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The Dark Knight

The One Song Christopher Nolan Refused To Play Over The Dark Knight’s Trailer

There's one song that Christopher Nolan outright refused to play over The Dark Knight's trailers. And we'll give you a clue: it's by The Rolling Stones.
This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information

“Paint it Black” by The Rolling Stones is a true, undisputed classic.

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It’s also a song that’s been used for movie trailers, TV teasers and even live-action footage from AAA gaming blockbusters like Call of Duty. And while it’s undoubtedly effective, Christopher Nolan outright refused to play it over The Dark Knight‘s trailers, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider he had a legendary composer like Hans Zimmer in his corner.

So when the time came to release a finished cut of The Dark Knight‘s teaser trailer (see here), Nolan chose a specially orchestrated mix from Zimmer to bring some weight and gravitas to Alfred’s “some men just want to watch the world burn” speech. And you can’t say it doesn’t work like a charm.

Jonathan Nolan, brother to Christopher and co-writer on The Dark Knight, recalled all this during a recent Reddit AMA (h/t Batman-News):

I worked in the movies for years with my brother and he was never very keen on using popular music. Which I totally get. The music he was creating for the films with Hans was so beautiful and purpose-built for each moment that it didn’t need any help. But I would always have suggestions and thoughts for what music we could be using. I write listening to music (Lisa doesn’t — every writer is different) and I would have these extensive lists of things I thought would work. One example — I tried for ten years to convince Chris to do a trailer for one of our Batman films using Paint it Black. It’s an iconic song, and it’s been used before, and I understood why he wasn’t interested.

And the rest is history. To his credit, Christopher Nolan has always called upon Hans Zimmer’s iconic scores during his trailer reveals, regardless of whether it’s for Inception or Interstellar. The tick-tock sounds of Dunkirk were also incredibly realistic, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Nolan avoided a big-name commercial song like “Paint It Black” while adding the final touches to a true superhero classic.

The Dark Knight is officially 10 years old as of 2018, and it’s arguably still the greatest comic book movie of the lot.

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