English born actor Christian Bale (Empire Of The Sun, American Psycho) will portray Batman in the next Batman film, which is slated to start shooting in early 2004. Director Christopher Nolan (Memento), who has auditioned a number of young actors for the role of Bruce Wayne, praised Bale as 'the ultimate embodiment of Bruce Wayne. He has exactly the balance of darkness and light we were looking for.' The choice of the youthful-looking Bale confirms that the next Batman film will concentrate on events early in the Dark Knight's career as Gotham City's caped crusader. With the casting of Bale and a script by David Goyer and Nolan that the studio can live with, it appears that Batman, who has missed out on the success of the recent wave of twenty-first century comic book-based films, will finally get to return to the silver screen.
Bale will take on the role of the Dark Knight previously played in the modern era by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney. While Tim Burton's 1989 Batman starring Michael Keaton ushered in the era of big budget superhero films, the quality and financial success of each subsequent Batman film declined. Warner Brothers is hoping that with Nolan, Goyer, and Bale, the studio has found the right team to revitalize this key cinema franchise.