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Watch Christian Bale audition for 'Batman Begins' in Val Kilmer's Batsuit

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For all the outcry over Ben Affleck's casting as Batman, it's valuable to remember the series' weird transition from the campy Schumacher era into the Christopher Nolan trilogy. In a screen test recently released on YouTube, Chistian Bale — who would ultimately star in the new films — wasn't just trying to redefine the character, he was doing so wearing one of previous Batman Val Kilmer's suits. The clip below, first posted by Batman News from an upcoming Dark Knight Trilogy collector's edition Blu-ray set, shows Bale's screen test, along with commentary from Nolan. "It's not about acting ability or chemistry or any of those things," says Nolan. "It's about being able to project this extraordinary iconography ... You had to project massive energy through this costume in order to not question the costume."

Bale projected that iconography from within Kilmer's Sonar Batsuit, not the controversially nipple-bedecked Panther Batsuit also seen in the film. While this was unquestionably a sound choice, Nolan also defends one of the more frequently derided elements of his films: the comically gravelly voice used by Bale's Batman persona. "I think Christian's voice was a big part of the impression he made in the test. He had decided that Batman needed to have a different voice to Bruce Wayne, that he needed to put on a voice that supported the visual appearance of the character and explained why people don't recognize him from his voice," Nolan says. "It was pretty logically thought out."

Update: The clip's source is Batman News, not MovieWeb as previously listed. It's accompanied by a full review of the Blu-ray collection.