Spider-Man Star Was Christopher Nolan’s First Choice for Batman, Not Christian Bale

Christian Bale’s Batman has redefined the DC character but he almost didn't get the role.

Spider-Man Star Was Christopher Nolan’s First Choice for Batman, Not Christian Bale


  • Spider-Man: Far From Home star, Jake Gyllenhaal almost played Batman in Christopher Nolan's DC trilogy.
  • Christian Bale came way later as the makers wanted to cast Gyllenhaal for the role but that never happened.
  • Nolan cast Liam Neeson for Ra's al Ghul after the trilogy's writer David S. Goyer's suggestion.
Show More
Featured Video

Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s combo elevated the superhero franchise The Dark Knight to an epic cinematic experience. The trilogy has been widely celebrated and regarded as one of the best superhero franchises ever produced.

Christopher Nolan on the set of “The Dark Knight Rises” | Photo: charlieanders2/Flickr
Christopher Nolan on the set of “The Dark Knight Rises” | Photo: charlieanders2/Flickr

However, Bale was not the first choice for the role. Certainly, several actors wanted to work with Nolan as he was rising to prominence following the popularity of his earlier movies. Spider-Man star Jake Gyllenhaal was reportedly the primary choice for Nolan’s Batman.

Also read: 1 Apple Product Helped Christopher Nolan Come Up With Brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio Film Idea


Jake Gyllenhaal Was Primary Choice For Batman

Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-Man: Far From Home
Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-Man: Far From Home

Christian Bale’s portrayal of DC’s Batman has received accolades from fans and critics alike. However, the race for the role was not easy, several actors were in the mix for the role of DC’s titular hero which included Spider-Man: Far From Home star, Jake Gyllenhaal. Speaking with Josh Horowitz on his Happy, Sad, Confused podcast, the screenwriter of The Dark Knight Trilogy, David S. Goyer, revealed casting details for Batman.

“We would chat about all sorts of things. There were a number of people who had screen-tested, and I had advocated for Gyllenhaal.  mean, Gyllenhaal is amazing, Christian Bale is amazing, so who knows what.”

Goyer further revealed having Gyllenhaal’s screentest for the role. “I believe there is, yes,” he said. He would have also been a solid Batman but very different from Bale, and “it’s hard to know” as Bale’s image as Batman in the trilogy has been embedded in the perception of fans.

Also read: Christopher Nolan’s Billion-Dollar Oppenheimer Success Baffles Director 40 Years After 1 Classic Space Epic


Christopher Nolan Took Advice From David S. Goyer While Casting Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson as Ra's al Ghul
Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins

Liam Neeson played Henri Ducard a.k.a. Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins. But there was also a line of actors for the role. Finally, there were two contenders including Neeson. “I remember having this conversation with Chris between some, these two of these candidates for Ra’s al Ghul,” Goyer told Josh Horowitz.

“He said, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘I vote for Liam Neeson.’ He said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘Because uh the other candidate wasn’t, um as old uh was a  contemporary of Christian Bale’s in terms of age and Liam was a little older and I said the whole story that we’re telling is this paternal story you know uh about the shadow of his father and Ra’s al Ghul with all the Batman robes Gallery uh in the Dennis O’Neil stories had this sort of paternal function he was this shadow father and I just said for that reason I think we gained in that direction’”

However, Goyer said that it is unclear if Nolan actually considered his suggestion while casting Neeson for the role. “I have no idea if that I convinced Chris or not other people could have said the same thing but yeah we talked a lot about all of these various elements,” he added. Regardless, The movie or the entire trilogy came out as a cinematic marvel at the hands of Nolan with perfect casting choices.

Also read: Christopher Nolan Promises Next Film Will Be Just as Engaging as Latest Oscar-Contender Oppenheimer


Written by Lachit Roy

Articles Published: 992

Lachit Roy is a seasoned writer specializing in science and entertainment news. Armed with a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Tezpur University, he brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to his craft.

Lachit is particularly passionate about crafting engaging content on entertainment news and trends. A dedicated movie enthusiast, he possesses an in-depth understanding of the cinematic world and takes joy in disseminating the latest updates to the global fandom. When not immersed in writing, Lachit can be found indulging in his love for movies and series, occasionally tending to his garden, but predominantly expanding his expertise in the realms of his interests.