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Watch: Christian Bale Wears Val Kilmer Batsuit For Batman Begins Screen Test

Screen tests for Batman Begins show Christian Bale, among other auditioning actors, suiting up in Val Kilmer's Batman Forever Batsuit.

Batman Begins

So, this isn’t 100% new (or even 50% new), but I’m happy to talk about it because I’ve got things to say. Makes a change, doesn’t it?

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The not 100% new video to share today is a Batman Begins screen test you may or may not have seen (fingers crossed it’s may not). The clip shows its eventual leading actor Christian Bale, among other suitors for the lead role (suitors that included Cillian Murphy, latterly cast as Scarecrow), suit up in Val Kilmer’s Batman Forever Batsuit.

Obviously, at this early stage in the production cycle, no Batsuit for Christopher Nolan’s movie existed, but the director still needed to see how potential choices for his Batman fared in costume. Thus, someone went back in time and grabbed Kilmer’s still intact garb. How these screen tests ended up on YouTube I’m not sure, but these former obscurities are now available for public consumption.

Right, so I knew immediately this wasn’t brand new information (I saw these screen tests more than a few months ago). But new or not, they are fascinating, particularly with regard to a favourite nerd-theory – now reduced to nerd-myth. The theory goes that Cillian Murphy would’ve been a far better Batman than Christian Bale, who has a reputation for being a weak link in an otherwise superb film trilogy.

Now, before seeing this footage, I was as game for this as anyone. Bale’s performance in Batman Begins was creditable, but in The Dark Knight, the trilogy’s crown jewel, he doesn’t quite hit the mark. Murphy, on the other hand, really hit the mark as Scarecrow in Begins. But watch how poorly he fares as Bruce Wayne in the screen test – his sickly, nervous demeanour is light years from the debonair playboy that Bale takes to with such ease. Nolan’s casting decision was, then, entirely justified, while also finding Murphy a role more befitting of his qualities.

That’s one fan doctrine busted. Only 48,999,999 to go.