The Western Mail (March 16th, 2004)

BATMAN STAR DEDICATES ROLE TO FATHER

New Batman star Christian Bale is dedicating the movie role to his ex-RAF pilot father who died just months ago.

Christian, 30, who grew up in Haverfordwest, won the coveted role of the Caped Crusader after beating off competition from top Hollywood actors including Ben Affleck.

And, as filming began this week, Christian vowed to make it his best-ever performance – in memory of dad David.

Former RAF pilot David Bale died aged 62 from a brain tumour just before Christmas – just after Christian was told he’d landed the prized Batman role.

Christian was born in Wales while his dad was posted at RAF Brawdy in Pembrokeshire in the early Seventies.

But his death will give an extra meaning to Christian’s performance of superhero Batman – the masked avenger’s parents died tragically when they were brutally gunned down in front of him.

A friend of the Haverfordwest-born former child star said, “Christian was very close to his dad and wants to make him proud.”

David became a commercial pilot after leaving the RAF – and he was idolised by his son.

Divorced from Christian’s mum Jennifer, David became an environmentalist and animal rights activist in America.

He was “achingly proud” of Christian’s career and was told about the Batman role just before he died in December.

The fifth film, Batman Begins, started filming this week with Christian – star of American Psycho, Reign of Fire and Captain Correlli’s Mandolin – as the tragic hero.

Veteran Brit Michael Caine stars as the hero’s faithful butler Alfred and Gary Oldman plays good cop Lieutenant Jim Gordon.

Drug dealing baddie The Scarecrow and evil cult leader Ra’s Al-Ghul will be played by Cillian Murphy from 24 Days Later and Ken Watanabe who starred in The Last Samurai.

And Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman and Dawson Creek’s Katie Holmes also have roles in the big budget blockbuster due for release in summer 2005.

The story follows the transformation of Bruce Wayne into his alter ego Batman after his parents are brutally murdered in front of him.

Christian said, “I loved the kind of fantastical notion of the superhero but at the same time being able to bring a psychologically interesting element to that.”

By Duncan Higgitt.