Exclusive! Christian Bale: The Soft Man Behind A Tough Batman

Christian Bale YourTango exclusive

'The Dark Knight Rises' star on intense fight scenes & stepping into his Batsuit for the last time.

Even a superhero like Batman needs a moment.

That was the case for actor Christian Bale during his last moments as the Caped Crusader.

"I needed a few minutes alone before I started playing Batman many years ago and I ended it the same way," says the handsome, 38-year-old actor who arrives in his suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills in a dark suit that makes it look like he just stepped out of a fashion magazine ad.

In person, Bale is a serious guy with a dash of dark hair and a smile that's slow in arriving – he's just that serious about his craft.

Tomorrow, he will end his reign as the guy in tights and a cape as The Dark Knight Rises comes to theaters. We chatted with him to get his take on the emotional journey:

Do you remember the first time you ever put on the Batsuit?
The first time I put on the Batman suit, I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. I was about to have a nervous breakdown and a panic attack. I told (director) Christopher Nolan, "I love the role, but you're going to have to re-cast it." 5 Reasons We Love Christian Bale As Batman

Then you asked to be alone?
Yes, I stood there for 20 minutes all by myself thinking, "OK, I'd really like to make this movie. I'd like to be able to get through this moment here, too."  I stood there thinking, "Be very calm. Maybe you can get through this." That's how claustrophobic I felt.

Now, how did you feel the last time you put it on for The Dark Knight Rises?
It was a very similar feeling, although the suit has been improved and it's far more comfortable now. I've lost the panic attack feeling, because in the last suit I could rip it off myself if I started to see stars.

Tell us about your last scene as Batman.
My last scene was with Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. We were on a roof in New York City. I wrapped and went back to base camp. I just sat in a room and said, "Can you leave me alone for 20 minutes." I sat there again thinking, "OK, this is it." But this time I added, "I will never take that cowl off again." It was a real moment of pride too because of what we had achieved. We did what we set out to do. It was a very important character to the fans, and me, which makes me very proud. The movies not only changed my life, but my career and I appreciate that very much.

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