The Dark Knight: Behind the Scenes of the Pencil Scene

The Dark Knight
Warner Bros.

Here are the secrets of the famous “pencil trick” performed by the Joker (Heath Ledger).

On the occasion of the cinema release of The BatmanTMC rebroadcasts the trilogy Dark Knight. This evening, place at the eponymous film, released in 2008 at the cinema. The opportunity to share all the anecdotes of the team around one of its most striking scenes: the lap of “magic” of the Joker handling a pencil. Its creation was originally detailed in vulnerabilityin 2019.

A dark shadow envelops Gotham City. The leaders of the underworld of this urban hell find themselves seated around Sal Maroni, Italian mafia boss. It is then that a macabre chuckle, bordering on the grotesque, abruptly interrupts the small underground business meeting. We first see him from behind, but it is impossible not to identify his terrifying look. A mauve velvet suit covers his broad shoulders, over which fall wisps of greenish hair. The assembly is walled in silence at the sound of his chilling words.

The Joker enters the room. He launches with cynicism “I who thought my valves were bad”, and the rest of the sequence unfolds at the speed of light. A henchman invites another of his henchmen to repaint the Dark Clown, which wastes his time. The latter decrees that he is going to do a magic trick. Within nanoseconds, the Joker grabs a pencil and sticks it into the wood of the table, while his tormentor steps forward to teach him a lesson. And this is where the magic happens. The Prince of Crime grabs the poor man’s skull and knocks him against the table, shoving the pencil into his eyeball. The victim dies instantly, his eye and brain punctured. “Tadah! The pencil’s gone. » (“Tada! The pencil has disappeared).

Here is the excerpt in question:

Behind the scenes of Christopher Nolan’s Batman

Except that we suspect that poor Charles Jarman (stuntman victim of the pencil stroke), does not really die a criterium screwed into the skull. So what could Christopher Nolan have considered to carry out this sleight of hand? The cast and crew of the filming of The Dark Knightthe second part of his Batman trilogy, delivered their tips to vulnerability.

“It was not impossible to design a pencil digitally, track it, follow it and suddenly make it disappear. But we tried not to overuse CGI when they weren’t needed”explains Nick Davis, special effects supervisor on the set.

Heath Ledger’s Joker diary at the heart of a documentary

No synthetic image, therefore, for this cult scene, but a real trick carried out by a particularly reckless… and tenacious stuntman.

“We first filmed several sequences where I practiced removing, with my right hand, the pencil planted in the table before my forehead hit the surface of the furniture head-on”comments stuntman Charles Jarman, “If for such a reason I had not managed to extract the pencil in time, we would not have had this conversation today”he adds.

The Dark Knight: Heath Ledger’s unparalleled performance as Joker

The bluff is not so complex after all. Charles Jarman steps forward, the camera goes up and frames the bust of Heath Ledger (the Joker), while Jarman sweeps the pencil before crashing against the table. No more criterium, voila, but the front of the actor always remembers it.

“We must have done twenty-two takes in two days. I remember having made three knockouts. The second day, my forehead was swollen, I felt dizzy then blackout. Heath Ledger used to literally live in the shoes of the Joker during filming. He only ‘stepped out’ of character once to make sure I was okay.”recalls Jarman.

Despite these repeated shocks, the actor only cares about one thing: not to miss this key scene. “You think more about the perfection of the sequence than about your own person, in these moments”describes the stuntman.

The trailer of The Dark Knightto see again this evening on television:

Why does Batman have such a deep voice? The explanations of Christian Bale

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