It’s close to two decades since Batman Begins was released in theaters, and while it’s rarely considered the best instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, it still served as a strong opening chapter.
Taking a deep dive into Bruce Wayne’s origin story, the movie saw the Caped Crusader battle Ra’s al Ghul and Scarecrow. Liam Neeson played the latter, while Cillian Murphy gave his all as the demented Dr. Jonathan Crane (he’d later reprise the role in both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises).
Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr., who has become a frontrunner for “Best Supporting Actor” at the Oscars thanks to his Oppenheimer performance, revealed at an American Cinematheque panel that he too was considered for Scarecrow.
Confirming he met with Nolan in the early 2000s, Downey explained that while Nolan “was polite,” it didn’t “seem like he’s leaning in on this interview.” The part obviously went to Murphy and, a few years later, Iron Man and The Dark Knight went head-to-head in theaters during the summer of 2008.
Before Murphy was cast as Scarecrow, he actually donned Batman’s cape and cowl for an audition which saw him compete with Christian Bale for the role of Bruce Wayne.
“I don’t believe I was close to landing that role,” he admitted in a 2021 interview. “The only actor who was right for that part at that time, in my estimation, was Christian Bale, and he absolutely smashed it.”
“So, for me, it was just an experience, and then it turned into something else. It turned into that character, Scarecrow, and it turned into a working relationship with Chris,” Murphy added. “So, I think back very, very fondly on that time, but I never, ever, ever considered myself Bruce Wayne material.”
Check out Downey’s comments in full in the X post below.
— Griffin Schiller (@griffschiller) February 4, 2024
A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he’s trained in the martial arts by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), a member of the mysterious League of Shadows. When Ducard reveals the League’s true purpose — the complete destruction of Gotham City — Wayne returns to Gotham intent on cleaning up the city without resorting to murder. With the help of Alfred (Michael Caine), his loyal butler, and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), a tech expert at Wayne Enterprises, Batman is born.