Jonathan Nolan Wanted A Classic Rock Song In 'The Dark Knight' Trilogy Marketing But Christopher Nolan Refused

With three films in The Dark Knight trilogy, there have been plenty of trailers and TV spots around the world advertising Christopher Nolan's acclaimed take on Batman. However, one marketing tactic that was never used to promote any of the films in the comic book trilogy was the use of modern music to drive those trailers and TV spots. But co-writer Jonathan Nolan tried desperately to convince his brother to use one specific classic rock song in The Dark Knight trilogy marketing materials. Unfortunately for him, he was always shut down. So what was the song?

In a Reddit AMA conducted a few months ago (via Batman-News), Jonathan Nolan revealed the one request that he could never convince Christopher Nolan to follow through on:

"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...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."

While one can appreciate Jonathan Nolan's love for the Rolling Stones song that has been used in pop culture plenty of times before, Christopher Nolan was right to keep modern music out of the movie's marketing. It would have given a much different vibe to the grounded comic book adaptation, and it was much better to rely on the score provided by Hans Zimmer or similar trailer music that was created in the same vein. Plus, there's something about "Paint It Black" that feels a little too on the nose. The only thing that might be more obvious is "Back in Black" by AC/DC, and Iron Man already has that and plenty of other songs by the classic rock band covered.

The good news is that Jonathan Nolan was able to scratch his itch for using "Paint It Black" with this incredible sequence set to an orchestral version of the song in the first season of Westworld: