Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Christian Bale remembers the first time he put on the Batman costume, he suddenly felt overwhelmed. He literally couldn’t breathe.
“I thought, ‘oh, Chris (Nolan) has to recast,’ because the claustrophobia was just unbelievable,” the Welsh actor recalls.
Bale, in discomfort, asked everyone to clear out of his dressing room and give him 20 minutes alone to contemplate whether to continue in the duel role of Bruce Wayne/Batman or give up and walk away. The intense young actor spent the next several minutes psyching himself into playing the caped crusader. He really wanted to do it, he told himself. He emerged from the room ready to go and asked director Nolan if they could do it calmly and quietly, to which the filmmaker agreed. The suit also was modified so it would be comfortable for the actor to wear.
“That panic aspect was lost because I was able to rip it off myself if I ever did start seeing stars and couldn’t breathe,” says Bale.
Since then, wearing the cape and cowl has become as easy as putting on an old pair of slippers for the actor.
With the box office and critical success of 2005’s “Batman Begins,” Bale returned three years later for “The Dark Knight,” which was an even bigger hit with audiences and critics. Both films earned a combined $738 million worldwide. The dramatic comic book movie even earned a posthumous Oscar win for Heath Ledger, who delivered an unforgettable supporting performance as the demented Joker.
Now, with the “The Dark Knight Rises,” Bale once again—and for the final time—slips into the Batman costume in Nolan’s epic conclusion to the trilogy. (The rest of this article is available only to frontrowfeatureswire.com subscribers. For subscription information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)