Christian Bale Nearly Lost His $35 Million Salary From The Dark Knight Trilogy as He Was Not Christopher Nolan’s First Choice

Christian Bale Nearly Lost His $35 Million Salary From The Dark Knight Trilogy as He Was Not Christopher Nolan’s First Choice
Featured Video

It’s hard to imagine a world where Christian Bale did not play the role of the caped crusader in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. Well, that was almost the world that we would have lived in if things hadn’t gone the actor’s way.


Josh Hartnett, the actor known for movies like Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down had originally rejected the role of Batman following which, it was passed on to Christian Bale. According to reports, Bale would have lost a whopping $35 million if the role had not gone to him!

Christian Bale as Batman in Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy.
Christian Bale as Batman in Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.

If Christian Bale Wouldn’t Have Been Batman

Although Christopher Nolan is an acclaimed visionary director, his first choice for the role of Batman does seem strange now that people are habituated to Christian Bale. According to reports, the role had originally gone to Josh Hartnett which the actor rejected because he was tired.

Christian Bale and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

Also read: “He needed to put on a voice”: Christian Bale’s Batman Voice Gets Blasted as ‘Over the Top’ After Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson’s Nuance Delivery

In reports that detailed Bale’s net worth and the money that he made by playing Bruce Wayne in the Dark Knight trilogy, it seems that the actor would have lost quite a lot of money if he hadn’t been picked. According to reports, Christian Bale earned $9 million when he originally portrayed the character of Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins in 2005.

Following the success, Bale amassed another $10 million when he reprised the role of Batman in The Dark Knight (even got a $20 million bonus for the sequel) and finally, for the third part of the franchise, The Prestige actor earned himself another $15 million in The Dark Knight Rises.


To sum up the calculations, Christian Bale would have lost a whopping $34 million and the bonus if he wasn’t picked up by Christopher Nolan to portray the character of Bruce Wayne. Although it’s hard to imagine any other actor playing the character (except Ben Affleck), the role wasn’t supposed to be Bale’s in the beginning.

Suggested: “I did a Christian Bale”: $150M Rich Hugh Grant Disses the Dark Knight Star After His Tantrum on ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Set That Left Innocent Woman Traumatized

Josh Hartnett Regrets Passing The Role of Batman To Christian Bale

Josh Hartnett passed on the role of the caped crusader.
Josh Hartnett passed on the role of the caped crusader.

Related: Christian Bale Was Against Christopher Nolan’s Batman Having a British Accent: “Batman is such an American character”


While playing the role of Michael Fitzgerald in the 1997 TV series Cracker, Josh Hartnett found fame and attention for his acting skills. In an interview many years later, Hartnett regretted passing up on the role of Batman when he was originally given a chance.

“I’ve definitely said no to some of the wrong people. I said no because I was tired and wanted to spend more time with my friends and family. That’s frowned upon in this industry. People don’t like being told no. I don’t like it. I learned my lesson when Christopher Nolan and I talked about Batman. I decided it wasn’t for me.”

The actor further continued that watching Christian Bale work on so many projects was awesome and inspiring for him to witness.

“I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being considered only one thing as an actor. I should have thought, ‘Well, then, work harder, man.’ Watching Christian Bale go on to do so many other things has been just awesome. I mean, he’s been able to overcome that. Why couldn’t I see that at the time?”

In the end, the world came to love Christian Bale as the face of Batman during the run of The Dark Knight trilogy. The movies are considered to be some of the best movies ever made and Bale is being hailed as one of the best portrayals of Bruce Wayne to ever exist.


The Dark Knight Trilogy which included Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and, The Dark Knight Rises is available to stream on HBO Max.

Source: The Things


Written by Visarg Acharya

Articles Published: 2194

Visarg Acharya, Associate Content Writer, has been heavily involved in movies, series, and history. Having an experience of 2 years in the field of content writing, Visarg is a seasoned writer. Having a degree in Physics, Visarg Acharya has published a dissertation alongside a plethora of poems and short stories along the way.