Christian Bale’s Wife Didn’t Like Her Husband’s Batman Voice, and Thought He Bombed His Batman Audition by Using It
The Batman voice has become a staple of the character for many years now. From the animated series to live-action movies, Batman changing his voice is another way to conceal his identity. Christian Bale honored this tradition in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy. But some initially weren’t fans of his Batman voice. One of his critics happened to be his own wife, who thought he messed up his chances of being Batman by using it.
Michael Keaton originally came up with the Batman voice because he’s a ‘logic freak’
As some may know, the origin of the Batman voice started with Michael Keaton. The actor took up the mantle of the caped crusader in Tim Burton’s Batman, and received massive critical acclaim for his performance. One aspect of his performance he was complimented on was making the distinction between Bruce Wayne’s voice and Batman’s. Talking to Josh Horrowitz on his Happy Sad Confused podcast, Keaton shared how he came up with the voice.
“I’m kind of a logic freak,” he said according to MTV News. “I don’t know how to do anything unless I have a logic to it. It can be the silliest, stupidest, broadest thing, but I have to work from somewhere.”
So when Keaton’s Batman confronted a criminal in a dark alley in the film, something about the scene didn’t feel right.
“There’s no way this guy doesn’t just look at me and say, ‘That’s Bruce Wayne, everybody! I figured it out,'” he said. “’It’s obviously you! You’re four feet away from me!'”
Keaton and Tim Burton discussed ways to solve the issue. Ultimately, they decided that disguising his voice was the way to go.
“I had to do something,” Keaton said. “I had to drop down a register. Then I learned, later, that it became a thing [for future Batman movies.]”
Christian Bale’s wife didn’t like her husband’s Batman voice
Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan came up with their own take of Batman disguising his voice in their films. Instead of just dropping his voice down a level or two, Bale adopted a more guttural, blunter change for his Batman voice. He found this voice while auditioning for the first movie in Val Kilmer’s Batman costume.
“I got there. They put me in 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,” Bale told MTV News. “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.’”
But early on, Bale’s particular version of his Batman voice had its fair share of critics. The first one being his own wife.
“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 f***** that one up, didn’t you?'” he recalled. “Thank God they went for it.”
But Bale wasn’t too torn up about his wife’s reaction.
“[The voice] ain’t for everybody,” he conceded.
Robert Pattinson thought his original Batman voice was ‘atrocious’
“Everyone does this kind of gruff, gravelly thing, and I’m like, ‘I’m going to do the opposite — I’m gonna go really whispery,’” Pattinson said. “And I tried to do it for the first two weeks, and it just looked absolutely atrocious, and they told me to stop doing it.”
So Pattinson kept working on his voice until he found one that was perfect for him.
“You can feel when it feels right. You put the suit on, and you have to speak in a certain way,” he said.