Daniel Sunjata talks The Dark Knight Rises
Daniel Sunjata talks The Dark Knight Rises
By Wilson Morales
July 18, 2012
Coming out this week is one of the most anticipated films of the year, Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises.
It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act.
But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar winner Christian Bale again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake. Returning to the main cast, Michael Caine plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Morgan Freeman reprises the role of Lucius Fox.
Also featured in the film is Daniel Sunjata, who work people have seen in film, television and in the theater. Best known for his role as Franco Rivera in the FX TV series, Rescue Me, the Illinois native’s TV and film credits also include The Devil Wears Prada, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Grey’s Anatomy, and the film One for the Money with Katherine Heigl.
Blackfilm.com recently spoke with Sunjata as he spoke about his work on ‘Dark Knight Rises’ and his experience on the set.
What role do you play?
Daniel Sunjata: Well, what I’m allowed contractually to say is that I play a Gotham City’s special forces operative who tries to help out Batman in the time of need. Beyond that, the audience will just have to go see the film. It was a great honor to take direction from someone like Mr. Nolan and share a set with guys like Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman and other actors whose work I admired. It was fun. People should see this because it’s pure entertainment. You know that it’s smartly directed and everybody enjoys a great story. Christopher Nolan never fails to surprise people in that regard and visually, it will be stunning. It will be a great day or night at the movies.
How did you get the part? Were you called or did you auditioned?
DS: I auditioned like I do for most of my other jobs. I did it in front of Christopher Nolan, which was really fun. I kept hearing that there was some interest and then finally I got the job.
Having been part of numerous films, is this the biggest one for you, career wise?
DS: For sure. I can’t remember when I shot in different cities at the same time. I shot in New York, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. It was sort of unbelievable and overwhelming. It was such a huge set and an overwhelming amount of production value that you couldn’t escape it, but it was thrilling at the same time.
How was it coming to back to New York?
DS: It was actually great. Coming to New York is wonderful and I can’t get back there often enough. I’ve been out in Los Angeles now for almost two years, so when you get a chance to shoot something in the streets of New York, felt like I was coming back home.
When you are part of a film like, where everything from the script, the talent, the set, and other factors are top notch, does this change things for you as an actor and the type of work you want to do next?
DS: This is a film that will be seen by the whole world, and The Dark Knight Rises is so highly anticipated and I hope it will have an impact on my career. Work begets work and this is certainly work as a high level and what I always wanted was to be sharing a set with people like Tom Hardy and Morgan Freeman and hopefully this will set that precedent and that precedent will continue.
Had you been a fan of the Batman comics?
DS: Yeah. I’ve a fan of the comics and then of course, the movies as an adult. In that regard, it was a dream come true to be able to play a substantive character in the context of a Batman film. It was mission accomplished.
If you had to play a comic book character coming to the big screen, who would you want to be?
DS: That’s a tough question to answer on the spot. I would say Aquaman because I don’t think they have made a film about him yet. Until the new thing comes out, they have made so many superhero movies that you forget that there are other superheroes that they can make films about. Aquaman jumps to mind mostly because I was grasping for a character they hadn’t made a film about yet.
Between doing films and TV, how do you balance life?
DS: In this business, you balance life by the demands of your career as much as possible. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work in more than one medium with television and film. I’ve done some theater. Coming out to Los Angeles was an exploration in trying to book work in film, although I’ve also booked some work on TV as well. I’m starting to shoot a TV series called ‘Graceland.’ I do my best.
What’s coming up?
DS: I’m definitely excited to see The Dark Knight Rises as a whole as well as being a part of it. Also, as stated, I’m waiting to start Graceland. I play an undercover FBI narcotic agent. I also shot a small part in a film called Lullaby out of New York City and Toronto.