Kevin Conroy Calls Out Christian Bale’s Batman Voice

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 10:10 am,

Batman on Batman Kevin Conroy Calls Out Christian Bales Batman Voice

Batman has always been known for his duality, but this is ridiculous. Kevin Conroy’s panel at C2E2 on Friday gave us an interesting look into his world as the voice of animated Batman. While he mentioned the progress of the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum 2, the real treat was his words of disappointment with Christian Bale’s infamous Batman voice.

A civil war has brewed amongst fans on whether Bale’s husky voice work is good or bad since he first appeared as the Caped Crusader in Batman Begins. Now, we get a professional opinion. It’s tough to find more expertise than the most recognizable voice of the Dark Knight, Kevin Conroy. You may expect him to be coy with answers and simply praise Bale, but the man spoke his version of the truth.

When asked if Warner Bros. has ever requested he dub of The Dark Knight, the entire room laughed with Conroy before he gave an answer. Even better, he starts it off with his version of the awesome movie line, “I’m not wearing hockey pads.” See it for yourself with our video from the event. (Apologies for the audio mix-up near the beginning)

The passion with which people hate Christian Bale’s voice work is amusing, if not overwhelming. It is important to take a look at the character objectively and figure out why such an esteemed actor would choose to take it to such extremes.

Bruce Wayne’s goal to instill fear in his enemies is more than a cape and mask. It’s also more than “an idea.” The voice is an extension of his intimidation. While a line of dialogue here and there can become awkwardly forced with his raspy voice, it is part of the persona of Batman. If anything, it makes Wayne more human. But I understand many will not side with that sentiment, and their argument is sound with years of proof from Kevin Conroy that it can be done.

Video of the rest of Kevin Conroy’s discussion,will be up by the end of the weekend. It’s a great 25-minute up close look at the “classic Batman” with stories on how he got started with the character and its evolution throughout the years.

Batman Gotham Knight Kevin Conroy Kevin Conroy Calls Out Christian Bales Batman Voice

In addition to giving his fellow Batman a hard time, Conroy mentioned he had finished primary recording for Arkham Asylum 2 and expects the game to be finished by the end of the year. Based on a report from our own Game Rant, that seems a dubious claim.

If you are a fan of the animated Batman series, specifically with Mark Hamill as the Joker, Conroy shared some awe for the colleague’s performances. Stories of intensity and camaraderie between the two were intriguing and gave us an idea just why the characters are so powerful.

Voice your opinion on the Christian Bale voice debate below and let us know if you side with Conroy or Bale in the comments section below.

TAGS: batman begins, the dark knight

160 Comments

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  1. The growling voice is not an original idea: it is referenced in the comics. In “Knightfall”, Robin makes a reference to Batman’s “gravelly” voice while talking to Nightwing. Yes, the purpose is two-fold: cover his identity, and to be intimidating. I grew up watching Batman on television, and wondered why no one recognized the voice of well known Bruce Wayne.

    • Yes, but “gravelly” is not the same as “obnoxious growl that makes you sound like a 5 year old discovering he can growl”.

  2. I agree with conroy…i couldn’t stand bale’s voice as batman. To harsh.

  3. I agree with Kevin too. christian bale just didn’t suit to portray the Dark night at all. His looks or voice just didn’t fit the criteria. let alone the fact that he played the psycho in ‘american pyscho’ just stuck to him. The Dark Knight deserves someone better to portray him than bale.

    • look batman voice work is dependent on nolan not bale…………..and tell me who else could play bruce wayne more handsomely than bale…i bet no one wil

      • A fresh notion that the actor wasn’t completely responsible and probably very true. Nolan wouldn’t’ve OK’d the final cut if he’d been unhappy with Bale’s portrayal, or he would’ve had it re-dubbed. Either way, Bale does a stand-up job of both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Of the two, portraying a convincing Bruce Wayne is key, as pretty much anyone could stick a mask on, talk in a gravely voice and pretend to be the costumed superhero. If you can do better, do so and let us see the results!

      • christian bale did a awesome job as batman/Bruce. Someone as famous as Bruce not only needs a costume but needs to cover up his voice as well because people would know who he was. As long as you can understand it then it’s fine. I don’t understand how people didn’t recognize batman as Bruce when conroy portrayed him. I like both but don’t hate on bale. Definitely is the best batman ever on the big screen

      • f*** you b**** xD

    • Bale is a far better choice than the idiots who took over the role after michael keaton. The voice is over the top and that’s the idea. Plus Bale’s Bruce Wayne is better than any other big screen version

    • Seriously, Bale is the dark knight and that’s it. Tell me, if you are so smart, who would be better than Bale? As a matter of fact, since he is not the first dark knight, was anyone better than him? I think not.

  4. Geeks!

  5. I think The Batman isn´t Rorschach…

  6. blame Nolan! he altered Bale’s Batman voice during the post production of TDK

    listen Bale in “Batman Begins” and the trailer of TDK and you will see

    and Bale did some movies and promotions after TDK:it’s funny how any journalists said him nothing about Batman voice

  7. nolan did a horrible job in trying to reboot the series to be honest i don’t know how the dark knight rises will live up to the fans i didnt like the nolan movies

    • Jon have you actually watched Begins and Dark Knight? They are quite possibly the greatest comic book film adaptations of all time. Please gain some sense.

      • Word! Respect bro!

      • If by “greatest comic book adaptation” you mean ignoring most of Batman’s personality traits, ignoring the fact that his biggest ability is his amazing intellect, knowledge of almost all martial arts, the fact that he’s at top physical condition for all humans (can lift 1k pounds), adding in people to do work for him that the real Bats did himself, and that the movie (while a good adaptation and fun “take” on the comics, the fact that most people, when thinking about Batman, don’t think “smart” after watching this movie and just that he’s of average intelligence, was barely anything like the comics at all, then sure!

        /Runon

        • Well its a different universe, after all.

      • There are two types of people in regards to the movies. Those who have read most of the comics and can look at it objectively and those who watched the movies and then wikied some relevant info on Batman. More often than not, it’s the latter defending the voice or saying this was the “greatest Batman of all time!”

        I’m not saying the movie was horrible, I found it quite good, but it was NOT true to life to the comics and saying it is is tantamount to blasphemy if one could equate it as such.

    • I’m sure you just loved Schumacher’s crap Batman movies

    • My god Jon are u stupid? How can u not like Nolan’s films? They were simply amazing and Bale as Bruce fit perfectly he is what I imagine Batman to be if he were real.

  8. I don’t watch cartoons, so I could care less what Conroy thinks. It’s not like Christian Bale is polishing his Oscar and fretting over what people think of his Batman voice :)

    • Agreed

  9. His voice is amazing! Christian bale is the first to break the same voice as your real identity s***. One flaw in hero films that makes them unrealistic is that they dont change their damn voice or sometime their masks wouldnt stop the people they know who they always save from knowing who they were. When bale puts on his suit you cannot tell its him by the face or voice. And sure yes Kevin Conroy has a badass batman voice but what he has in voice he certainly does NOT have in looks. Why dont you put him in the bat suit then you get a real laugh. All actors have something or lack something others dont. Its dumb to make fun of something so insignifigant especially when bale uses it to intimidate. If you asked bale and conroy to have a WHERE ARE THEY contest bale wins everytime

    • Actually your wrong the first actor EVER to have 2 different voices for Batman and Bruce was Conroy IF you ever watched Btas you would find that. It was the producers that later suggested to Conroy to deepen Bruce’s voice over time not his. Btas was Conroy’s first ever animated voice over role and unfortunately I think he went like Adam West did, type cast as Batman. But as far as the fan’s are concerned when it comes to the voice of Batman it is Conroy. Actually you will probably find that someone suggested to Bale see if you can copy what Conroy. This is not the full video, I have seen it on YT Conroy actually says that Bale is a great actor and it wasn’t his fault the voice he put on sounded funny Conroy was not dissing Bale at all.

  10. I noticed Bale’s voice and how it changed, and I noticed the jokes mentioned about it. I never gave it any thought for my own opinion,really. IMO, Bale’s attributes work well for this version of Batman, Kilmer worked well for that camp/serious version of Batman, Keaton was lovely in that version of Batman, and Conroy will always have a special place with that robust voice he used for Batman, but that was a cartoon version and as such, I think rules of the medium sort of changes things a bit. Right I forgot George Clooney’s version…I didn’t like that George does this head tilt thing when he speaks in almost every role, and he did it as Batman…other than that it was okay.

  11. Worst bat ever, terrible voice

    • f*** U GEE

  12. I think he did a great job. In the comics it was even mentioned that Batman’s voice was “gravelly”. It’s intimidatin, disguises his voice, and Christian Bale hit it right on the dot with his acting. And who is this guy, the voice for the cartoon batman, to call Bale put on this? Lately it seems like people are just trying to attack Christian Bale for anything they can think of! It’s ridiculous.

  13. As a fan and aspiring actress of voice over, I always found Conroy’s interpretation of the character to fit in quite nicely. Conroy has that somewhat dark and mysterious tone in his voice that make it unique. However, even though I am training and studying voice over, I cannot ENTIRELY side with Mr. Conroy with his opinion against Christian Bale’s voice for the Batman films. Live action films and animation voice over is a whole different story. I mean, come on, Christian Bale is an actor…NOT a voice over actor. That may explain why his voice isn’t that great. But, his acting is phenominal! :) However, if I were to choose between the two voices, I would choose Kevin Conroy’s. His take and emotion just fits perfect with the animations of the Dark Knight. But, hey, if I heard Christian Bale’s voice in a voice over booth one day…..maybe I might have a second thought on his voice. I mean, he was moving around and probably out of breath at some point in the movies and when you are in a voice over booth, it is completely dead and there is no moving involved. Maybe his voice would have been more clear when recording in an actual vocal booth. But from what I hear in the movies, I feel that he’s making his voice sound a little too harsh. But, just my opinion about the voices!

  14. What a prick, the guy did the same voice during his whole life so he gets all jealous when someone still the thing from him. I had respect for this man, now i don’t. Bale’s interpretation of Batman is outstanding.

  15. I’m sorry but Conroy’s version of “I’m not the one wearing hockey pads” was just laughable. The point of the voice is to intimidate and disguise. If Conroy would have used the same calm tone with the hockey pass line in the movie, I probably would have laughed or something. It would not have been intimidating even in the least bit. Bale’s Batman voice in Begins needed work, but in the following sequels he nailed it.

  16. Christian Bale rocks, and Nolan’s version of Batman rocks even MORE.

    For crying out loud, Batman’s entire lower face is uncovered, people. Not too hard for people that know Bruce Wayne to draw the connection. Really? Really!

    Unless you throw them off base with a voice modulation.

    Incredibly well done!

    Like the sound of Batman’s voice, no… not really. But UNDERSTAND the need to modulate his voice, so people don’t recognize Bruce Wayne?

    Bingo!

    • Generic chin is generic. It could be anyone, even though it’s uncovered. It’s not as easy to identify someone as you think, especially if Batman’s fighting someone who doesn’t follow up on rich billionaires (or just doesn’t care who he is).

    • So true, Jason. Christian Bale is so far the best Batman ever.

  17. i think bale did fine as batman,,,everyone has their own interpritation of a character…

  18. Conroy is my go-to guy for how Batman sounds when I read the comics, but when he said that line at the beginning of that video, he just said it in his normal voice (not to mention it was hard to hear due to the audience and the person recording being so far away from Kev) not his Batman voice so I don’t get why every applauded?

    Nevertheless, I think the ones making fun of Bale’s voice are the silly ones. Yet, at the same time, I don’t really think he need disguise it. All he would have to do is pull a Conroy and just go deeper rather than growl. I mean, people say that it’s because Batman can be identified by his voice but that’s not true. Bale has kind of a generic voice that can match anyone, not to mention, like I said that deepening it would work. And the cops aren’t actively trying to identify him, and the criminals don’t have the technology to do voice print analyses. Not to mention, this is NOLAN, so it’s a realistic universe where there’s no such thing as magic computer voice scanning equipment (in the real world computers suck at understanding humans, see Siri) so there just isn’t a need to disguise it.

    But don’t even get me started on the voice disguising machines in Smallville that don’t just mask it on the phone, BUT IN REAL LIFE WHEN THE PERSON IS STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. Now, THAT is crazy comic book technology.

  19. People p l e a s e! Christian Bale’s voice was awesome and has played the best batman ever!

  20. I think Bale did a fantastic job with being both Bruce and Batman. The new three films with Nolan have been the best Batman films I’ve ever seen.

  21. I personally think he and everyone who’s ever complained about Bale’s Batman voice that includes my loser of a cousin.

    • I personally think he and everyone who’s ever complained about Bale’s Batman voice can go f*** themselves that includes my loser of a cousin.

      • Same goes for people who don’t realize how great this trilogy of batman movies was.

  22. Bale sucks at life…

  23. Haha maybe bales suit was to tight on his neck that made him have a rough voice but batman with Kevin Conroy’s voice was the best I still remember when I was little I always used to watch them but now the present actor for batman is a disappointment

  24. Bale made batman his own and the voice comes with it, I don’t think it’s bad it suits the darker and gritty version of the batman trilogy because its so harsh. Just because Bales voice is different doesn’t mean it’s bad.

  25. Personally Bale is my favorite Batman ever :D and his dark voiceover is really fitting for the dark and deep tones of the newer Batman trilogy, not bad at all. AT LEAST IT’S BETTER THAN GEORGE CLOONEY!

  26. Christian Bale’s Batman always sound like he needs a Ricola. He sounds like a grizzly bear with a sore throat. I understand the whole “gravelly voice” thing as mentioned in a previous comment, but COME ON. Bale just takes it too far, it sounds cheesy and like he’s trying too hard. Personally, I can’t stand it.

  27. Christian Bale’s voice was awesome???????? Yeah like we all have to sit and listen to a grizzly bear singing for 2.5 hrs. What rubbish! Roll on the new Batman. Come back Conroy, all is forgiven. Bale — PLEASE, PLEASE rethink your cool hero guy image in time for the next film

  28. I agree with Kevin (the voice of Batman) Conroy. The director should have said stop. Very diplomatically put.

  29. Conroy is the BATMAN

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