The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero thriller film directed, produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Featuring the DC Comics character Batman, the film is the second part of Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins, starring an ensemble cast including Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman. In the film, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Bale), James Gordon (Oldman) and Harvey Dent (Eckhart) form an alliance to dismantle organised crime in Gotham City, but are menaced by a criminal mastermind known as the Joker (Ledger) who seeks to undermine Batman's influence and create chaos. The Joker is a fictional supervillain from American comic book publisher DC Comics who was portrayed by late Australian actor Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan's 2008 superhero film The Dark Knight. Ledger's interpretation of the character is specifically influenced by the graphic novels Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. In the film, he wears the character's traditional color palette, while his facial appearance includes clown makeup that covers facial scars of a Glasgow smile.