Zap2it.com (October 8th, 2004)

‘BATMAN’ BALE BREAKS THE ICE

Fresh from shooting “The Machinist” in tourist-friendly Barcelona, it was a shock for Christian Bale to begin filming “Batman Begins” in bleak and chilly Iceland.

“It’s f**king cold in Iceland. And they eat whales – they eat anything – puffins,” jokes Bale, who doesn’t consume red meat.

Actually, the actor’s true challenge came from the region’s geography. Bale recalls one of his first scenes shot on one of the country’s many glaciers.

“We were out there and it was splitting – there were big cracks appearing down it – and we all had to stand still and not break it,” he tells Zap2it.com. “By the next day there was all this water again.”

For Bale – whose career oscillates between mainstream films like “Shaft” and those with cult followings like “Velvet Goldmine” – “Batman Begins” is his most high-profile and expensive project to date with an estimated $135 million budget. The film stars Bale as the brooding Bruce Wayne whose dark past leads him to go vigilante on Gotham’s criminal element.

Although the role of the Dark Knight has been played several times before, most recently by George Clooney in 1997’s “Batman & Robin,” Bale never grasped the psychology of the popular DC Comics character.

“I always found it kind of laughable,” he admits. “The guy thinks he’s going to be scary by walking around dressed as a bat? I’d laugh at him. I’d look at him and go, ‘What kind of nutcase are you? Get out of my face.'”

Donning the hero’s signature cape and cowl finally helped the actor get into the character’s head.

“Adopting this different persona helps him to maintain that kind of intensity [to fight crime],” explains Bale. “I also felt that he couldn’t be anything else but a creature: partly out of necessity of disguise, but also out of his own necessity of an attempt to keep himself sane in his own life.”

This attitude also helped Bale with his own state of mind.

“I just felt that once I put that on, it’s like if I don’t play it this one certain way, then I’m just going to feel like an idiot standing in a bat suit the whole time,” he says.