If you are a subscriber to Empire Magazine, then you’ve already received your issue featuring Tom Hardy as Bane on the cover. Inside contained an interview with director Christopher Nolan who gave some great tidbits about the story line for his movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’

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First off, the movie starts picksup 8 years after ‘The Dark Knight’ which may or may not excite the fans. Batman is a little bit older and not in the best condition. As Nolan says about the film:

“It’s really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne’s story. We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after ‘The Dark Knight.’ So he’s an older Bruce Wayne; he’s not in a great state. With Bane, we’re looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn’t had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we’re testing Batman both physically as well as mentally.”

As for why Nolan decided on Bane as the villain, he stated,

“…we’re looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn’t had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story, we’re testing Batman both physically as well as mentally… So when you’re looking to continue the story – in this case finish Bruce Wayne and Batman’s story, as we see it – then you certainly don’t want a watered-down version of a character you’ve already done. You want a different archetype. What Bane represents in the comics is the ultimate physical villain.”

Hardy was also interviewed for the piece and had this to say about his character:

“He’s brutal. Brutal. He’s a big dude who’s incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. It’s not about fighting. It’s about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it’s nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action.”

If that doesn’t peak your interest, costume designer Lindy Hemming also lets the readers in on why Bane has the mask:

“He was injured early in his story. He’s suffering from pain and needs gas to survive. He can’t survive the pain without the mask. The pipes from the mask go back along his jawline and feed into the thing at his back, where there are two canisters.”

For those wanting to get a glimpse of the movie (beyond the trailer that was released) then make plans to see ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ on a 70mm IMAX screen as a 6 minute prologue to the film will be shown only at those screens. Nolan reveales that the “prologue is basically the first six, seven minutes of the film. It’s the introduction to Bane and a taste of the rest of the film. With Bane we are looking to give Batman a physical challenge that he hasn’t had before. In terms of finishing our story and increasing its scope, we were trying to craft an epic.”

You can check out some screen shots of the magazine article below, but if you want a hardcopy of the issue, you’ll have to wait until Thursday, November 24th when it hits the newsstands.

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ will be released in theaters July 20, 2012 and stars Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

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(scans courtesy of SHH and io9)