Christian Bale with Gary Oldman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Photo: Kevin Winters/Getty Images)
Heath Ledger's Academy Award-winning portrayal of The Joker in "The Dark Knight" made an indelible mark on the film world. But his death in 2008 at the age of 28 made an even bigger impact on the people who worked with him.
This was brought home by the touching moment during the MTV Movie Awards when Christian Bale became visibly emotional after a montage of scenes from "The Dark Knight" was presented during the show. The footage from the previous movie was there just to set the stage for the reveal of a new look at this summer's final chapter, but it obviously struck a chord with Bale.
[Photos: 2012 MTV Movie Awards red carpet gallery]
Bale was flanked by costars Gary Oldman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and when the lights came up after the presentation the star seems to be fighting back tears. Bale turned his eyes down from the audience and the cameras and said how it was good to see Ledger again. "Wow, great to remember Heath in that moment," Bale said. "Wonderful to see Heath Ledger there." Watch the moment below.
It was an uncharacteristically vulnerable moment for Bale, who has stirred controversy in the past for outbursts that were more angry than heartfelt. But it's not the first time he's spoken publicly about missing Ledger. He told Parade Magazine in 2008, "It takes a long time to accept that someone's gone, when all body and mind are telling you that this is somebody you will know for a great deal of time," and he called Ledger "a kindred spirit."
Bale and Gordon-Levitt then introduced director Christopher Nolan, who came out to present a new collection of scenes from "The Dark Knight Rises," the final chapter of his Batman trilogy coming this summer. It started with a clip of Gordon-Levitt's character, Gotham City police officer John Blake, questioning Anne Hathaway as Selena Kyle, aka Catwoman. Blake says she can't hide from the police, and Kyle answers, "Maybe it's not you I'm running from."
We then get new looks at Tom Hardy as Batman's nemesis Bane as he causes chaos throughout Gotham. There is a shot of a tunnel blocked off by a giant pile of wrecked cars, and after Bane announces "Let the games begin!" two bridges explode and collapse into the river. It would seem that Bane is attempting to cut off the city and trap its citizens inside.
Then we see the Batsuit rising up from the floor in a glass container, and Batman flies over the city and speeds through the streets on his motorcycle. Catwoman comes around a corner and tells an armed man, "He's behind you." He asks "Who?" and turns around, and Batman, hanging upside-down, answers "Me." It's followed by a rapid-fire procession of fights, explosions, cars, planes, motorcycles, guns, riots, and a showdown between Batman and Bane.
It cuts back to Blake asking Kyle what she knows about the masked villain, Bane. She replies, "That you should be as afraid of him as I am." Then we see Batman turning to face the imposing Bane as he confidently struts towards the Caped Crusader.
It was an intriguing piece of footage, and like the previous trailers it gives the impression that they are holding back the best stuff for you to actually see in the theater. You'll get your chance when "The Dark Knight Rises" opens on July 20.
Watch the latest trailer for 'The Dark Knight Rises':
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