Christian Bale’s trademark, and frequently imitated, raspy Batman growl has become so integral to the character over the past eight years that it can be difficult to imagine the Dark Knight using another voice. But in the beginning, not even Bale was sure about the approach.
During a recent interview with MTV News, the actor was asked about the Batman Begins audition tapes released as part of The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition, which offered the first look at Bale in a costume — it was Val Kilmer’s from Batman Forever — and the a dry run for the voice.
“I hate it when they do that,” Bale replies, referring to the release of the audition tapes. “The get you at your most vulnerable moment, the bastards.”
“I got there,” he continues, explaining why he used a different voice. “They put me in, like, Val Kilmer’s suit. It didn’t even fit properly, and I stood in it and I went ‘I feel like an idiot.’ 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.’
“I went home that evening, and my wife said, ‘How’d it go?’ I went, ‘I kind of did this.’ And I showed her, and she went, ‘Oh, you fucked that one up, didn’t you?’ Thank God they went for it.”
However, he concedes the beastly growl might not work for his successor Ben Affleck.
“It ain’t for everybody,” Bale says. “Ben’s obviously going to have to do his own thing, but it was the only way that I could find how to get into that and to justify wearing the fricking Batsuit. Otherwise, he’s just loopy beyond belief. He’s loopy, but he’s loopy with a method to his madness.”