Check out Christian Bale’s Screen Test for Batman Begins (in Val Kilmer’s Suit)!

Christian Bale

Christopher Nolan is known for being extremely secretive of his films, both during and after their release. That’s why you don’t get many behind-the-scenes features in the Blu-Ray releases of his films. But now, just before the release of The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition, a new clip has surfaced on the internet, that gives us a look at the never-before-seen footage of Christian Bale’s Batman screen test. Bonus: He’s performing with Val Kilmer’s suit, and Amy Adams is playing Rachel!

Yes, that’s Amy Adams in the video speaking Katie Holmes’ line. It’s confusing seeing Bale in Kilmer’s costume, but it’s interesting to note that he had thought of his infamous voice so early in the process. Christopher Nolan, who appears in the video as a talking head, says:

Well the testing process on this kind of performance, it’s not about acting ability or chemistry or any of those things, it’s about being able to project this extraordinary iconography from the inside, the visual iconography. Christian somehow figured this out before the screen test, that you could not give a normal performance, you could not give an ordinary performance, you had to project this massive energy through the costume in order to not question the costume.

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 recognized him from his voice.

Another interesting thing to note is that Adams mentions someone named Cobb. What the real screenplay contained was Crane, but Nolan, owing to his propensity of holding his cards close to his chest, didn’t want to risk the identity of a major villain getting leaked out.

Here are the things that you’ll get in the Ultimate Collector’s Edition, which is available on September 24: