‘Dark Knight’ Frequent Fliers: Inside Christopher Nolan’s Bat-Pack

From Michael Caine to Christian Bale to Tom Hardy, the “Dark Knight” director likes to stick with a trusted posse of collaborators

Change is good, unless you’re Christopher Nolan.

From movie stars to set designers, the “Batman” director likes to stick with the tried and true. It came as no surprise then to learn that Nolan is talking to Marion Cotillard about joining the cast of “The Dark Knight Rises,” having memorably used the Oscar winner in last year’s “Inception.”

She would join Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman all of whom have appeared in past Nolan efforts. In many ways, the Nolan phenomenon is like a more structured version of the "Frat Pack" — the gang of comedians such as Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell, who routinely pop up in one another's movies.

Call it the "Bat Pack." 

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In this case, Nolan isn’t just loyal to above the title stars. He’s also been a one-man employment agency for cinematographers such as Wally Pfister and art designers such as Nathan Crowley, who broke through with the former indie-director and went on to collaborate on more than a half-dozen Nolan films.

Of course, not all cases of Nolan Fever are as intense. With five of the director's films under his belt, Caine's mercury levels may be off the charts, but stars such as Hardy and Cotillard, who are poised to reunite with their "Inception" director on the Batman sequel, are just beginning to come down with a case of frequent collaboration. 

Catching Nolan Fever certainly won’t be hazardous to a career. The director’s films have grossed north of $2.3 billion worldwide, and “The Dark Knight Rises” promises to be another four-quadrant blockbuster.

Here's a look at some of the talent currently orbiting Nolan's sun. 

Michael Caine
Upcoming Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Past Nolan Credits: "Inception" (2010), "The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Prestige" (2006), "Batman Begins" (2005)
Degree of Nolan Fever: "Burning Up"

Wally Pfister, cinematographer 
Upcoming Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Past Nolan Credits: "Inception" (2010), "The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Prestige"(2006),"Batman Begins" (2005), "Insomnia" (2002), "Memento" (2000)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Burning Up

Nathan Crowley, art designer
Upcoming Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Past Nolan Credits: "Inception" (2010), "The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Prestige" (2006), "Batman Begins" (2005), "Insomnia" (2002)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Burning Up

Christian Bale
Upcoming Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Past Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Prestige" (2006), "Batman Begins" (2005)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Breaking a Sweat

Hans Zimmer
Upcoming Nolan Credits:
 "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Past Nolan Credits: "Inception" (2010), "The Dark Knight" (2008),"Batman Begins" (2005)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Breaking a Sweat

Lee Smith, editor
Past Nolan Credits: "Inception" (2010), "The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Prestige" (2006), "Batman Begins" (2005)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Breaking a Sweat

Jonathan Nolan, co-writer
Upcoming Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Past Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Prestige" (2006), "Memento" (2000)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Breaking a Sweat.

Gary Oldman
Upcoming Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Past Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight" (2008), "Batman Begins" (2005)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Hot Under the Collar

Richard King, sound editor
Past Nolan Credits: "Inception" (2010), "The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Prestige" (2006)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Hot Under the Collar

Morgan Freeman
Upcoming Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Past Nolan Credits: "The Dark Knight" (2008), "Batman Begins" (2005)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Hot Under the Collar

Cillian Murphy
Past Nolan Credits: "Inception" (2010), "The Dark Knight" (2008), "Batman Begins" (2005)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Hot Under the Collar

Ken Watanabe
Past Nolan Credits: "Inception" (2010), "Batman Begins" (2005)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Feeling Flushed


Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Upcoming Nolan Credit: "The Dark Knight Rises," rumored (2012)
Past Nolan Credit: "Inception" (2010)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Feeling Flushed

Marion Cotillard
Upcoming Nolan Credit: "The Dark Knight Rises," rumored (2012)
Past Nolan Credit: "Inception" (2010)
Degree of Nolan Fever: Feeling Flushed

Tom Hardy
Upcoming Nolan Credit: "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)
Past Nolan Credit: "Inception" (2010) 
Degree of Nolan Fever: Feeling Flushed