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Christian Bale on why he doesn’t rate his Batman performance in the Dark Knight trilogy

Christian Bale on why he doesn’t rate his Batman performance in the Dark Knight trilogy

It takes a brave actor to openly criticise their own performance years later – especially with no reason to do so – but that's exactly something Christian Bale has done.

The Hollywood star, who is celebrating his 50th birthday today (30 January), has reflected on his time playing Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy many times over the past decade, but not always positively.

Bale led the films, starting with Batman Begins in 2005. The Dark Knight, memorably starring Heath Ledger as the Joker, followed in 2008, with trilogy closer The Dark Knight Rises arriving in 2012.

While Bale is complimentary of the films themselves, it’s his portrayal of DC superhero Batman that he once admitted to not being the biggest fan of.

Speaking to Yahoo! Movies in 2016, Bale said: “I didn’t quite manage what I hoped I would throughout the trilogy. Chris [Nolan] did, but my own sense of self is like, ‘I didn’t quite nail it,’” he said.

Specifically referring to 2008's sequel The Dark Knight, Bale said: “Heath turned up, and just kind of completely ruined all my plans. Because I went, 'He’s so much more interesting than me and what I’m doing.’"

Still, at least Bale can rest easy knowing he did a better job than George Clooney. Just last year, the actor, who played Batman in Joel Schumacher’s infamous Batman & Robin (1997), said there are not “enough drugs in the world” for him to tackle the role again.

The actor-director made the comment despite briefly reprising the role for a cameo in DC flop The Flash.

In 2020, Clooney admitted that his disastrous experience with Batman & Robin had taught him to “pick better films”.

Speaking to The Guardian, Clooney was asked what he would do differently if he could live his life again.

Christian Bale doesn’t love his performance in the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy (Warner Bros Pictures)
Christian Bale doesn’t love his performance in the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy (Warner Bros Pictures)

“Now, the obvious answer to your question would be to joke, Batman & Robin,” he said. “And I wouldn’t do it at all.” Adding that the movie was an important lesson, he said: “I learned that if you’re gonna be held responsible for a film, instead of just being an actor in that film, you’d better pick better films.”