Similar to winning the Heisman Trophy or become the President of the United States, when you’re an actor and you get cast as Batman, you enter a very exclusive fraternity.
To date, there have only been eight men who have portrayed Gotham billionaire Bruce Wayne in live-action: Lewis G. Wilson and Robert Lowery in the 40s, Adam West in the 60s, and then Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck since the Dark Knight made the jump to the big screen.
And now, with Robert Pattinson’s casting as the Caped Crusader, that Batman fraternity is set to induct its ninth member when The Batman hits theaters on June 25, 2021.
Given that Batman is one of the biggest roles that an actor can have, the guys who have played Bruce Wayne tend to stick together, as exampled by Christian Bale sharing one key piece of advice with Pattinson.
Speaking to Variety at the Toronto International Film Festival — where he was promoting his newest film, Ford v Ferrari — Bale was asked what he thought about his fellow Englishman’s casting as the Dark Knight and if he had any advice for him.
“Same for Ben [Affleck]. Just be able to pee by yourself,” Bale said when asked by Variety if he had any advice for the newest Batman actor. “You don’t feel like a superhero when you aren’t able to piss by yourself.”
While it may not seem like a very serious piece of advice on the surface, it does reveal the psychological hoops that Bale had to jump through in order to convince himself that he was playing a superhero.
In order for superhero movies not to devolve into complete farcical comedy — something we’ve seen many times before, with Batman in particular — the actors portraying these characters need to be convincing to, therefore, be believable in the role.
And if they can’t even take a piss without having someone else shake it for them, then how are we supposed to believe they spend their nights beating criminals to a pulp with their bare hands? It may come off as a bit tongue-in-cheek from Bale, but it’s actually a sound piece of psychoanalysis.
The Batman will hit theaters in the United States on Friday, June 25, 2021.
Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him: email@example.com.