Heath Ledger Told Christian Bale To Actually Punch Him In The Dark Knight


Although many superhero movies have graced the silver screen since The Dark Knight had its run back in 2008, it could be argued that very few to follow have laid claim to having the same cultural impact or have garnered as much praise. Really, that summer was a turning point for the genre as both Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece and Jon Favreau’s Iron Man proved that these types of films were to be taken seriously and weren’t going away.

Without a doubt, one of the most memorable elements in the hit sequel to Batman Begins was that of Heath Ledger’s Joker. After all, if anything is going to make for one of the most definitive movies to feature the Caped Crusader, it’s got to be the inclusion of his greatest nemesis, right? Not only that, but Ledger turned in a performance for the ages, earning a posthumous Oscar and remaining the favorite live action Clown Prince of Crime for many, this writer included.

As you’re no doubt well aware of, the actor took the role quite seriously and put in some major research. Funnily enough, we’re still learning how dedicated he was even to this day. In fact, the recently published book 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by author Joseph McCabe includes interviews with Nolan and Bale from around the time of the flick’s release – and even a few with Ledger before his unfortunate passing.

Once excerpt in particular that’ll have people talking is the one where Bale speaks of the legendary interrogation room scene that marked the moment when Batman and Joker truly saw who the other person was, as well as letting the hero and viewer in on the fact that the Ace of Knaves wasn’t your average crook.

“As you see in the movie, Batman starts beating the Joker and realizes that this is not your ordinary foe. Because the more I beat him the more he enjoys it. The more I’m giving him satisfaction. Heath was behaving in a very similar fashion. He was kinda egging me on. I was saying, ‘You know what, I really don’t need to actually hit you. It’s going to look just as good if I don’t.’ And he’s going, ‘Go on. Go on. Go on….’ He was slamming himself around, and there were tiled walls inside of that set which were cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them. His commitment was total.”

Yes, those thunderous blows were all real. So, when you sit down to watch The Dark Knight yet again, just keep that in mind. Admirably enough, Bale was “not at all” worried about being upstaged because he believed Nolan’s take on Batman to be every bit as “fascinating” as one found in a comic book written by Frank Miller, and if other characters were at that level, it would “only make for a better movie.”