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Watch: Christian Bale Explains The Motivation Behind His Trademark Batman Voice For 'The Dark Knight' Trilogy

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist November 19, 2013 at 9:38AM

Aside from its blistering visual sense now expected from “Inception” director Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight” trilogy of films featured an entire spectrum of interesting aural performance choices, from Heath Ledger's drawly turn as the Joker to the terrifying incoherence of Bane as interpreted by Tom Hardy. However, the original--and the one consistent through all three films--is of course Christian Bale's gravelly-voiced Batman. Thanks to a look at the actor's audition tape in the recent box set for the trilogy, the voice has confirmed itself as always tied to the character and the role, but recently Bale spoke about his major choice and its reasoning.
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The Dark Knight, Christian Bale

Aside from its blistering visual sense now expected from “Inception” director Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight” trilogy of films featured an entire spectrum of interesting aural performance choices, from Heath Ledger's drawly turn as the Joker to the terrifying incoherence of Bane as interpreted by Tom Hardy. However, the original—and the one consistent through all three films—is of course Christian Bale's gravelly-voiced Batman. Thanks to a look at the actor's audition tape in the recent box set for the trilogy, the voice has confirmed itself as always tied to the character and the role, but recently Bale spoke about his major choice and its reasoning.

Speaking to MTV News while doing the rounds for the upcoming Scott Cooper flick “Out of the Furnace," Bale inevitably fielded questions about his time on Nolan's films, and remembered the audition for the part of Batman with a wry reflection. "I got there. They put me in Val Kilmer's suit. It didn't even fit properly, and I stood in it and I went 'I feel like an idiot,' ” Bale said. “What kind of guy walks around, dressed like a bat? And is then going to go 'Hello, how are you? Just ignore that I'm dressed as a bat.' Of course, he's meant to be doing this. If you look at the history of the guy and the pain that he went through. I went 'I can't do this in a normal voice. I have to become a beast in order to sell this to myself.' "

Bale recalls his wife responding rather unfavorably to the end result ('Oh, you f---ed that one up, didn't you?'), but while he says that the voice “isn't for everyone” and that Ben Affleck is “obviously going to have to do his own thing” for Zack Snyder's “Batman vs. Superman”, it was the only rational decision for stepping into the suit. “Otherwise,” he said, “he's just loopy beyond belief. He's loopy, but he's loopy with a method to his madness."

He added about the future of the character, "I wish [Affleck] the best. You look at this kid, Batkid... That gives the whole point. It doesn't matter which actor is playing him. He's a symbol. He's so much bigger than any actor. That's all. This little kid, he doesn't really care which actor's playing him. It's the symbol of the whole thing, and that's what makes the character so fantastic. I look forward to seeing what Ben will do with it."

He isn't alone; catch the entire exchange below, and you can see what Affleck wrangles from the role when “Batman vs. Superman” arrives on July 17, 2015.

This article is related to: Christian Bale, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises


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