The 9 actors who’ve played Batman

Lewis G Wilson

 Wilson was the first and youngest actor ever to play the adult Batman, and also the least successful. At 23, the unknown thespian donned the cape and the cowl in the 15-part 1943 Columbia serial Batman.

Robert Lowrey

Lowery, 36 at the time, was a veteran actor, having already appeared in The Mark Of Zorro (1940), The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) and Dangerous Passage (1944). He also filled out the Batsuit better than Lewis, with his utility belt hanging where you would expect it on a non-octogenarian.

Adam West

Tim Burton (who, like Dozier, was not a fan of comic books) and Michael Keaton were announced for 1989’s Batman, fans went bat-shit crazy, thinking their beloved superhero was going to get the Adam West treatment again. Keaton’s casting caused such controversy that 50,000 protest letters were sent to Warner Bros’ offices. In an effort to appease the naysayers, Batman co-creator Bob Kane was hired as the film’s creative consultant.

RThe man logging the most hours in the Batcave, of course, was William West Anderson, whom you probably know better as Adam West. Either you love him for his goofy charm or hate him for blemishing the Bat’s image for several decades. His campy, over-the-top portrayal of Gotham’s Guardian infiltrated nearly every medium, including a 1966 movie and several animated series.

Michael Keaton

When director Tim Burton  and Michael Keaton were announced for 1989’s Batman, fans went bat-shit crazy, thinking their beloved superhero

Val Kilmer

But the job was won by Val Kilmer – probably the most forgettable of the modern Batmen.

Kilmer’s performance got mixed reviews. As The New York Times put it, “The prime costume is now worn by Val Kilmer, who makes a good Batman but not a better one than Michael Keaton.” Bob Kane felt otherwise, saying he thought Kilmer did the best job of all the actors to have played Batman up to that point.

George Clooney

Batman & Robin was a disaster, rife with homoeroticism, camp and those infamous Bat-nipples. Clooney once joked that he helped to kill the franchise. “Joel Schumacher told me I never made another Batman film because Batman was gay.

Will Arnett

Arnett’s Batman was a gag machine who The LEGO Movie’s primary younger audience really embraced.Arnett’s delivery, combined with Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s zingers, made this portrayal a quick favourite for many, and it’s telling that no-one is complaining about Arnett’s reprisal in an upcoming 2017 standalone story

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck donned the cinematic cape and cowl for the first time in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. After initial scepticism, vast sections of the internet seemed to warm to the idea during the film’s promotional periodAs Affleck’s first Bat-movie sees him fight Supes (at least to start with), his take on Bruce Wayne had to work hard on his tech-building capabilities as well his gym regimen. The fight that eventually broke out between the two heroes was a brutal affair, recalling the iconic Frank Miller comic The Dark Knight Returns.

The voices of Batman

Kevin Conroy could probably pull off Batman in real life, but so far he’s been relegated to voice work – and quite a lot of it. Conroy began voicing the superhero in Batman: The Animated Series, which made its debut in 1992. Since then, he’s done three other Batman series, a bunch of animated movies and videogames.

Others to voice Batman are Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)

Rino Romano (The Batman), Diedrich Bader
(Batman: The Brave And The Bold), Jeremy Sisto (Justice League: The New Frontier),
Bruce Thomas (who voiced Batman in commercials for GM’s OnStar service and portrayed the character briefly in the live-action TV series Birds Of Prey)

Christian Bale

Even Kevin Conroy, the man behind probably the most recognisable Batman voice, chimed in, saying at a C2E2 panel in 2010 that Bale’s voice was “ridiculous” and implored the actor to stop doing it.
Regardless, Bale’s Batman is fondly remembered, and always pops up during discussions of ‘who’s the best?’, not least because of the stellar scripts, direction and cinematography which generally surrounded him. Rumours after The Dark Knight Rises insisted that Mr Bale turned down a huge pay cheque to avoid reprising the role once more, a decision that remains a particularly tantalising ‘what if?’ moment in Batman’s cinematic history.

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