Nolan refuses to change Bane's voice even if Warner Bros. is nervous

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Dec 16, 2012

With a new trailer dropping this week and the prologue hitting theaters last Friday, excitement for The Dark Knight Rises has never been higher. But some viewer complaints about Bane's garbled voice have Warner Bros. executives worried, and Christopher Nolan isn't helping.

The footage itself—from both the prologue and the trailer—has basically been declared universally badass, but some fans are complaining that Bane's mask makes it too hard to follow his dialogue. He only has one featured line in the trailer ("When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die," in case you didn't catch it), but he's much more active in the prologue, and it's led to more than a few viewer jokes.

"The Dark Knight Rises prologue was really great, especially when Bane spoke the soon-to-be-classic line: 'Mmrbl ffrmrff hmrbblfmm,'" one fan wrote on Twitter.

Executives at Warner Bros. are well aware of both the jokes and the genuine fan concerns, and it's got them worried that Rises won't pull in the same kind of cash that The Dark Knight did. One source told The Hollywood Reporter that he's "scared to death" about what he's termed "the Bane problem," and that Nolan isn't making matters any better.

Because of the massive success of The Dark Knight and Inception, Nolan has a lot of creative pull at Warner Bros., so much that he's informed executives he's only planning to alter the sound mix very slightly, despite requests from the studio to drastically change it to clear up Bane's voice.

"Chris wants the audience to catch up and participate rather than push everything at them. He doesn't dumb things down," an anonymous high-level exec said. "You've got to pedal faster to keep up."

Nolan has said in the past that he believes the audience doesn't necessarily need to understand every single line, as long as they get the idea of the scene. He's in the midst of editing the flick now and likely won't have any form of finished product to show Warner Bros. bigwigs for another couple of months. In the meantime, the pressure could build to a point that he has to make a decision on Bane's voice.

Could you understand Bane? And even if you couldn't, should Nolan be forced to change his villain's voice for the benefit of the masses?

(via The Hollywood Reporter)