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As almost every Batman fan, I like the Christopher Nolan's interpretation of Batman. But why does Christian Bale deform his voice when playing Batman?

Is it to scare off/intimidate people? Or to hide he's Bruce Wayne? Or ...

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For some reason, I am remembering this question asked previously. I can't find it, but can anyone else also look to see if it is a duplicate? –  Andrei Freeman May 30 '12 at 14:24
I seem to remember reading about this being a decision by someone at the studio. How true that is, though, I have no idea. –  Jamie Taylor Jun 11 '12 at 12:50
Jokes aside, this humorous video actually illustrates why he changes his voice. –  Jared Aug 13 '12 at 22:50

5 Answers 5

Well, most people often forget how easy it is to recognize somebody by voice and Bruce Wayne is kind of a celebrity. So changing his voice is a natural consequence of Nolan's making Batman more realistic. Of course Superman can't be Clark Kent, as he's obviously missing the characteristic glasses ;)

And well, it surely also contributes to his dramatic appearance, but this more as a second goal, I think.

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Correct. I'll have to look back at the movies and see, I'm thinking it could be something to do with the suit as well. Maybe not constriction on the throat but some kind of modification. It's a push into the sci-fi but it could be worth looking into if there was ever a scene where he had the mask off but body suit on and spoke like that. –  phwd May 30 '12 at 17:27
Just wanted to add that having Batman and Bruce Wayne voiced differently was not something Nolan introduced. IIRC, it was Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman in the 90s animated version) who first did this, and did it much better than Bale's I-could-really-use-a-Ricolla voice :) –  System Down May 30 '12 at 21:21
in the Dark Knight, when Joker crashed the night party and Bruce Wayne is trying to hide Harvey Dent because Joker is to get him, he gave an instruction and spoke to Rachel in Batman's voice even without the suit so I guess it is more of a psychological mode that Batman gets into - whenever the need arises or the distress he kind of puts on the Batman inside (mentally) first then the suit just comes after. :D –  user5183 Jun 19 '13 at 7:13
@phwd It's definitely not on the suit. I can tell you that because in TDK, when he smashes Harvey Dent from behind with Rachel nearby, he is not in his costume but he still uses his Bat voice. It makes sense because Harvey might remember the voice even if he is unconscious. He plays it safe by using the growl voice. –  SPRajagopal Jun 19 '13 at 11:02

Probably a bit of both. The main reason would be to disguise his voice so that people don't recognise him as Bruce Wayne. But in selecting the how to disguise his voice he wouldn't want it to sound intimidating. It would make for a very different movie if he sounded all cute and fluffy!

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I do agree that disguise is one reason. But this is Nolan, there's always more. In Batman Begins, Bruce tells Alfred:

Bruce Wayne: People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can't do that as Bruce Wayne, as a man I'm flesh and blood I can be ignored I can be destroyed but as a symbol, as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.

Alfred Pennyworth: What symbol?

Bruce Wayne: Something elemental, something terrifying.

Though, the consequent scenes do not talk much about the symbol part and everybody pretty much forgets Bruce's original idea of Batman. We start thinking of Batman as Bruce with a costume on and fighting the bad guys. Which is true but to Bruce it's something more, like he says to Alfred. It's a symbol to terrify people.

If you were a villain it wouldn't be easy for you to think that Batman is just a guy with a mask on. That makes it more terrifying. The idea of someone powerful than the ordinary human. And Bruce takes every possibility to make the idea a very real and unshakable threat to the bad guys.

The voice, the bat ears, the dramatic entrances and exits - all these are trivial to the plot. Either way it's not going to change the output of a scene if Batman enters sneakily with a very chilly line or just through the door. But Bruce takes the extra step to go through all the mumbo-jumbo just to keep the idea real. The idea of a legend. The idea of a permanent warrior who is going to fight the bad guys every turn and forever.

It all makes sense. Come to think of it. Joker says something similar to:

"You'll be outcast too. They'll see you as a freak when they are done."

Joker is a schizophrenic villain who wears face paint all day long and he empathizes with Bruce. He actually identifies himself with Batman. You can understand the similarities - Bruce goes to great extents to protect the man behind the mask. Same thing goes for Joker - he wears face paint 24x7. Without it, he wouldn't be as scary. And scary is important to him.

Summary: Bruce takes the idea of Batman more seriously than the audience are led to believe. The outcome of it is one thing - crimefighting. He does take that seriously. But he also takes the very idea of Batman personally and he is proud of it.

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Very well put, indeed. –  Napoleon Wilson Jun 19 '13 at 12:12

Well, firstly, it must be noted that this was actually not Christian Bale's overacting, but Nolan's directing. He even went as far as to push bale to growl more while filming and even more in post. There was a cut detail about the cowl housing some apparatus that disguises his voice to what it sounds like. Being that this is a Nolan move, I'm sure there is a symbolic purpose behind this voice. I would venture to say the batman voice is as different to Wayne's as the characters themselves. All Batman mythos harps on the duality of he character, or characters, rather.

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When Bruce Wayne goes into the Batman mode, he is also going into the League of Shadows mode that gives him other-worldly powers and changes his voice.

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other-worldly powers? Can you elaborate it. –  Ankit Sharma Jan 29 '14 at 8:07
Alas sarcasm doesnt work in text form ! –  howler Jan 29 '14 at 10:02

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