Christian Bale’s gruff growl that helped define his turn as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was actually the product of an embarrassing, ill-fitting suit, the actor said during a recent interview with MTV.
Bale came up with the voice during one of his final auditions for the role, during which he actually had to put on Val Kilmer’s Batman suit. It barely fit. “I stood in it and I went, ‘I feel like an idiot. What kinda guy goes around dressed as a bat?'” Bale recalled. But instead of resigning himself to the ridiculousness of the situation, Bale found himself considering Bruce Wayne’s tortured past and decided that a normal voice just wouldn’t suit Batman; he realized that he had to become a beast in order to feel comfortable as the Caped Crusader.
“I went home that evening,” Bale continued, “and my wife said, ‘How’d it go?’ I went, ‘I kinda did this,’ and I showed her. And she went, ‘Well, you fucked that one up, didn’t ya?'” Bale laughed as he added how lucky he was that the producers and Nolan still went with him for the role. “It was the only way I could find how I could get into it, to justify wearing this friggin’ bat suit, walking around like that,” he said. “Otherwise you’d just go, like, ‘He’s loopy beyond belief.’ I mean, he’s loopy, but he’s loopy with a method to his madness.”
Bale also talked briefly about passing the torch to Ben Affleck – who will play Batman in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel – and how the power of the character transcends whichever actor wears the suit. He cited the heartwarming story of “Batkid,” a sick San Francisco child who got the chance to be a superhero for a day thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. “This little kid, he doesn’t really care which actor’s playing him,” Bale said. “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.”