Christian Bale’s Batman Voice Explained [Video]

Published 8 months ago by

At this point in time, I imagine Christian Bale as that guy doing a happy two-step shuffle in the back of a bar, after just coming out of the bathroom to see the girlfriend he’s been trying to dump for a year now is flirting with a new guy. In fact, that’s pretty much the scene I picture while watching the video above, which has the Dark Knight Trilogy star talking about everything from Ben Affleck as the new Batman to the meaning behind the recent Bat-Kid event in San Francisco, which pretty much fed the world that dose of hope required to get through another week.

However, in addition to acting like a gleeful ex-boyfriend, Bale also seemed ready to just finish the entire cultural debate about his now-iconic (for better or worse) “Batman voice.” It’s been endlessly debated, criticized, and the parodies may never stop (which of us hasn’t sent a ‘Batman voice’ video message by this point?), but while out promoting his new film Out of the Furnace, Bale explained – pretty much once and for all – where and how his choice in Batman voice was conceived.

…And I get it. I do. Behind all the former pretense of creating different psychologies and distinct characters in the Bruce Wayne/Batman personas, it really boils down to a man trying to compensate for the insecurity of wearing another man’s ill-fitted silly costume. It’s hilarious to hear Bale describe his wife’s initial reaction to his Batman voice (husbands, we all got it the same!) and really this video as a whole just helps to deflate this whole issue – which has been buzzing in the zeitgeist for nearly a decade now.

Batman vs. Superman starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill Christian Bales Batman Voice Explained [Video]

Now we look to the future, which is all about Batman vs. Superman and Ben Affleck’s take on Batman. We’ve heard it’s going to be a more weary, semi-retired Bruce Wayne (possibly with an army of drones) and that he may have a former sidekick and love interest in his life. Those are nice expansive plot details, but in terms of the choices that Affleck will have to make once he IS in that costume? That will be the big point that finally, inevitably, pushes us all into the new paradigm of a changed Batman.

…By that point, you will probably look and see Christian Bale in a back booth of that bar, happily toasting you from afar.

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Out of the Furnace will be in theaters on December 6, 2013.

Batman vs. Superman will be in theaters on July 17, 2015.

Source: MTV

TAGS: batman, batman begins, batman vs superman, the dark knight, the dark knight rises

92 Comments

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  1. I really liked his Bat voice and knowing his reasoning for it is pretty cool, not surprising though.

    • Michael Keaton did the “bat-voice” first in Tim Burton’s version of Batman. Christian Bale’s bat voice exaggerated the gruffness. Also the Bale-Bat costume is an exaggerated version of the Burton-Bat suit. Black pseudo armor with a cape.

      • O, yes everything about the Nolan films are based on the previous movies………..or maybe–just maybe–it’s a new take on the comics.

  2. Yeah, well… that voice made him even more loopy. If his plan was to counteract that loopiness a bit, he failed. ;)

  3. LOL @ Christian Bale’s wife

  4. he is coked up

    • *sniff*sniff*

      HURAWL!?!?!?!?

  5. I never understood why people hated the bat voice. I thought it was really realistic. One thing i hate about most other superheroes is they talk in their normal voices TO PEOPLE THAT THEY KNOW REALLY WELL!!! Like Superman and Spiderman. I think its so unrealistic in spiderman that NO ONE RECOGNIZES HIS VOICE. How do those characters recognize who they’re talking to on the phone??? thats why i like the fact that Christian did a bat voice. It made sound more intimidating and it actually disguised who he was.

    • People hate it because it sounds ridiculous. With all the high-tech gadgets that Lucius Fox cooked up for Wayne he couldn’t come up with some kind of voice modulation device that didn’t make Batman sound as if he had stage 3 throat cancer?

      • To be honest, I wouldn’t want him to use some device to alter his voice. Having a real Bat voice is just one of Batman’s ‘things’ if you ask me.

        • That’s a good point. But as for the realism of using his own voice: anyone who knows Wayne – so basically everyone, because he is a celebrity in DC world – would immediately recognize his chin/mouth and his eyes. Using his normal voice would be the least of his problems.

          • @TheLostWinchester all superheroes would be “found out” in the real world. I would also argue that using a Voicecoder would sound more like he had “stage 3 throat cancer” than the gravely gruff voice he came up with.

            It makes me laugh just how many people said “Batmans voice sounds silly”? You can make it as grounded/gritty/dark as you like but its a dude dressed as a Bat fighting crime, this is fantastical escapism movie making and should be treated as such.

            • “TheLostWinchester all superheroes would be “found out” in the real world.”

              Exactly my point. All the more reason not to go for a choice like that. A good sounding voice would have been better than that forced version that Bale came up with. In the end arguing about it pointless, because it comes down to personal taste. Some people like that voice, I don’t. It’s simple as that. ;)

          • Hm very true, people would definitely recognize him if half his face is visible aha no arguing with that. Though I wouldn’t have it any other way. That fact that Bruce’s own eyes and mouth being visible gives me the idea that it might be easier for Bruce to provoke fear into the criminals. His mouth growling and his eyes glaring at me would scare the heck out of me aha. Though you’re right, people close to Bruce would still most likely recognize him.

        • +1

          Agreed. To me, a natural stern/intelligent voice is much more intimidating than a voice that is blatantly trying to achieve intimidation.

        • Good point. On the other hand, I could imagine a really creepy artificial voice. One that disguises but also is deliberately meant to intimidate. Would play better on film than could be done in books, since you can’t actually *hear* manipulated voice. I bet Hans Zimmer could help them out with it too. He loves that kind of sh*t. :)

          • it’s like what happened on the green lantern when he went to the girls hoouse, he tried to changed his voice and she still knew it was him… anybody close to any super hero would know who they really are.

    • It’s pretty basic really, and easy to understand.

      In some scenes, the voice comes off as goofy and over the top. It works better in other scenes. And then there’s a third state, where it’s not a matter of “is he doing the voice well or not well,” but “why is he doing the batman voice in that scene?”

      Even if you think 100% of the batman voice lines from all 3 movies were done perfectly, you should still be able to wrap your head around the concept of why people dislike it. If you can’t there’s something wrong with you.

      It’s like someone saying “well I don’t like chocolate milk, so I have NO IDEA why other people like it.” Really? You just can’t wrap your head around why other people would like it? Our personal experience has nothing to do with how the rest of the universe operates. You liking Bale’s batman voice doesn’t mean everyone else likes it.

      • +1

      • There must be “something wrong” with me then, although I don’t appreciate what you’re implying there.

        • Just so we’re clear, I don’t care what you appreciate.

          • I doubt he cares if you care or not.

            • I doubt he cares whether he cares whether he cares or not.

      • @Ken

        “why is he doing the batman voice in that scene?”

        THIS! I know there are more than these 2, but in Begins, he talks to Alfred with the bat-voice. Then in DK he talk to Fox at the end in the voice. These 2 know he is Bruce.

        I always liked how the Animated series handled the interaction with people who were in on Bruce’s identity. Scenes from the first season (prior to Robin) always had Alfred conversing with Batman, but he is not using his bat-voice. It felt more natural.

        Personally, I found it to be fine in the first film, then it started to get annoying in the 2nd…and down right absurd by the 3rd.

        • Would it not be stranger for him to break character whilst in full Batsuit after committing himself to a split personality? Animated series aside.

          • THANK you. Yes. Exactly.

            Personally, I thought the voice was great throughout the trilogy.

  6. Because thelostwinter they used it in on the show arrow and it sounded far worse. His voice served a logical purpose

  7. Its just like the people who complain that he used his voice to selina even tho she knows he is bruce wayne. Batman isnt a disguise its a persona, in more ways than one bruce wayne is his disguise and the dkr explained that multiple times.

  8. People that complain about things like the “bat voice” have way too much time on their hands.

    • Says the guy complaining about people voicing their opinion on an internet site that is made for that very purpose. ;)

    • Like you? Considering your here complaining about people complaining has too much time on their hands. Since we both have excess amount of time on our hands, wanna complain about more crap since that’s what we both do well at.

  9. How many accents did he go through in that one interview?

    Anyway, the voice Bale uses makes perfect sense. So many times in the comics Batman is referenced to changing to a deep, gruff, and raspy voice. A great time is when Azriel is being trained by Robin to be like Batman (The Knightfall Saga). He flat-out explains to Azriel how Bruce changes his voice into Batman to sell the illusion. (Batman #498, Pg.21)

    • You sir, is a true batman fan. We think alike, I remember this issue.

  10. it never bothered me, i actually only noticed his voice after the movie when everyone was joking around about it, i guess i assumed it was like Clark Kents glasses

    someone have another video, this one isnt working for me…

    • There are certain scenes in the later 2 movies where I was stifling a laugh in the theater.

      • yea after the first movie and that being planted in my head thats all i could think of hahaha

  11. It’s not really the voice that bothered, it was the BatLisp.

    [i]Incontheevable![/i]

    • not []

      • “”***

        IT GOT ME!

        • <

          • >

            THESE THINGS!

            • Yeah… used to message board tags.

              I keep forgetting SR uses real HTML tags.

              Incontheevable!

            • I was confused until I read the message you were replying to aha.

                • BLAST!

  12. I thought it was great. Nothing was more disappointing to me than hearing Dr. Doom as a sniveling yuppie.

  13. Wait until you listen to the voice of the weary Batfleck. Does he have a good voice for the role? I don’t think so.

    • “Hey supah-man, that was wicked cool of you to fly me out here…”

  14. I thought it was obvious the reasons for the voice change after ‘Batman Begins’. You know, what becomes necessity in his head transforms into compulsion. Maybe it was the fault of the overall narrative to not hint enough of why it changed so dramatically from the first to the second movie. But to me it was both understandable and fine.

    *obligatory comment about the mess that was ‘TDKR’, lest of all Selina Kyle seemingly knowing who Bats was but still acting in surprise when Bane calls him out…*

    • Nothing in the film that I can remember gave the impression that Selina knew Wayne was Batman before she led him to Bane.

    • She didn’t seemingly know anything? Even when talking to Batman after evading Bane in ‘The Bat’ she talks about selling Bruces prints to Daggett and makes a joke about him having a powerful friend (in Batman).

      • I inferred that to mean she genuinely thought Bruce Wayne knew Batman, not that Bruce Wayne was Batman. The scene with Bane was when she put the pieces together.

        • Not you JP it was a reply to Ajeno “lest of all Selina Kyle seemingly knowing who Bats was but still acting in surprise when Bane calls him out…*

          Obviously missed a couple of scenes along the way in “the mess that was ‘TDKR’”

  15. I still don’t get this “Affleck” take on batman for a new franchise. How does the franchise move forward, with the inevitable Justice League film, if when Batman is introduced he’s already old, weary, and semi-retired? Where do you go from there? How does that work for a new set of Batman solo films, culminating with JL? Is Batman gonna be in a nursing home by the time they get to a Justice League film?

    • Snyder (Director of the film) said he would be “Tired and weary” Daniel Atler (a producer with no connection to the project) said he would be semi-retired. People would have been fine with Bale carrying on in to a justice league movie and Affleck is only 2 years older than him. TDKT was filmed over a 7 year period “Is Batman gonna be in a nursing home by the time they get to a Justice League film?” no.

  16. Those who criticize Bale’s Batman voice, should see the Arrow character on the TV series. Doesn’t Stephen Ameil do the same gruffy voice when he puts the Arrow hood on?

    • You must have missed Season 1.

      Arrow uses a voice modulator for his “gruffiness”.

      Also, considering Batman’s use of technology, a more grounded/modern Dark Knight would definitely use a voice modulator… and white eye lenses to hide his identity even more.


      Fox: I also have these other things to help you mask your true identity.
      Wayne: Iths okay, I’ll justh usthe a listhp. Sthee? I bet you can’t even recognithe me.

      • You make him sound like Tweety Bird from Loony Tunes. Which is more than fine by me.

        “I tawt I taw a putty Bat.”

      • “considering Batman’s use of technology, a more grounded/modern Dark Knight would definitely use a voice modulator… and white eye lenses to hide his identity even more.”

        Should have just binned Nolan off and hired you.

      • Not completely accurate, he does add a certain “gruffness” to his voice when he dons the hood or talking to Diggle about arrow-related stuff. He then uses the voice modifier when talking to people that he has known his whole life such as Laurel, his sister and so on. You can notice that his regular talking voice is just a bit smoother and ever so slightly higher pitched when he’s just Oliver.

        • I don’t really notice any added gruff when Arnell speaks as Arrow to people he knows.

          That’s just how Arnell speaks, he does that even when he’s Ollie.

          • He uses a device to disguise his voice when he talks to Laurel when he’s Arrow. If you pay attention you’ll notice a slight difference between how he speaks as Oliver Queen and how he speaks when he’s Arrow. And when he speaks to Laurel or other people that know him personally that he doesn’t want to find out his secret, the device he uses doesn’t sound like his voice.

  17. You all are missing the point here. (Yes, you too, Mr. Bale.)

    Batman is Batman, not Bruce Wayne. You can’t compare Batman to Superman and Spiderman and them not changing their vocals when speaking either “suited-up” or not, because Superman is Clark Kent and Spiderman is Peter Parker. On the other hand, Batman is Batman and he plays the fool and goes undercover by day in his Bruce Wayne mask.

    Batman’s voice is his actual voice, Bruce Wayne has a different tone of voice because he’s just a character that the Dark Knight needs to go during daylight till he comes back to his cave where he can be himself.

    Kevin Conroy understands this really well.

    Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale just completely overlooked this and went with their own interpretation, the same old story where the freak plays the hero. Batman is not playing the hero, he’s got these heroic traits and tries his best to do it as right as he can.

  18. I never had a problem with the voice and argued countless times with my brother, who hated it.

    I’ll never understand the amount of hatred it gets because lets be honest, Karl Urban did the same as Judge Dredd by honouring that characters origins as a Dirty Harry style cop with a gruff voice and yet everyone wanted him to be the new Batman because of his voice, which isn’t much different to the one Bale used.

    • Could be just down to preference of chin. Bale chin v Utban chin… Hm… I wouldn’t like to call that contest personally…

  19. On a more serious note (and primarily because I forgot to mention it first time around), it only became more noticeable the longer the monologue he had to deliver. In short bursts it would’ve been neither here nor there to those who disliked it. But anymore than two sentences and the brain would’ve registered it more and more.

    A bit like Bane for me. Short, sharp sentences sounded awesome. That scene where he is on the steps doing a monologue however did not.

  20. im going to find and b1tchslap whichever pr1ck it was in your office decided to make this video not available in the UK.

    WHERE IS HE!!!!!!!!!!

  21. You know, Kevin Conroy said something similar about when he created the voice for Batman. He thought about he pain and fury and created the greatest Batman voice ever. Bale kinda copped out IMO by doing a voice so obvious instead of working hard to find a voice that completely embodied the character.

  22. It was good in Begins because it was a gruff whisper. It became something annoying and unnecessary.

    Whether you like Kevin Conroy or not, he did make a valid point: you don’t have to exaggerate a persona in order to make it intimidating. Michael Keaton proved that, Kevin Conroy proved that.

    It’s the subtle sense of anger that makes Batman intimidating because he could break lose at any moment. Bale’s Batman was CONSTANTLY being anything but subtle, I wouldn’t find it intimidating in the slightest if I were a criminal in Gotham.

  23. there’s only two scenes that i ever noticed or thought the voice sounded a little weird. nothing in begins, but tdk when he says “he must have friends” to eric roberts, he sounds like macho man randy savage, and some of his shpeal on the building after catching the joker he sound a bit out of breath. but he was just in a fight. …it just never bothered me, but the jokes and immitations are pretty funny! people just over react a bit about it. no one really said anything until the jokes started coming

    • “oowwwwww yeeeahhh”

      RIP Macho Man

  24. His Begins voice was great but they overkilled it in TDK and Rises. I heard they did post production on it though. And I’m pretty sure Keaton and Kilmer changed their voices as well. I mean it makes sense, helps disguise your identity and makes you creepier. Hell even Conroy used to change his voice dramatically during the earlier seasons of Batman The animated series but was told to lay off during the later seasons to help convey a darker feel…whatever that means.

  25. I’m almost positive that Batman’s voice isn’t JUST to conceal his identity: it’s to intimidate his targets, instill fear in them.

    Which is why it doesn’t need to be over-the-top. Batman is a man of few words, and he will get angry when he needs to get angry. I don’t think any criminal would try to listen in on Batman’s voice to find out who he is, he freaking scares the living daylights out of everyone he encounters. Fear blocks out all senses and converts them into panick and adrenaline.

    He would only need to be over-the-top if they caught on to his act and learned to face their fears.

  26. Love Bale. One of the best actors working today.

  27. Poor Patrick Bayard.

    Bale even said it himself:

    “It doesn’t matter what actor plays Batman, he’s symbol that bigger than any actor”.

    • Uh… “he’s *a* symbol”… foiled by non-editing again!!!!

      • dude, you’re an ass. Shut your mouth.

        • @Ian:

          Patrick?

          Why would you talk to Christian Bale like that?

  28. LOSER!!!!

  29. I can tell how annoyed Bale is with the Bat questions, but he does make sense on changing voices, having him talking normal with the bat suit will be kind of lame and it wouldn’t be freighting

    • frightening^

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