Christian Bale Explains the Origins of His Bat-Voice

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Christian Bale Explains the Origins of His Bat-Voice

Batman-actor Christian Bale had to become "a beast" in order to sell the role to himself.

While Christopher Nolan's Batman films are, for the most part, held in high regard there are elements here and there that were perhaps less than well received. Chief among these came from the Caped Crusader himself, Christian Bale. While Bale was well-received overall as the man behind the mask, his gravel-laden take on Batman's voice has been a subject of ridicule pretty much since its introduction.

Speaking about his Bat-voice recently Bale revealed that he did the voice at his initial audition and was certain then that it had cost him the part. "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***ed that one up, didn't you?'" That being the case, there was a rationale behind his decision to make Batman sound the way he did. "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,'" explained Bale. "I went 'I can't do this in a normal voice. I have to become a beast in order to sell this to myself.'"

Bale would, of course, sell it to the filmmakers too and then opted to continue with his Bat-voice after taking on the role proper. "[The voice] ain't for everybody," he admitted. "It was the only way that I could find how to get into that and to justify wearing the fricking Batsuit. Otherwise, he's just loopy beyond belief." Loopy or not, we still can't help but wonder if there weren't anything even slightly more subtle that Bale could have done to put himself into the role. For instance, in Batman: The Animated Series voice actor Kevin Conroy used a Bat-voice that was both distinct and fully intelligible. We just like to be able to understand what the actor is saying, is all.

Source: MTV

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Had to post this...

OT- I didn't mind the voice. I think it could have been more understandable at times, but overall I think it did fit with the setting.

Sarge034:
Had to post this...

OT- I didn't mind the voice. I think it could have been more understandable at times, but overall I think it did fit with the setting.

It was definitely at its worst in The Dark Knight. Batman Begins and The Dark Knights Rises however managed to strike a better balance with it.

What baffles me most is that it got worse between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It wasn't that bad in Begins and did actually sound quite threatening, so I don't know why he just went completely ridiculous with it after that.

And for the record, Kevin Conroy is best Batman.

I never minded the voice since in the movies he tries to scare the bad guys by pretending to be more then human while in the cartoons/games he is just a guy in a suit that is REALLY good at kicking ass.

On one level, yeah, very stupid, but he's trying to sound menacing, and different from his normal voice, so not out of place.

Well he didn't completely hit the mark and I'm surprised they never attempted to sound edit that into something more imposing, but it still hit the direction of "guy in neoprene tries to freak people out", yes the normal speaking Bats works in cartoons where everyone else is very child like but that doesn't work when shit gets real and you try to intimidate real people.

It's the same thing with Joker, the "muhahaha" Joker is scary in a cartoon setting but in The Dark Knight that was a whole new gig and freaky as all hell.

I really don't understand peoples problem with the voice he did for Batman. When I first heard people had an issue with it, I was baffled.

And then I saw the Watchmen, and heard Rorshach, whom the internet misanthropes can't seem to stop blowing, did about the exact same thing while spewing the ridiculous pseudo-philosophic crap and nobody seemed to take issue with it.

I'm gonna chalk it up to people stretching to find issue with a popular movie and a controversial actor to be contrarian.

Im one of these total of 3 people in the world that actually liked his Batman Voice.
Though the title is once agian misleading, he hasnt actually explained the origins of the voice, jsut that "he wanted to be a beast". he claims there was a reason for it but still does not tell what was it.

I kind of liked it too, it was like the lead singer from Obituary was Batman.
Kept waiting for him to sing "Chopped in Half."

I thought I had heard they edited his voice post production for the dark Knight and rises.

It made sense to try and do a different voice, I mean it's pretty obvious that Bruce Wayne is one of the few guys with the financial means to be Batman to begin with, if he starts talking in Wayne's regular voice on top of it he might as well never don the mask...

(Although it does sound ridiculously death metal)

Well this is the first ive heard of people having a problem with it. I had no problem understanding the speech. It had definite anger and spite with fear. Are people just going deaf or something? Or maybe they like to find something wrong in everything that's different to put themselves on a higher pedestal than those around them. I know people like that.
Also, doesn't he have to try and not sound like Bruce Wayne for when there are those who may recognise him?
The Joker was fairly more menacing too, i wonder why no one's bothered about that.

Strazdas:
Im one of these total of 3 people in the world that actually liked his Batman Voice.
Though the title is once agian misleading, he hasnt actually explained the origins of the voice, jsut that "he wanted to be a beast". he claims there was a reason for it but still does not tell what was it.

Pretty sure he does describe what the reason was: if he didn't do some over-the-top beastly voice then he wouldn't have been able to put himself into character. He explains that he felt like a total idiot standing there in the Batsuit, as though the entire concept of Batman was completely foolish to him. So apparently the only way he could get himself to take himself seriously was by doing that voice.

Jumwa:
I'm gonna chalk it up to people stretching to find issue with a popular movie and a controversial actor to be contrarian.

For what it's worth some people, such as myself, can't stop laughing at how preposterously ridiculous he sounds every time he opens his mouth. I think it's the dumbest possible voice that could have been chosen for Batman, and every time I hear it I have a primal urge to beat Bale in the face repeatedly. I cannot even express in words how much that voice drives me up the wall. I hates it foreverrrr!!!

Rorschach, for whatever reason, simply does not instill that same feeling of hatred in me. I'm by no means enamored with his voice, so don't confuse acceptance for love, but it's tolerable. Maybe because the character is like Gollum... a pathetic being scratching by in his own self-delusions. On that level, his voice works.

Bale's voice... ugh. It's just BAD.

RJ 17:

Strazdas:
Im one of these total of 3 people in the world that actually liked his Batman Voice.
Though the title is once agian misleading, he hasnt actually explained the origins of the voice, jsut that "he wanted to be a beast". he claims there was a reason for it but still does not tell what was it.

Pretty sure he does describe what the reason was: if he didn't do some over-the-top beastly voice then he wouldn't have been able to put himself into character. He explains that he felt like a total idiot standing there in the Batsuit, as though the entire concept of Batman was completely foolish to him. So apparently the only way he could get himself to take himself seriously was by doing that voice.

you got a point here, fair enough.

I thought his voice was decent/good. There were a couple spots where it was hard to understand him, but it makes complete sense that his character would want to sound intimidating and not sound like Bruce Wayne.

Sarge034:
Had to post this...

OT- I didn't mind the voice. I think it could have been more understandable at times, but overall I think it did fit with the setting.

I love those Pete Holmes Batman videos. That dude should have been the new Batman.

Hazy992:
What baffles me most is that it got worse between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It wasn't that bad in Begins and did actually sound quite threatening, so I don't know why he just went completely ridiculous with it after that.

And for the record, Kevin Conroy is best Batman.

The reason it got worse was because they ran his voice through a synthesizer to make it even deeper, raspier and darker than it already was. Thankfully they seem to have understood just how over-the-top it was in the Dark Knight and scaled it back a bit for the Dark Knight Rises.

I've never been a fan of the voice. It sounded to me like Bale was trying too hard to be intimidating as Batman. I do think he did well as Bruce Wayne, however.

Which explains why he still spoke in that voice when he was talking to himself while wearing the suit. Force of habit and the unwillingness to let go of how silly wearing a batman suit is XD

The whole stupid batman voice thing was one of the most annoying things about the batman/bale trilogy. It was a stupid voice and was completely unnecessary to the movie and the character. I don't understand why batman even needed a stupid batvoice, but whatever, the trilogy is done and the next Batman film will have different actors, director and aesthetic. Just hope it's not another bloody origin story. I'm tried of superhero origin stories now, just want actual superhero films.

I really liked his Batman voice because if a guy dressed as a bat is kicking the crap out of you and talks like that it would shit you right up. It's over the top, crazy and not something a normal person would use. It's all about fear and I thought it was inspired.

Animated Batman is a whole other beast and is equally valid. Animated Joker was the clown prince of crime and just as scary as Dark Knight's Joker.

They should have just given Bats a voice changer and done some post-production trickery to make him sound a bit different and imposing rather than like someone with a sore throat. Or are we to believe that Bruce can't afford such technology after investing in jets and tank-cars? He could probably get away with one of those Darth Vader masks.

Count me in with those that find the Bale voice absolutely ridiculous. Along with the terrible writing, it's a big part of the reason why I couldn't enjoy those films. I have high hopes for Afleck though.

josemlopes:
I never minded the voice since in the movies he tries to scare the bad guys by pretending to be more then human while in the cartoons/games he is just a guy in a suit that is REALLY good at kicking ass.

The problem is that in the movies, with that voice, you can't understand him. Yeah sure you can say it's used for intimidation reasons, and that's perfectly true. However, in a movie, where we are supposed to be listening to what the characters are saying, and you can't understand the lead character....well, that is a practical problem that should be addressed. If he had kept it at the level of Begins, there wouldn't have been an issue IMO. You could understand what he was saying just fine in Begins, and it still was altered enough to not be "Wait, aren't you Bruce Wayne?", and it was also intimidating.

Happyninja42:

josemlopes:
I never minded the voice since in the movies he tries to scare the bad guys by pretending to be more then human while in the cartoons/games he is just a guy in a suit that is REALLY good at kicking ass.

The problem is that in the movies, with that voice, you can't understand him. Yeah sure you can say it's used for intimidation reasons, and that's perfectly true. However, in a movie, where we are supposed to be listening to what the characters are saying, and you can't understand the lead character....well, that is a practical problem that should be addressed. If he had kept it at the level of Begins, there wouldn't have been an issue IMO. You could understand what he was saying just fine in Begins, and it still was altered enough to not be "Wait, aren't you Bruce Wayne?", and it was also intimidating.

I watched the movies with subtitles and even though I dont usually look at them as I understand english I guess they did complement my understanding of what he was saying even if they were at the corner of my eye. I can see now how that could be a problem without anything to help.

The.Bard:

For what it's worth some people, such as myself, can't stop laughing at how preposterously ridiculous he sounds every time he opens his mouth.

I could get that, except the whole concept of a real Batman is ridiculous. The voice fits it so well that I never questioned it, never even thought to think it was odd until the internet rose up in a rage.

As much as I loved Batman comics as a kid, it's a ridiculous concept in practice and I don't think you can play the guy and do it justice without an appropriately harsh, gruff and menacing voice.

I actually liked the way he did it in Batman Begins. It would've been better if he had toned it down in the other two though.

Christian Bale is awesome at being Bruce Wayne.

Not so much at being Batman. The ridiculous voice being on of the reasons.

josemlopes:

Happyninja42:

josemlopes:
I never minded the voice since in the movies he tries to scare the bad guys by pretending to be more then human while in the cartoons/games he is just a guy in a suit that is REALLY good at kicking ass.

The problem is that in the movies, with that voice, you can't understand him. Yeah sure you can say it's used for intimidation reasons, and that's perfectly true. However, in a movie, where we are supposed to be listening to what the characters are saying, and you can't understand the lead character....well, that is a practical problem that should be addressed. If he had kept it at the level of Begins, there wouldn't have been an issue IMO. You could understand what he was saying just fine in Begins, and it still was altered enough to not be "Wait, aren't you Bruce Wayne?", and it was also intimidating.

I watched the movies with subtitles and even though I dont usually look at them as I understand english I guess they did complement my understanding of what he was saying even if they were at the corner of my eye. I can see now how that could be a problem without anything to help.

Yeah, at times it was ok, but other times, the sound quality, and ambient noises, and soundtrack in the scene, made what he said come out completely garbled. I remember when I saw Dark Knight in the theater, at several points in the movie, other people in the theater with me, all said "what did he say?!" It wasn't an isolated issue, it would be like, 6 or 7 people at once would all go "huh?!" I don't have any problem with that level of gravely to his voice, for intimidation purposes. My one and only issue with the voice, was it got in the way of understanding the lead character/protagonist's words. (^_^)

If he had been able to enunciate better, and articulate more, it would've been fine IMO.

The only time I ever had a problem with the voice was in Rises where he is using it when he doesn't need to. Moments like that just had me feeling embarrassed especially with the "So that's what that feels like"

In Begins it just sounded like a slightly more raspy Bale voice and in The Dark Knight the instances people seem to draw back to when mocking it are the scenes where he is winded after being in a fight and being beaten with a crow bar or where he is aggravated(interrogation scene); I never had a problem with the voice it made sense to me...until the last movie, but there is so much about that movie that constantly has my palm to my face anyway.

I assumed he was choking during the screen test and someone was like "I LOVE IT!"

Sarge034:

OT- I didn't mind the voice. I think it could have been more understandable at times, but overall I think it did fit with the setting.

It really was fitting, and you're right. If it was a little easier to understand what he was saying, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

Theflip-side is that it's nowhere near as bad as a lot of people make it out to be.

To be fair, a normal voice in the bat suit would be... weird.

I'm not that big a fan of the bat voice, but honestly, Bale's performance as Batman is pretty good overall, so I'm willing to give him a pass on the voice.

Jumwa:
I really don't understand peoples problem with the voice he did for Batman. When I first heard people had an issue with it, I was baffled.

And then I saw the Watchmen, and heard Rorshach, whom the internet misanthropes can't seem to stop blowing, did about the exact same thing while spewing the ridiculous pseudo-philosophic crap and nobody seemed to take issue with it.

I'm gonna chalk it up to people stretching to find issue with a popular movie and a controversial actor to be contrarian.

IMO it worked with Rorschach because unlike Batman, the film didn't try to sell him as the hero. He's supposed to be questionable, morally ambiguous and completely nuts. Also I think it was a bit self-aware, being just over the top enough to not be totally grating.

Hazy992:
What baffles me most is that it got worse between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It wasn't that bad in Begins and did actually sound quite threatening, so I don't know why he just went completely ridiculous with it after that.

And for the record, Kevin Conroy is best Batman.

I find the change between films 1 and 2 strange as well. In the first it sounded a little gravelly, but still human. But in the second film he's growling like a bear. I will admit though, that it works remarkably in the bank scene at the beginning where he appears out of nowhere and vanishes just as quickly. IMO it really sells Batman as something not quite human. But when it goes on for the whole movie, it just feels off.

Hazy992:

And for the record, Kevin Conroy is best Batman.

Kevin Conroy is the best VOICE for Batman, but getting him into a live-action thing when he's getting as old as Batman Beyond Bruce? Hard sell, unless you want him to voice-over Bats a la James Earl Jones for Darth Vader. Not impossible, just very odd.

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