In an interview with Access Hollywood, Robert Pattinson talked about one of the most important aspects of playing Batman: the voice. Michael Keaton based his Batman voice on Clint Eastwood and a grizzly bear. Bale based his on, what I’m guessing, Clint Eastwood, a grizzly bear, and a garbage disposal. George Clooney didn’t even try a different voice. And Ben Affleck was like smooth whiskey powered down a rusty pipe. So, how will Robert Pattinson make his Batman voice unique? By talking like a pirate of yore! Argh, matey! Or something like that.
Willem Dafoe inspired Robert Pattinson’s Batman Voice
Willem Dafoe was almost the Joker in Tim Burton’s 1989 classic. (Image via: cinemapop.com
Obviously, Pattinson Batman isn’t going to sound like a pirate. But while working with Willem Dafoe on the upcoming film The Lighthouse, he loved what Dafoe did with his accent, telling Access Hollywood, “Willem’s voice in this is quite inspiring for it to be honest. It is pretty similar to the voice I’m gonna do… I think Batman has a sort of pirate-y kind of voice, I think that would really suit him.” Dafoe doesn’t sound like a cartoon pirate in The Lighthouse, but he does have a little of that maritime criminal sound. It’s not a bad base for how Batman should sound.
The Batman Voice Is Easily Mocked, but Loved by All
Michael Keaton certainly started the gravely-voice Batman trend, which most other Batmen since have put their own spin on, and Pattinson is just the next in line to do so. In fact, it’s better that he try and not quite succeed—like Bale—than not try at all—like Clooney. The most important part of the growl is that it’s a growl. It needs to be a bit animalistic, a bit non-human. Bale took that to an extreme, Affleck smoothed it out a little. Keaton invented it. As long as Pattinson gets that quality in his voice, his Batman will be fine. At least on that front. It’s doubtful that it will end in another few hundred spoof videos.
Which live-action Batman do you think had the best voice?
And check out more of the interview with Access Hollywood.
(Featured Image: Detective Comics Annual #7, DC Comics, 1994)
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.