Christian Bale explains why he didn’t care about being typecast as Batman to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Now widely acclaimed, Bale started out as a child actor in several high-profile films in the late ’80s, including Steven Spielberg’s realm of the sun and Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespearean Adaptation Henry V. Although his casting as Patrick Bateman in american psychopath in 1999 significantly bolstered his career, he was still a somewhat risky decision to star as the iconic caped crusader when Nolan cast him batman starts, as his bankability was relatively untried.
Before Bale, Batman had gone through several iterations on the big screen with many recognizable protagonists. Michael Keaton was at an early peak in his career after his comedic collapsed mr mom and beetle juice when he was tapped for Tim Burton’s take on Batman. Val Kilmer was at the height of his popularity from his heartbreaking days in Top Gun and Willow, as well as his dramatic turn as Jim Morrison in the biopic The doors, when he joined Joel Schumacher’s camper take. Like Bale, George Clooney was relatively untried as a movie star when he took over from Kilmer for Batman & Robinespecially riding on the immense popularity of his role in er, but Clooney’s post-Batman career shot him up to the A-list. People initially scoffed at the idea of Nolan’s more realistic Batman, but the Dark Knight trilogy received overwhelming critical acclaim and is considered by many fans to be their favorite take on the character.
Despite playing the iconic role over the course of three films, Bale was never into typecasting afterwards. In a recent interview with GQ, the actor shares that he was warned not to take on the part, but in the end it seems like it drew him to the part more than it stopped him. Read what Bale has to say below:
In a lot of ways, the same way people told me you can’t play Patrick Bateman, it’s suicide in your career, and I was like, “Come on, I definitely want to do that.” Other people also said, “Hey, you know if you play Batman, that’s it. You’re never going to play anything else again, you’ll always be Batman.” And I said, “Come on. Let’s see if that happens.” Because I just always felt like watching, if I don’t have the skill to rise above that, then I don’t deserve it.
Christian Bale’s career goes way beyond playing Batman
Bale has never been an actor who is afraid of challenges, and he has played many difficult roles over the course of his career. There are the oft-publicized facets of his intense method acting that tabloids like to focus on, like Bale’s extreme weight gain and loss for roles. At his lowest point, he weighed 120 pounds for his haunted factory worker in 2004 the driverand at its highest, over 225 lbs for reels in 2013 American crowds and 2018’s Shame. That superficial aspect aside, he fills his roles with an intense emotional devotion, lending the same seriousness to playing a soldier buried in a Vietnamese POW camp in save the dawn that he does to play a villain in a highly stylized Marvel movie like Thor: Love and Thunder. In between The Dark Knight and The dark knight rises, Bale won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the squirrels, crack-addicted former boxer Dicky Eklund in The fighter.
This is evident in some of his more idiosyncratic work with director David O. Russell and his sharply satirical turn in american psychopath, the actor has a strong sense of humor and excels not only in drama. Bale’s performance as Batman will be remembered with good reason, both for his cold, hollowed-out take on Bruce Wayne, and his rage-fueled vigilante alter ego with a voice that can be traced. Bale has more than proved that the hero will be just one of many roles for which he will be remembered in future retrospectives.
Next: Did Christian Bale Audition to Play Batman Forever’s Robin? (rumor explained)