Cillian Murphy had an 'awkward' Batman audition, but here are the best screen Batmans


Cillian Murphy has opened up about his "awkward" audition for director Christopher Nolan in which he tried out for the role of Batman in Batman Begins.

The 40-year-old first won acclaim for his role in cult 2002 British film 28 Days Later.

"Chris had seen 28 Days Later," he told US publication AV Club. "And that's how I got the meeting with him."

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders (Robert Viglasky/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd/Tiger Aspect/BBC)

Cillian added: "In fact, I did an awkward audition in the Batsuit. I think he saw something interesting in that screen test somehow, though, because he said: 'Hey, would you be interested in playing this other part?'"

Christian Bale went on to win the role of the Dark Knight, but Cillian joined him in Batman Begins as Dr Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow.

Cillian Murphy  (Robert Viglasky/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd/Tiger Aspect/BBC)

Currently starring in BBC Two drama Peaky Binders, Cillian has been lauded for his portrayal of gangster Tommy Shelby. The Irishman didn't play Batman, but here are four of the best screen portrayals of the Dark Knight.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck as Batman in Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice (Warner Bros)

Batman vs Superman was not well received by critics, but everyone agreed on one thing: Ben Affleck was a very good Batman. US film-maker Kevin Smith, a long-time fan of DC Comics' Batman (his daughter is named after villain Harley Quinn), hailed Affleck as the "best Batman we've ever seen."

Ben looked the part as the Dark Knight, but he was also convincing as Batman's alter ego Bruce Wayne. The internet exploded with incredulity when the 43-year-old was first cast, but he silenced his critics in the best way.

Christian Bale

Christian Bale

After George Clooney, by his own admission, nearly killed the Batman franchise with his lamentable Batman & Robin movie, it fell to the British actor to revive the fortunes of the DC hero on film.

It is a huge testament to Christian's acting skills that he convincingly pulled off the ruthless Dark Knight, as envisioned by film-maker Christopher Nolan, in an impressive trilogy beginning with Batman Begins in 2005.

The Dark Knight followed in 2008, with The Dark Knight Rises arriving four years later.

In the 42-year-old's hands, the flip side of handsome millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne is a vengeful vigilante of flesh and blood and raspy voice. He's a bona fide American psycho - and fans of Christian's 2000 movie will appreciate that play on words.

Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton

If you were around at the time, you'll recall exactly how surprised everyone was when Beetlejuice actor Michael was announced as the Caped Crusader in Tim Burton's Batman.

Adam West and Burt Ward in Batman

However, the producers got it right because the 1989 movie, and its 1992 sequel Batman Returns, did a great deal to banish memories of the campy, Bat-dancing Batman immortalised by Adam West in the 1960s television series. Holy dark and twisted Batman, Tim!

This Batman marked the first time many fans had ever seen the DC hero played on film as a tortured law enforcer who was haunted by what had happened to his parents.

Yes, he wants to help the people of Gotham City, but he also wants to kick butt. And Michael can take a large dollop of the credit for his searing performance which put Batman on the road to where he is today in Batman v Superman.

Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy

Who? Only the actor who lent his voice to one of the best portrayals of Batman you are ever likely to see on the screen. Best known for the 1990s television show Batman: The Animated Series, Kevin has also voiced the video games.

His dark and brooding Batman was often pitted against The Joker, who was so memorably voiced by Star Wars' Mark Hamill.

If you missed out the first time around, try and watch Batman: The Animated Series. There is a reason this highly stylised and intelligently scripted show has consistently been voted one of the greatest animated television series ever, often finishing second to The Simpsons.