This year’s WonderCon was shaping up to be the biggest little Con that could. Warner Brothers shocked Batman fans by bringing in new man behind the cowl Christian Bale at the highly anticipated “Batman Begins” panel.
The “American Psycho” actor sat graciously in front of surprised fans and fielded questions from the floor in his one and only convention appearance of 2005.
Bale told fans what it was like to be in the Bat suit. “Its one hell of an honor, the suit is amazing, but hot and sweaty and it gives you a headache.” He also told the crowd that he had signed on for three films.
When asked about his favorite part of making Batman, he spoke about driving the new Batmobile through the new Gotham set. The new vehicle is indicative of the new start on the franchise. Bale also mentioned that driving the Bat mobile was “like having a Black Sabbath version of Ozzy screaming in his ear.”
One fan asked if Bale had ever imagined he would be playing a super hero considering all of his darker roles. Bale said that he never would have thought it would happen and that a bizarre bet even came up about it. “‘Equilibrium’ director Kurt Wimmer once told me I would one day play Batman.” Bale told Wimmer that he would bet him $500 dollars that he wouldn’t and it would be the easiest money he ever made. He lost and now he has become the new Bat hope.
The Batman character never became an option to Bale until about five years ago when he read the graphic novels and realized the true potential of the character. “I realized that Batman was this amazing Dark Knight that could kick the ass of any other super hero out there.” He replied that fans will be satisfied and others will be surprised and satisfied with his take on Batman.
Bale told the fans that he worried how people would react to his Batman. He then decided that he just had to have his own beliefs and convictions about how to play the character his way. When he first put on the Bat suit he wanted a monster to come out of him. “I love the cowl, but I hate it. It was so stuffy and nasty. I became the most fowl tempered person ever, but I used that.” Bale spoke about how he used the discomfort to fuel his rage in playing Batman. When asked about the task of playing Bruce Wayne and Batman, Bale said that he considers Wayne to be the mask and Batman to be the man.
Bale also discussed director Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of Wayne as a driven yet reluctant Batman who tries to fix Gotham and restore it to the Gotham of his childhood. When Bruce realizes the city needs him he becomes trapped into being Batman.
When asked about the physical aspects of being Batman, Bale told fans that it was almost as emotional as is was physical. “Batman doesn’t even come into the film until later. The emphasis is on the human aspects that then blossoms into Batman.”
The announcer then asked the crowd to give Bale a round of applause. Next the crowd was asked to not video tape or record any part of the six amazing minute that were about to be shown. “This is top secret and you are the luckiest people on the face of the Earth.”
The lights went down and we see two kids playing on the Wayne estate. Bruce runs away from a little girl and then falls into a hole in the ground. As he sits there scared in the darkness we hear the sound of bats lurking. The girl calls for Alfred and a young Bruce cries as he sits underground. Then hundreds of bats fly out and around him up into the sky. We see Thomas Wayne repel into the hole and rescue Bruce. The scene cuts to Bruce’s bedroom where he is being tucked in by his father. He asks why the bats flew away and Thomas tells him that they were scared of him. We see a scene in a theater where a play is taking place and Bruce looks scared and tells his parents he wants to leave. We see the Waynes walking out of the theatre and into an alley where a mugger holds them up at gun point. A few flashes of struggle then a scream and gunshots. The screen goes black. Rutger Hauer as Richard Earle tells a young Bruce that the Wayne Empire would be waiting for him when he was ready. We see Bruce crying in Alfred’s (Michael Caine) arms sobbing about how much he misses his parents. Then a grown up Wayne is yelled at by Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkenson) about how he will never understand what suffering and life is really like because Bruce is rich and of privilege. Carmine goes on to say that Wayne would have to travel thousands of miles before truly understanding the way the world works. We see Wayne on a snow covered mountain traveling alone. The scene cuts to a monastery with Henry Ducard (Liam Neisson) training Wayne in sword fighting. They are on an ice flat sparring with swords as Henry talks about how Wayne needs to let go of his guilt because its not his fault its his fathers fault. That turns Bruce’s guilt into rage and he beats Ducard and demands that he yield. We see Ra’s Al Ghul (Ken Watanbe) speaking about destroying Gotham. We then see Bruce begin to build the Batman armor by hand. Glimpses of Morgan Freeman and Katie Holmes and Cillian Murphy are shown. We see random explosions and Batman running around Gotham beating up bad guys and shooting his grappling gun. Shots are shown of the Batmobile racing around the streets. Then finally we see the Scarecrow who looks hideously freakish with a torn up gunny sack for a mask with stitches randomly sewed across the face. He sprays Batman with fear gas then Batman seems to hallucinate as the Scarecrow sarcastically asks him if he’s “having trouble” then the Scarecrow sets him on fire and Batman jumps out a window and goes flaming off into the night. Then the screen went black and the lights came up to roaring applause from the rabid Bat fans.
The impression left on the audience was that “Batman Begins” will truly be a new and exciting yet frightful beginning.