Up until now, there hasn't been much revealed about the plot of The Dark Knight Rises. Sure we knew that Tom Hardy would be playing Bane, and Catwoman would play some sort of role in the film, but the whole project has been surrounded by intense secrecy ever since The Dark Knight opened in 2008. Now, in an interview with Empire, director Christopher Nolan finally broke his silence on the final installment of his Batman trilogy, and revealed some interesting details about the Caped Crusader's new nemesis, Bane. 

"With Bane, we're looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn't had before," says Nolan. "With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we're testing Batman both physically as well as mentally."

If that bit of info doesn't start your salivary glands working overtime, then perhaps this quote from Tom Hardy will: "He's brutal. Brutal. He's a big dude who's incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. It's not about fighting. It's about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it's nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action."

Costume designer Lindy Hemming also talked Bane's strange mask. "He was injured early in his story. He's suffering from pain and needs gas to survive. He can't survive the pain without the mask. The pipes from the mask go back along his jawline and feed into the thing at his back, where there are two cannisters."

Nolan also confirmed that the prologue to the movie that will play with IMAX prints of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol will be "basically the first six, seven minutes of the film" and will focus on "an introduction to Bane, and a taste of the rest of the film."

In a surprising twist, The Dark Knight Rises will take place eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. So the film will deal with a much more battered, jaded Batman as he faces his most physically intimidating threat yet.

The Dark Knight Rises will hit theaters on July 20, 2012. 

[IGN via Empire]