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Batman Begins - I think it’s kind of limitless with this superhero, because he is so contradictory, so complex, and he has so many demons and issues

Feature by: Jack Foley

CHRISTIAN Bale may be following the likes of Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney into the Batsuit, but he maintains that his interpretation is the boldest yet.

As much as anything, Batman Begins treats Batman as the central character.

He no longer feels like a guest in his own movie, but is given the scope to explore the twisted, tormented psychology that makes up Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego, The Dark Knight.

And it was this fresh approach, as well as the opportunity to work with Christopher Nolan, that helped to get an actor of Bale's calibre on board.

"I’d never actually realised, from seeing the other movies, just how interesting Batman was, because I became so fascinated with the villains that, in many ways, it felt like treading water when Batman arrived," he told a recent London press conference.

"It wasn’t until reading the Graphic novels that I was really surprised at just how interesting the character of Batman could be and wasn't sure why that had never been seen in a feature film before."

Incredibly, at the time of winning the role of Batman, Bale had just completed the psycholgical horror film, The Machinist, for which he had 'shrunk' to just 121 pounds and was unable to do a single push-up.

The challenge then became to be physically competent enough to cope with the rigorous demands of filming, and to cut a suitably believable action hero.

"It was a pretty arduous journey to get there, and I think my heart was wondering what the hell was going on," he laughed.

"But I kind of just managed to get into appropriate shape by the time we started filming and, in fact, I went way too big. There were some 'Fatman' comments made at me when I first arrived on the set!"

Having made the role his own, however, Bale is looking forward to taking the Batman/Bruce Wayne story arc even further - so long as audiences embrace his portrayal and future films continue to allow the character to take centre stage.

"I’m signed up for the next one," he confirmed, when asked about whether he would like to return for a sequel. "And it is certainly something that I’m more than happy to be back for if people embrace this movie and enjoy the style and my portrayal of Batman."

As for where he would like to see the franchise go next, he continued: "I think it’s kind of limitless with this superhero, unlike others, because he is so contradictory, so complex, and he has so many demons and issues.

"I think that there are many things that can be done further but there would be no point in making a sequel if there was not going to be anything new, you know?

"I don’t think it would make any sense to suddenly return to what we’ve seen in the past, where suddenly Batman is sidelined and the villains are the interesting ones again.

"We’ve established that Batman is just as interesting and, in my mind, a more interesting character than the majority of the villains, so I would hope that would continue."

Certainly, if Christopher Nolan has anything to do with it, and box office is as strong as the reviews thus far, the Batman franchise is in safe hands for a long time yet.

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