Christian Bale on Playing ‘The Dark Knight’: “It’s been a very important character… and the movies themselves have changed my life and changed my career”
Christopher Nolan’s re-envisioning of the “Batman” universe has set the bar significantly higher for the way superhero films are made. Nolan’s desire to honor creator Bob Kane’s original vision, while adding poignant societal commentary, make the recent “Dark Knight” series beyond what could be considered ordinary big-budget entertainment. Nolan’s films are art wrapped up in an action film package.
Christian Bale, reprising his role as “Bruce Wayne/Batman” in the third and final installment, The Dark Knight Rises, recently chatted about how even the action scenes and batsuit were the antithesis of what could be considered “average” for an action film, Chris Eggertsen of Hit Fix reported.
Bale explained that even the new fight sequences expose a lot about Bruce’s character. “The thing I liked so much about the fight sequences with [Bane] is they’re never just knock-down fight sequences … you learn something more about each character throughout each fight, which is the mark of a good fight. …You learn about what Batman has had to go through from the beginning of the movie to the end in order to be able to defeat this man.” Bale goes on to say that the fight scenes also explain many aspects of “Bane,” Batman’s adversary, in the sequel. “…You’re learning about Bane as well, and the changes that have come over him. And that’s always essential in any fight. That’s what you’re looking for… We’ve seen so many people punching each other non-stop, who cares? You’re looking for ‘what are the changes? What are the weaknesses? What are the strengths of each character that are going to allow them to dominate one or the other?’”
Bale went on to explain that playing Batman was not always easy. For instance, the Batsuit, itself, was very difficult to fully embrace. “The first time I ever put on the cowl I thought, ‘Chris has to re-do the cast … because the claustrophobia was just unbelievable. I stood there and I thought, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t think, this is too tight, this is squeezing my head, I’m gonna panic, I’m about to have a nervous breakdown, a panic attack right this second!’” Despite this, Bale decided to work through the anxiety. “I just stood there and I thought, ‘I’d really like to make this movie. I’d like to be able to get through this … so I just stood for 20 minutes by myself and then called everyone back in and said, ‘ok… just talk very calmly please, and maybe I can get through this.’”
In contrast, when it finally came time to wrap the film, Bale had trouble letting go of the Batsuit. “We wrapped … and I realized this is it. I’m not going to be taking this cowl off again. So again, I said ‘can you please leave me alone for 20 minutes?’ and sat with that moment. It was the realization…of real pride of having achieved what we had set out to. It was a very important moment for me, it’s been a very important character… and the movies themselves have changed my life and changed my career. So I wanted to just appreciate that.”