Batman, possibly the greatest superhero of all time, has had eight films made on him, apart from TV series and other forms of media. The eight films are Batman (`66), Batman (`89), Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. These had five actors, with the sixth one, Ben Affleck, starring in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which will release on March 25th this year. But first, let’s have a look at the stars who have been carrying the torch all these decades:
Adam West (Batman – 1966)
He played Batman in the 60s TV show and went on to star in the first Batman movie which hit cinemas in 1966. The film was based on the TV series and was released by 20th Century Fox. He was cast in the show after a producer saw him play a James Bond-like spy in a Nestle TV ad.
Michael Keaton (Batman – 1989 ; Batman Returns – 1992)
With West wearing the cape for around two decades, it was time for him to hang the same, when Warner Bros decided to launch a series. The first of the series, titled Batman, starred Michael Keaton as the superhero. The studio received thousands of letters against Keaton, when he was cast to reprise his role for the sequel – Batman Returns. He went on to star in the sequel anyway and was ultimately remembered for generations.
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever – 1995)
Kilmer came on to replace Michael Keaton in the third installment – Batman Forever. Keaton chose not to reprise the role this time since Burton stepped down as director. William Baldwin and Ethan Hawke were initially considered for Keaton’s replacement, before Kilmer was brought on board.
George Clooney (Batman & Robin – 1997)
Due to Kilmer’s scheduling conflicts with The Saint, William Baldwin was again considered for the role of Batman & Robin (1997), before George Clooney ultimately bagged it. The film’s cast could be called an ensemble one – with Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman and Alicia Silverstone. He was cast since the studio thought he embodied Bruce Wayne’s charm and good looks.
Christian Bale (Batman Begins – 2005 ; The Dark Knight – 2008 ; The Dark Knight Rises – 2012)
The Dark Knight Trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan, is easily the most realistic depiction of Batman. With Billy Crudup, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joshua Jackson and Cillian Murph all candidates for the caped crusader’s role, Nolan chose Christian Bale. Bale received training in martial arts and got lean for the role. He went from weighing at 130 lbs to 230 lbs in just six months. Said to be everyone’s favourite actor to play Batman, rumours suggest Bale turned down a huge pay cheque to avoid reprising the role after the finale of the trilogy. He thought that this is where it must end and that “it’s a torch that should be handed from one actor to another.”
Filling in Batman’s shoes, rather suit, was never easy, regardless of who played the role in the past. Who do you think was the perfect portrayal of Gotham’s guardian? Do you think Ben Affleck will be the hero we deserve?