He was the best of bats, he was the worst of bats.

The origins of the plot for The Dark Knight Rises, the new Batman movie, lie in "A Tale of Two Cities," according to its director, Christopher Nolan.

At a press conference yesterday, Nolan answered a question by the website SuperheroHype about the movie’s literary allusions by saying:

"When Jonah [Jonathan Nolan] showed me his first draft of his screenplay, it was 400 pages long or something. It had all this crazy stuff in it. As part of a primer when he handed it to me, he said, 'You've got to think of "A Tale of Two Cities" which, of course, you've read.' I said, 'Absolutely.'

I read the script and was a little baffled by a few things and realized that I'd never read "A Tale of Two Cities." It was just one of those things that I thought I had done. Then I got it, read it and absolutely loved it and got completely what he was talking about... When I did my draft on the script, it was all about "A Tale of Two Cities"."

Nolan had previously stated that “Gotham has always drawn a lot from New York. It’s a heightened version of it, but that was always the inspiration, hence the name Gotham. So I felt that we should get more of New York into this film, specifically because The Dark Knight Rises is very much about Gotham.”

At yesterday's press conference, he went on to say,

"What Dickens does in that book in terms of having all his characters come together in one unified story with all these thematic elements and all this great emotionalism and drama, it was exactly the tone we were looking for."

The Dickens novel, originally published in serial form in 1859, is set in England and France in the late 1700s, and concerns love and murder against a backdrop of social discontent and political corruption. You can download it for free here.

Strange as it may sound, this is not the Caped Crusader's first encounter with the long-dead author of "Oliver Twist". DC Comics brought out a graphic novel last Christmas called "Batman: Noel", a retelling of "A Christmas Carol." Also, Alan Napier, the actor who played the butler Alfred in the original 1960s TV series, was married to Charles Dickens' great-granddaughter - and played the part of the author himself in a 1951 movie adaptation of the classic Christmas story.

This movie, the third in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, is much darker in tone than the other two, and includes an Occupy Wall Street-like protest.

Click here to read more about The Dark Knight Rises.

(H/t Reddit Books)

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