By LAUREN EFFRON and MEREDITH FROST
Christopher Nolan is unfazed by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s accusation that the “Batman” filmmaker’s choice of Bane as the villain of his upcoming movie was a jab at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s former company, Bain Capital.
“I’m not sure how to address something that bizarre, to be honest. I really don’t have an answer for it. It’s a very particular comment to make,” Nolan said Wednesday at the London premiere of his final “Batman” installment, “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Actor Morgan Freeman, who plays Lucius Fox in the film, also called Limbaugh’s contention “ridiculous.”
“Chris wrote a fictional story that didn’t have any political thoughts in mind, so it’s like art or something you know, it’s all in the mind of the beholder,” Freeman said.
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., took to Twitter Wednesday to weigh in on the controversy by proposing a “bipartisan” solution, writing, “There needs to be a bipartisan effort to find Rush a new job.”
Limbaugh’s comments angered Batfans so much so that the radio host said the backlash he received was a bigger than the reaction over “the Fluke thing,” referring to when he called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified before House Democrats on health insurance coverage for birth control.
In a recent interview with “Nightline,” Nolan talked about how he has been accused of politicizing his “Batman” films in the past and said that politics was never part of his agenda.
“With all the films, myself… my co-writers, we try to be sincere about writing situations that would frighten us, that would concern us, things that I suppose we absorb from the world around us. We never want to be overtly political in any sense,” the filmmaker told ABC’s Chris Connelly.
For ”The Dark Knight Rises,” Nolan said the reason he chose Bane, an unfeeling genius with venom in his veins played by actor Tom Hardy, was because he wanted an antagonist who would make moviegoers ”fear for Batman’s physical safety.”
“What Bane provides is this incredibly frightening physicality,” Nolan said. “He is a militaristic presence. He’s a monster.”
Nolan is not even the first filmmaker to use Bane. The villain, who first appeared in the DC Comics “Batman” series in 1993, was featured as an evil sidekick in director Joel Schumacher’s 1997 film, “Batman & Robin.” But Limbaugh took to the mic on his radio show Tuesday to accuse Nolan of chosing Bane for political reasons, saying the name was similar to the private investiment firm Romney founded in 1984.
“The movie has been in the works for a long time, the release date’s been known, summer 2012, for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental, that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?” Limbaugh said Tuesday.
“This movie, the audience is going to be huge, [a] lot of people are going to see the movie. And it’s a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd,” Limbaugh continued. “And they’re going to hear ‘Bane’ in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain. And the thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital, but Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the ‘Batman’ movie.”
Prior to “The Dark Knight Rises,” which is out in theaters nationwide July 20, Nolan’s “Batman Begins” (2005) and “The Dark Knight” (2008) enjoyed explosive worldwide success, leading up to “The Dark Knight Rises,” which Nolan said would be his last Batman film.
“You could go on doing it forever, but it wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” Nolan told “Nightline.” “The right thing to do is to know you’ve told the story you’ve set out to tell and that is very much the case with the end of this film.”
ABC’ News’ Jake Tapper and the Associated Press contributed to this report