Christian Bale delivered one of his most memorable performances in the Dark Knight trilogy. Many agree that he’s been the best actor to capture the Bruce Wayne character and that the trilogy is the best in the superhero genre.
Bale was always at the top of the list for the role, but he still needed to audition to get the part. During his screen-test, he decided to change up his voice to provide a more compelling performance and secure the role.
Christian Bale impressed Christopher Nolan during his screen test for the Bruce Wayne role
Director Christopher Nolan knew he had to be intentional with who he selected for the Bruce Wayne role in the Dark Knight trilogy. He decided to screen-test multiple actors but was impressed by Bale’s performance the most, according to an interview on the Warner Brothers Youtube page.
“The testing process on this kind of performance … it’s not about acting ability or chemistry or any of those things,” Nolan said. “It’s about being able to project this extraordinary iconography, really, from the inside. It’s visual iconography. Christian, somehow he figured this out before the screen test. That you could not give a normal performance. You could not give an ordinary performance. You had to project massive energy through this costume, in order to not question the costume.”
Christian Bale’s voice helped him land the role
What truly set Bale apart was his ability to accurately capture Bruce Wayne’s tone for the film. He did this by tweaking his voice a bit during the audition.
“It’s about filling in a voice, and I think Christian’s voice was a big part of the impression he made on the test,” Nolan said.
Specifically, Bale changed his voice to a deeper, gruffer tone while wearing the Batman costume, a stark contrast from his voice as Bruce Wayne.
“He had decided that Batman needed to have a different voice to Bruce Wayne, that he needed to put on a voice,” Nolan said. “That supported the visual appearance of the character and explained why people recognize him from his voice. It’s pretty logically thought out.”
Christopher Nolan knew he needed to cast the Bruce Wayne role first
Nolan knew the Dark Knight trilogy would revolve around whoever played Bruce Wayne, so he prioritized casting the Batman role first.
“We knew we needed Batman first,” Nolan said. “That is always the key, getting that first. And we did that before we even had a script. And we knew that we wanted the best actor and somebody without too many past associations.”
Even though Bale was the first actor that came to mind for the role, Nolan knew he’d have to meet with dozens of other actors as well.
“Christian Bale was the first actor I met in relation to the project, actually,” Nolan said. “And as is often the case in these processes … he then went off and did a whole other movie … I met every other young actor in town, I mean every single one.”
The ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy was a big success
Nolan’s decision to select Bale as Batman paid off big time. All three of the Dark Knight films performed well at the box office and received near-universal acclaim from critics.