona...
...because he is a real person
and he's just--
You know,
he's trying to intimidate and frighten.
So therefore, the intention
of the Batmobile was... look as imposing as possible.
The Batmobile became an interesting problem
because which way were we to go?
We didn't want to put it in any particular
period. We just went into pure expressions...
...into the car and taking elements
of the Salt Flat races...
...of the '30s and the Stingrays of the '50s.
CROWLEY: He's also taken reference from
people who've broken land-speed records... the Bluebird, you know,
with the big jet engine.
The science of the times is jets.
We made a little clay maquette
to see that we got that right.
We got the basics of it right,
then we did it full size.
One of the funny things was Tim
came in and said, "It's really great.
The only problem is," he said,
"how do they get in it?"
There wasn't a door. I'd forgotten.
I'd never thought of a door.
So then John Evans and I told him:
"Well, why don't we get the whole
canopy to move forward, like a jet?"
The same time the body was being made...
...the actual engineering side of it was made.
SMITH: We've got two of them.
One was a Chevy Impala.
The other one was the ugliest pink Oldsmobile
Cutlass convertible you'd ever seen.
They had what they call a box chassis... we could cut this
and extend the prop shaft...
...and that's why we chose those cars.
Plus, of course,
they didn't cost very much money.
We've got to get them ready,
service them up to speed...
...test them, and make sure it all works.
ACKLAND-SNOW: Tim Burton said,
"What are you gonna do about headlights?"
My wife had a Honda Civic
and the lights were that way...
...and I thought, if you turn them upside down,
we put them there, and they worked.
I turned up behind a Ferrari
in a traffic jam...
...and I thought,
"Oh, look, there's a big red, round light."
So I went to Ferrari, they said, "How many
do you want? I said, "Make it eight."
I was in a traffic jam again.
Right beside me was a Routemaster bus
with a big sort of filler cap...
...and that's what you see on the car.
We had a guy that used to bring
all this aviation scrap.
The intake fan was off
the emergency generator...
...that dropped down out of the wing
of a Vulcan bomber.
The tailpipe was different. The tail end of the jet
was off a Bristol Viper jet.
The design that we finally ended up with,
which I love, was just sort of unexpected.
It made us kind of laugh
because it was tough...
...but it was kind of perverse.
It had a weird quality to it
that I can't quite put my finger on...
...but it still had the bat kind of motif to it,
but something else.
It just was an aggressive thing.
And also just the right sort of
paint job and texture...
...and a kind of gun-metal quality to it... give it that sort of scary,
kind of aggressive persona.
It could actually go much faster
than the amount of room we had... know, just by the time it got up to speed,
you were off the studio lot.
I actually drove it in the film at one point,
as well. I was Batman, yeah.
Where he machine-gunned the door off,
that was me...
...and one of the other guys, Barry Whitrod...
...doing all the bullet hits
and working the guns.
We actually had three of us
stuffed into that little car.
When we shut the lid the first time out...
...and he got in with the costume
and the door shut...
...and his little ears were sticking out,
trapped in the door. Ha-ha-ha.
ACKLAND-SNOW: Bob Ringwood,
who was the costume designer...
...made what they call the Batmobile hood
where his ears are just three-eighths shorter.
I did drive it for a second.
I don't think they wanted me to drive it,
given my driving record.
I took it for like 50 yards or something...
...but I was used to, like a Ford Fiesta,
so, you know...'s a little different in terms of feel.
- Get in the car.
- Which one?
ACKLAND-SNOW: There was a paint
called Flip-flop, from Japan.
When you sprayed, one way it was purple,
the other way it was black and a bit of blue...
...and that's how we got that color.
The trouble is it was very sensitive
if you scraped it.
If you've seen the film, you'll see
Kim Basinger taking her shoes off.
Let's go.
Why did she take them off?
Because every time she used
to get out of the car, she used to scrape it.
And the details involved with the car
are unbelievable.
What we wanted to do is
get brutal violence into it...
...and all the intimidation
that comes out of its image.
What I really liked about that Batmobile
was the torpedo sense of it.
It's just this relentless attacking machine...
...and cleverness of what they did
for its handling serious turns... kicking out cables
to make it spin around.
This is a Batman that had to be
taken immensely seriously...
...because of the weaponry
that was presented for the Batmobile.
It's everything that a young boy
would just love to drive.
I need a new car.
A little bit later on,
after our '89 Batman movie...
...Batman: The Animated Series began...
...and they introduced their own version
of the Batmobile...
...which for purposes of animation,
couldn't be so detailed and complex.
MURAKAMI: Everything about
Batman: The Animated Series...
...was a reflection of 40 years' worth
of Batman to kind of look at.
We were able to take those 40 years
and sort of distill it all down into one thing.
And I think the Batmobile reflects that.
It was sort of lightning in a bottle.
For a long time, that too became
a lot of people's true image...
...of what the Batmobile would be.
My favorite Batmobile
would have to be the Val Kilmer one.
The first Batmobile was beautiful.
And so I thought our job was to sort of
refine it and make it our Batmobile.
The Batmobile Schumacher
designed for Batman Forever...
...reflected a certainly more colorful Batman,
and it all was an integrated look and feel.
It was a radical rethinking
of what Tim Burton had done.
To tell you the truth, it actually
started as five separate designs...
...that we built five models of...
...and they all represented
sort of different aspects of design.
Joel decided,
"This isn't the direction I wanna go.
I wanna do something more organic
and something more animalistic."
My first thought was Giger...
...because of the sensuality and anatomy...
...of every machine that he designs.
So I got to talk to Mr. Giger...
...and I asked him to design a Batmobile,
which he did.
It was an incredible design.
Almost a tarantula with not as many legs.
Just four legs.
Or four wheels, I should say.
And I really didn't know how
we could incorporate that into the movie...
...or how it would quite function.
LING: You would have had to probably
just do them as CGI...
...and we wanted
to get a real visceral sense... that you're not just doing everything
in CGI.
We wanted this to drive on streets
and feel that you could come around a corner.
Out of the design process,
what became interesting...
...was the idea that there's something
underneath this car.
It's like a breathing machine.
We wanted this to feel sexy and mean
at the same time.
I didn't look at cars for influence as far
as design goes. I looked at a lot of animals.
And a lot of microbiology as well.
Jellyfish and creatures
that live deep in the ocean...
...some of them look like spaceships.
And just their forms and how fluid they are,
are so perfect.
If you look at a bat's intrastructure,
the wings... can see kind of their little bodies
through their bat wing.
So investigation of the wing
kind of started playing with...
...ideas of wrapped enclosures...
...where you had an engine
that you then took wrappings around... that you could see the engine
but you couldn't really see the engine.
So it is a Gigeresque feeling.
When I saw the sketch, it's like, it's not a car.
It was an animal.
How am I gonna build that?
FLATTERY: I would do a three view,
a front view, side view, rear view... execute a scale model.
We didn't know how to go about this.
Nothing like this had been sculpted
or built before.
And we had to sculpt it in layers.
You do the underlayer
and then pull that off...
...and you sculpt the rib cage,
and then you tool that.
So it all had to be done separately.
We also had to figure out
how to pull molds off of clay...
...without the clay being destroyed.
And we had to trust
that it was gonna go together.
When you're building a car like that,
you can't fit it on a normal car chassis.
It was a scratch-built chassis.
It was built by Tommy Fisher's effects guys,
and we did the body.
They ultimately come together
and they're assembled...
...and they become the vehicle.
FLATTERY: Charley Zurian did most of the car
in carbon fiber.
Carbon fiber is used mainly
on race cars and jet fighters.
FLATTERY: We needed the strength of what
carbon fiber could give us for the parts...
...and it reduces weight by a ton.
We built two, a stunt vehicle and a hero.
Where you can close the canopy.
He has room for his ears.
LING: Its fin would split
when it went to supersonic... the idea of that
is to keep the single fin...
...and then as he's hitting, like, top speed,
you see this split open.
FLATTERY: One of the distinctive features is
the bat symbol on the wheels.
They devised a Sid gear
that goes about 6000 RPM in there... keep that symbol vertical.
It was a really cool environment
inside the shop...
...with a bunch of guys that,
like, build stuff, right?
So you can imagine
what was going on in there.
There was this one guy who built a go-cart
and he was driving it in the shop.
ZURIAN: That's what you need are those kind
of guys, all with the same passion I have.
When you can just take anything,
a vision you have, and actually go and build it.
We rolled some tube stock and...
You know, a tube inside of a tube,
welded a mini-bike to it...
...and built this vehicle
that is a hoop that you ride in.
That was fun.
We used a hot-air balloon motor
for the flame.
In order to get the flame to extend,
we used propane with nitrous oxide.
FLATTERY: The first time that got tested
was in the shop on a bench top...
...and it was propped up
at a 30-degree angle...
...and we lit that thing up and it set off
the whole sprinkler system in the building...
...because the flame shot out so far.
We dialed that back a little bit.
Half the body is behind the rear axle.
So when you turn the corner,
you gotta think twice.
The front's going to the right,
the rear's going to the left.
Joel still doesn't know this to this day,
but I that car up...
...two days before we were shooting it.
I was the first one to test drive it.
I took it out on the street
in front of the shop...
...and tested the braking system to make sure
we could get it to spin.
If you look at the pedals,
there's three pedals.
There's the gas, front brakes, rear brakes.
I got going down the street at about 40
and then hit the brakes.
It almost got all the way around.
And it didn't make it,
it just hit the chain link.
That wing was so long it just:
It made a hellacious noise.
It was composite.
So anywhere up and down the street
you could hear that thing.
FLATTERY: I just wadded the whole wing up
and took off 2 feet of it.
I was not everyone's favorite person
in the shop that day...
...because it was a scramble to get it fixed.
Whoo! Ha-ha-ha!
I remember when any of my friends
brought their children...
...or my godchildren to the set...
...and I would let them sit in it,
they just freaked out.
And then the big boys liked it too.
I mean, everybody wanted to sit in it
and have their picture taken.
It was fun.
The Batmobile, to me, signifies "sexy."
You get behind the wheel of a Batmobile,
you're ready to fight some crime.
I think the Batmobile is important
because it's a symbol.
Worst car ever!
I want a car. Chicks dig the car.
In Batman & Robin,
I said I'd love to make this twice as big.
It was a totally new design. This was gonna
be very long, inspired by the '30s...
...where the car just seems to come at you
forever and ever.
I've never made a longer fender in my life,
to this day.
BELKER: And then in the script,
it was written that it was a single-seater... this time, for the first time.
A quarter-scale model is done
so you can work relatively fast and quick... get the shape all worked out.
That data is picked by a computer... that surface will translate
into a 3D form.
It was really the early 3D days
of working like that.
Originally it had no fins.
We presented it to Joel.
He just thought it needed
two giant, bat-inspired wings in the back.
And it gets milled in full size.
And the chassis and everything
was all done parallel.
We did vehicle testing at Whiteman Airport.
We wanted to make sure
that the chassis ran fine.
We did burnouts, everything it had to do.
That was fun. And it worked.
The burners, that was kind of
an extensive development...
...because we were trying to get
the smaller burners out the tail.
There was no preexisting flame source.
We tried everything.
Hacking on leaf burners, everything else.
We actually had to end up
building those from scratch.
So we had a propane flame
and the injection pump...
...with metal in solution, metal salts,
so we could change the color of the flame.
And it was so expensive.
I think that's why they did just one.
ZURIAN: They took the gamble of doing
everything with one car, which is--It's a risk.
So I didn't have to do any crazy stunts.
All of that was done in miniatures or in CG.
When the thing jumps around
or drove along the arm...
...that's a CG model, not a real model.
DILLIN: The car has so many batteries
with all the neon that we run on it.
Up in here in the side panels, they're LEDs.
We found this guy
who had developed this luminous paper.
We had gotten these backlit panels...
...which are now kind of standard
in all cars almost...
...of this cobalt blue lighting.
You could see the rocket inside of its mouth,
so to speak.
And you also wanted it to look a little
like it's the bat logo...
...but it could also be fangs.
The wing had enough length to it... could actually see that it's almost like
it was a flying bat at the moment.
And it had this incredible silhouette.
ZURIAN: No conventional production tires
would fit that car.
The tires we used were basically a prototype
that the manufacturer creates...
...oversized, for this car company,
they're used for development.
And since they come without tread,
it was an opportunity to cut tread.
So I thought, let's try another bat logo.
It was cool. As the car would roll,
it would leave a trail of bats behind it.
You could always tell where the car was
if you followed the bats.
You look at the interpretation of Batman
in film and TV over the years...
...and see how different they are.
Same thing in animation, same thing in comics.
I worked on Batman: The Animated Series...
...but it was the revamp of Batman
that I had a little bit more input on.
The biggest thing was trying to make
the Batmobile animatable...
...but sleek, dark, and fit into the style
that we were going for for Batman.
And then the Batman Beyond Batmobile,
we were just trying to make it just really weird.
We were trying to make sort of a flying car.
Because it was the future,
we didn't have to worry about it having wheels.
It didn't have to function like a real car.
It was kind of a cross between
a jet and a race car.
In the story line of "Batman: Hush"... get a glimpse of a hall
in the Batcave...
...that we had never seen before,
which has all the old Batmobiles.
DIDIO: You looked at different interpretations
of the Batmobiles.
It really did capture particular eras in time.
And therefore validated almost every story
that was ever told for Batman.
USLAN: In Batman: The Cult there was
a monster-truck version of the Batmobile...
...that's kind of utterly bizarre.
So there have been great variations
on a theme over the years.
If Batman's going to be effective
as a crime fighter in a city...
...he must have a vehicle
that will be an effective weapon.
One of Batman's main tools is his car.
And I think that really fits
into our American romance with the car...
...and the idea that, "Wow, if I had a Batmobile,
I could do anything."
- Nice car.
- You should see my other one.
I would just watch my back
if I saw that coming.
The Tumbler? It's just...
It represents, I guess, vengeance, justice.
You know, like, if that's coming
and you're doing something wrong...'s over for you.
I liked how the Tumbler would actually...
...when it was on top of the building,
would have that boost and jump.
DIDIO: You've got fans who were kids
now becoming the artists.
And what they're doing is they're reinterpreting
the Batmobile in a way that they wanna see it.
NOLAN: If you took onboard the idea
that you were going to have to design...
...this icon you grew up with,
I think you'd be paralyzed in a creative sense.
We actually very much addressed it
from a story point of view.
Like, okay, we have to have this vehicle.
It has to be able to do certain things
in the story.
And we have to have a credible design to it.
And an explanation, visually,
of where it's come from.
What's that?
Oh, the Tumbler?
Oh, you wouldn't be interested in that.
I had this idea of really having something...
...that had the profile of a Lamborghini...
...but was combined with the weight and feel
of, like, a Humvee.
It's not built with the trappings of,
quote-unquote, "previous Batmobiles."
It doesn't have the bat symbols,
it doesn't take on any fins.
Our approach was to try and build something
that could really work.
We wanted to address
from the point of view...
...of, yes,
if you had limitless financial resources...
...and therefore a lot of power
in particular ways and material ways... could you focus that and apply that
to creating some very extraordinary gadgets...
...all of which still are based on real science
and a real-world logic.
So, what do you think?
Does it come in black?
I went down to the toy shop...
...and bought a Humvee and a Lamborghini.
I just got a saw and cut them up
and stuck them together.
I thought, that looks a bit boring.
So I got a P-38 cockpit and glued it all together.
That was a bit of a mess.
NOLAN: I did some really awful,
little Plasticine models, you know... show Nathan kind of the size
I was talking about.
CROWLEY: So I turned up
with my big glued-together plastic thing...
...and he had his little clay thing,
and they both looked pretty bad.
But it was a start.
So we bought a lot of model kits...
...started putting them together
in different configurations.
Taking panels off stealth aircrafts
to get those angles.
After five or six weeks we ended up with--
It was a model this big... scale, no drawings, nothing.
It's not normal to start with such a prototype
from the guy directing the film.
Never been presented a project that way.
It would normally be concepts, drawings and...
No, that's totally unique.
Andy and his team, the first thing
they noticed was there's no front axle.
SMITH: How's the steering work?
Where's the steering rack go?
How is it gonna handle?
And he asked me, "Can you make that?"
The answer was, "Yeah."
And then your mind starts racing.
You go, I just said "yes."
And now I gotta back that up.
Rear tires on the car
are a 44-inch monster-truck tire.
Super Swampers, I think they're called.
They're very aggressive off-road tires.
And the front ones
are roving dirt-track racing tires.
I always use a Chevy V-8.
It's an automatic, three-speed.
It was just a roll cage. Just to basically
get everything running and just get used to it.
MAN: What do you think?
- I think that's excellent.
Better stop before
I start having too much fun.
We went away after and said,
"You know what? We can run with this."
Let's make a hundred-mile-an-hour beast...
...that can jump through the air, land,
and carry on driving.
We kept jumping and jumping, landing,
to see where it broke.
Strengthen it up, jump it again,
and find the next little bit where it broke.
SMITH: When you jump the car, you would
think you'd wanna land it on the back wheels.
You don't. That's catastrophic.
It slaps the front of the car down.
You actually wanna bring it in
just on the front wheels.
We broke a lot of stuff that ended in a shower
of springs and shock absorbers...
...and parts rolling down the road that should
really not be rolling down the road, yeah.
CORBOULD: We're trying to test it
to destruction, almost... that when we actually came out
the other end of it...
...we could get on the set and be confident
that we could do anything that Chris wanted.
We tried everything that we could
to make it as indestructible as we could.
Pretty remarkable thing to see something...
...that you had just put together
in this extremely crude free-form way...
...rendered in such an exact set of details...
...and made into something
that somebody could really drive.
We built a special car just to get in and out.
There was a Batmobile that I would pull up in.
I would drive that and park.
The nose comes forward
and the seat comes up.
He wanted it to open
like petals on a flower opening up.
It all looked cool, exactly as it should,
but that was all.
The actual performance vehicle
was real stripped-down...
...and really bloody noisy inside.
It's like having Ozzy Osbourne
screaming in your ear.
I did drive the Tumbler on airstrips,
which was a hell of a lot of fun...
...because that thing can get up
to really pretty good speeds.
But you can hardly see anything,
so thank God there are stunt guys doing that...
...because that would have been very
dangerous had I been the person in there.
COTTLE: I drive really, really close
to the steering wheel.
I always have done this.
I just feel more comfortable.
Because of the small window
that I had to look out of...
...we had some lipstick cameras...
...that we placed on the outside of the car
with two monitors.
If I couldn't see
what was directly in front of me...
...I'd look to the monitors to make sure
everything was clear.
We smashed it through
everything I could think of.
We drove it over the top of cars,
through walls, down steps, up steps.
Going through Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago
and George Cottle was topping 100.
The camera car had a problem
keeping up with it.
In fact, when we did Dark Knight,
the camera we had...
...which is an ML55 Mercedes...
...he had it supercharged for Dark Knight,
after Batman Begins... he could keep up with it.
It didn't need a stunt car to fill in for it.
It was actually doing all its own stunts.
We used explosion-proof tanks.
If they get punctured they don't explode.
That stuff comes from when I built race cars.
We always have racing seats and harnesses.
The relationship between us building the car
and the driver driving it, it is a trust.
You worry about what they're doing.
We constantly worry.
George communicates very well.
If he's concerned about something, he'll say it.
We'll fix it if it needs it.
We'll put his mind at rest. I worry about him.
You know, he's like a son, you know,
every time you send him off.
One time we did a jump and the car
bottomed out heavier than it should've done.
So we scratched our heads a bit. We thought,
if we let the tub of the car hit the ground...
...but we cushion that...
So we built in this flap arrangement
under the car.
They're hinged steel plates.
We run offroad
hydraulic bump stops on them.
So the car hits the ground, but it's
cushioned when it hits the ground.
It hits gently.
That was the secret to getting that car
to jump.
It was a location in Chicago
and we jumped, I think, 40 or 50 foot.
Because Chris
then had it in his mind that:
"This car can jump, okay, right.
You know, where can I take that?"
The best stunt for me in the Batmobile
was the jumping over the moving car.
SMITH: We built a ramp
that we can tow behind the car.
We get on the move,
we practice and practice.
Then we have to take that on set,
do it in a tunnel.
COTTLE: I was worried I'd get too much height
and hit the ceiling.
It was at night, as well,
so I could barely see the ramp...
...and they say, "Oh, there's gonna
be explosion in the back.
Would you be happy in an explosion
I was like, "Yeah, absolutely," I said.
"But only if you give me
the biggest button you have."
As I hit the ramp
and as I was jumping...
...I had to wait
until it was at the top of the arch...
...just as I felt it come down,
I hit that button.
It was meant to get blown up
at the end of Batman Begins.
Chris Corbould eventually convinced me
not to. We'd all sort of fallen in love with it.
CORBOULD: It was almost like
another character in the film.
But the next time around,
Chris was adamant that it was gonna go.
COMPUTER: Damage catastrophic.
Eject sequence initiated.
SMITH: We didn't want the life
of the Batmobile to end there... we designed this ejection mode
to save his life.
So if the Batmobile was dying,
it would save his life and continue the fight.
NOLAN: The use of Tumbler
in The Dark Knight Rises... all about Bruce Wayne's power
being turned against him...
...and turned against Gotham.
So the idea of Batman having power
and power as responsibility...
...has always been one of the underlying
themes of who the character is.
And the technology he uses,
whether it's the Tumbler...
...whether it's the surveillance technology
shown in The Dark Knight...
I've gotta find this man, Lucius.
At what cost?
...those things have always come
with a price.
Always comes a very heavy price.
And so Batman always rides this line
between hero and vigilante.
Between somebody
who's taking it upon himself... decide how to use the power
that these things give him.
The Batmobile comes to have
a certain weight, a certain responsibility... far as it relates to the idea
of the power of Bruce Wayne...
...the power of wealth,
the power of military might...
...the power that he is able to wield...
...and what would happen
if that were used against him.
Graphic storytelling is an art...
...that began with paintings in caves
thousands and thousands of years ago.
Comic book art has been around,
in a sense...
...since the hieroglyphics of Egypt.
If you look at the conveyances...
...that great heroes have had
at their beck and call...
...the wonderful steeds of King Arthur
and the Knights of the Round Table...'s noble.
It's the noble steed.
One of the Greek heroes rode Pegasus.
Odin from Norse mythology
had an eight-legged horse.
Giving the hero a unique conveyance
is one of those things that is in mythology.
USLAN: When you look at comic books
and super heroes...'s still really about the brave warrior...
...and his battle against evil.
And it's just told in modern day dress.
It is our modern day mythology.
Batman developed his own great steed.
A car called the Batmobile.
And even though the look has varied...
...the essence of it has remained the same.
Your mental image of it
is where you came in on the story.
But yet you have a conversation
with someone...
...and you're both talking
about the Batmobile...
...and emotionally it's the same thing...
...even if the visions in your heads
are radically different physical objects.
Today is the first time in history
that they've all been together.
Oh, God.
All right.
Look at those.
Oh, man.
Oh, man.
FLATTERY: You can't help it when you're
a kid growing up on this TV show.
That's what you watch the show for, is to
watch it come ripping out of the Batcave.
This car is a big reason why
I became enthralled with entertainment...
...the film industry, and wanting
to do vehicles in the film industry.
Do you mind if I sit in this?
Okay, if you're gonna sit over there... gotta say, "Atomic batteries to power,
turbines to speed."
That's the Batphone, I mean,
that's Commissioner Gordon's hotline.
- That's awesome.
- That is unbelievable.
You've got the light going!
Oh, yeah!
Oh, rev is good.
The first time it's been running
in 10 years.
- It sounds unbelievable.
- Thank you.
Oh, nice. That was awesome.
BARRIS: One of the biggest historical
events ever...
...was when all of the Batmobiles
came up to Bob's Drive-in.
Everyone's a little kid here today.
It's not just little kids, it's everyone.
It really means a lot to see them all
here because they built these cars.
They're real cars.
WOMAN: I'll probably never see this again
so I made sure to come down here fast.
I don't have a favorite.
I love every one of them.
I'm actually visiting down here from Vegas...
...and I just came on a good weekend,
I guess.
Seeing the cars in person,
that's awesome.
Larger than life. I had no idea
they were so huge.
They're great! I want one for Christmas!
I'm here just to enjoy the moment.
It's history.
Seeing them all in one place.
It's spectacular up close.
I have a BMW. I'd like to drive the Batmobile
out of here though.
I drive a 13- or 14-year-old Saturn.
I drive a pickup truck.
I've got a '71 Camaro
I bought when I was 19.
I've just got a little Mini Cooper.
I drive a Prius.
I have a Toyota pickup.
But I'd like a Lamborghini.
I have a Range Rover. A black Range Rover.
I drive a Porsche.
BMW 328.
Porsche 4S, 9114S.
Honda CRV.
Boring ass car.
Like, go out in the parking lot...
...there's at least 10 identical ones
in any parking lot I park in.
I drive a lame ass car.
I have a good number of vehicles.
A good number of really cool fun cars.
You know, people
had asked me what was your favorite...
...and I couldn't pick.
It's like, what's your favorite kid?
You can't pick that.
And then something came along
and now I know the answer.
It's that one.
I saw it on eBay and I'm like:
"A Keaton Batmobile,
a Tim Burton Batmobile, is for sale.
And this one was actually used in a movie.
How is this possible?"
I can't believe I'm driving a Batmobile.
Every kid dreams of that. Every little boy
dreams of something like that.
I mean, to me the most important things
in life are... take care of your family,
give to charity, save for the future.
And if you're lucky enough to be able to do all
those things, you have a little extra cash--
When this thing came up for sale,
how could I not do this?
There's an opportunity of buying
the freaking Batmobile.
I cannot think of another vehicle
on this planet besides a space shuttle...
...that I would rather be behind the wheel of
and driving down the street.
It doesn't get any better than that.
I think it's very hard to say...
...why the Batmobile resonates
to the extent that it does.
Certainly the idea that you could relate
this vehicle to your family car as a kid...
...or to the car that you might own
when you're a teenager...
...learning to drive or whatever, that you
could put yourself in Batman's position...
...and imagine having
this incredibly exotic vehicle.
The idea of the power of a vehicle like that
is extremely primal.
The Batmobile is a dream.
It's part of the dream
of being something other.
Something greater than self.
I get letters frequently...
...from people who tell me how as a child...
...they were inspired
by watching the show or seeing our movie.
Now, the ones that really get to me
and impress me...
...are those letters that I get
and comments... people who say,
"You know, I had no father."
"My father left," or, "He passed away,"
or whatever.
"And you became my father
all these years."
And, you know,
that just touches your heart.
Batman and the Batmobile...
...symbolize the ability to have power
over that which we feel powerless against.
Two and a half years ago
I was diagnosed with cancer.
It was a pretty aggressive treatment.
A lot of radiation and chemo.
I've known Andy for 25 years.
We've worked very closely together.
And, you know,
Andy went through a tough period.
He didn't have long left, which, you know,
is a powerful thing to go through your life.
You meet extraordinary people.
You meet people and you lose them.
He then went on to say how great these
people were that helped him through it... him through it, you know,
and he's out the other end now.
He's, you know, for all intents and
purposes clear of it. He's been clear of it.
I'd love to give something back to all
those people that got me through that.
The idea is to get a Batmobile to Children's
Hospital in Vancouver, the cancer unit.
A positive thing like that
to get a smile on their face...
...that helps in the whole process
because, you know--
Something to look forward to,
something to brighten the day.
What a rush! I'd dearly love to do that.
SMITH: You see those children
in the radiation rooms going in and out.
And ultimately it can go either way.
It gives them a chance to forget about
everything maybe for a minute or two.
And have good fun, be kids.
If we can help with that
then that's what we'll do.
The Batmobile is a dream made real.
It's not about whether it's a toy,
it's not about whether it's a real car.
It's about whether it's something
that can rumble in the back of your head...
...and have that raw power
in your imagination.
SMITH: One of the guys that worked for me
said, "You've got the coolest job in the world."
And, yeah. You're building Batman's car.
That's every kid's dream.
BARRIS: That car has changed
not only my life, but my family's life.
I've been a fortunate kid.
There was not one day
I didn't want to get up and go to work.
It was like a dream come true
for a designer.
I'm just dreaming I was driving it.
I feel privileged that as filmmakers...
...we're all fans
or we wouldn't be doing it.
And then we get to pass that on.
I think they're all iconic.
It just depends what age you were
when you saw them.
It's your Batmobile
that was the first one you saw.
For me, as for a lot of people my age... can't remember a time before the
Batmobile. You've always been aware of it.
The Batmobile has become
a mythic kind of character in itself.
NOLAN: The Batmobile
is extraordinarily powerful and exotic.
But you can imagine yourself driving it.
Eject sequence initiated. Goodbye.