As silly as it sounds, Batman Begins is the film that made me want to be an film reporter. Against all wishes, I reluctantly saw the Christopher Nolan flick in theaters at age 14, and once I had picked my jaw up off the floor, went back to see it again, and again, and again. It blew me away. I had no idea a superhero movie could be so layered, so gripping, so explosive without the use of actual explosions. There was suddenly weight and depth given to Batman's origin story, which had previously been summed up as an adolescent fear of bats and a childhood tragedy. Older Batman iterations — which I'd found amusing but not exceptional — were revved up with shiny suits and bat nipples, overly cartoonish villains and cringe-inducing dialogue. If it weren't for Master Wayne's excess of eyeliner and passion for spelunking, Batman Begins' could pass as a superb drama, superheroes excluded. The film is raw, shrouded in shadows and darkness, boasts little glitz, and is real — that is, as realistic as a film about a man conquering bad guys in a batsuit can be.
Since 2004's Batman Begins, many superheroes have come and gone. Christian Bale's Batman is similar to Marvel's Tony Stark — a billionaire bachelor with a penchant for new technology and fast cars — but instead of Stark's biting sarcasm, Batman has a deep-rooted sense of purpose. Played by Ben Affleck, Batman will next appear alongside Henry Cavill's Superman in Batman V. Superman, directed by Zack Snyder. And while 2013's Man of Steel trailer was my favorite of the year, watching the film itself was akin to taking a lethal dose of kyrptonite.
As much as the Snyders of the world may try, in my estimation, a near perfect renewal of Batman can only be achieved through the prowess of Nolan + Bale. It has been ten years since Bruce Wayne first graced our screens in the Nolan trilogy, and superhero films will never be the same. So to celebrate this glorious film turning a decade old, here are 17 things you may not have known about the celebrated 2004 film.
Christian Bale Auditioned In Val Kilmer's Batsuit
When The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector's Edition was released a few years back, a lot of special footage was crammed onto the discs. One clip showed Bale's screen test opposite Amy Adams, where he wears Val Kilmer's batsuit.
Christian Bale's Infamous Batman Voice Emerged Because He Hated The Batsuit
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 said. “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.’
Christian Bale Has A Penchant For Falling Asleep While Filming
In the scene, I was meant to be waking up, so I laid down and just fell asleep. And I didn't hear 'action'. So Michael and Morgan were talking, and I was supposed to join in. I woke up with Michael Caine poking me in the ribs and going, 'Look at that! He's bloody fallen asleep, hasn't he? He's bloody fallen asleep!'
A Drunk Driver Crashed Into The Batmobile
While promoting the film, a drunk driver allegedly crashed into the infamous batmobile. Christian Bale found the whole ordeal hysterical, saying: "One poor drunken driver managed to ram sidelong into the Batmobile in Chicago. He got hauled off to jail."
Bale said he would loved to have been privy to the conversation that went down in the driver's jail cell. "I would have liked to hear his story to the inmates in prison: 'What did you do?' 'Oh, not much. I hit Batman's car.'"
Superman Was Almost Batman
Man of Steel's Henry Cavill was almost cast as Bruce Wayne, as he auditioned for the part just days before they cast the role. Ironically, he will play Superman opposite Ben Affleck's Batman in Zack Snyder's Superman V. Batman. (Fun fact: Cavill also auditioned and wasn't cast in the roles of Twilight's Edward Cullen and James Bond.)
Bruce Wayne Isn't The Richest Fictional Character
A year after the film was released in 2005, Forbes ranked Bruce Wayne as the seventh richest fictional character with a net worth of around $6.8 billion. The characters that banked more than Bruce include Mr. Monopoly, Richie Rich, and Daddy Warbucks.
The Batcave Was Real
Batman Begins batcave was a colossal full-scale set that, unlike previous Batman iterations, didn't use any visual effects.
Bale Ditched His British Accent While Promoting The Film
Christian Bale is not from America, but Bruce Wayne is. He's an American treasure, and Christian Bale wanted to help preserve this American superhero so he ditched his naturally English accent during the Batman Begins press tour.
Christian Bale Lost His Voice Multiple Times While Filming
Which, given the nature of that raspy drawl, isn't that surprising.
Jake Gyllenhaal Was Up For The Role Of Batman
Which, if he had landed the role, would have made things very awkward when his sister Maggie played Wayne's love interest in The Dark Knight.
It Would Cost $3.5 Million To Become Batman
... according to Forbes magazine, who calculated the outlandish cost — Batmobile included.
Batman Begins Is The First Film To Feature Live-Action Scarecrow
A psychological terror through and through, Cillian Murphy was utterly shiver-inducing as his creepy doctor turned villain, who — while included in some of the earliest Batman comics — had never appeared in a live-action iteration.
While It's Called Batman Begins, The Word "Batman" Is Only Said 10 Times In The Film
Batman. Batman. Batman. Batman. Batman. Batman. Batman. Batman. Batman... BATMAN!
The Working Title For The Film Was The Intimidation Game
Batman Begins Is The Only Batman Movie In The Trilogy That Utilizes Bats
Rachel Dawes Does Not Exist In Batman Comics
She was created by Christopher Nolan for his trilogy, and portrayed first by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins, then replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal in the second installment, The Dark Knight.
Christian Bale Is The Youngest Actor To Play Batman Ever
At 30 years old, Bale is the youngest live-action Bruce Wayne. Val Kilmer and George Clooney were both 36 years old when they took on the role, and Michael Keaton and Adam West were both 38 at the time they portrayed the superhero.
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