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Although Cillian Murphy is well-known for playing Scarecrow in the Dark Knight trilogy, he was initially considered for the role of Batman. 

However, after doing several screen tests, it became clear to Christopher Nolan that Murphy wasn’t cut out for the role.

Things ended up working out for Murphy though, as his screen-tests allowed him to secure the iconic role fans know him for. 

Cillian Murphy initially screen-tested for the Batman role

Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy attends World Premiere Of “A Quiet Place Part II” | Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Murphy was one of the dozens of actors who auditioned for the Batman role in Batman Begins. Even though he gave a stellar performance during his tests, Nolan knew that Murphy wasn’t the right guy for the lead role. 

“We also had Cillian Murphy screen-test for Batman,” Nolan said. “He wasn’t right for that part in the way that Christian was. But the performance was incredible, and everyone took huge notice of it while we were shooting it and while we watched the tests.”

Christopher Nolan used Cillian Murphy’s screen-tests to get him the Scarecrow role 

Although Nolan didn’t think Murphy was a good fit as Batman, he still felt there was a place for Murphy in the film. He decided to talk to the studio and lobby to have Murphy cast as Scarecrow.

“I then was able to go to the studio and ask to put him in as Crane, as Scarecrow in Batman Begins,” Nolan said.

Nolan knew it was a risky call but had a feeling Murphy’s performance would convince the studio. 

“Even though traditionally, in past iterations of Batman films they’d always insisted on as big a star as possible playing this sort of fanciful villain, having seen Cillian’s tests they were very happy to put him in it.” 

The cast was meticulously selected for ‘Batman Begins’


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Building a star-studded supporting cast was important for the success of the movie. With actors such as Murphy, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman included in the cast, Batman Begins became much more believable. 

“In casting Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine in these sort of supporting roles, they do wonders for these movies in terms of getting us to really kind of buy into the reality,” said Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly. 

Christian Bale impressed Christopher Nolan during screen-tests

When the time came for Christian Bale to screen-test, he knocked it out of the park. He brought the character to life and was selected for the role of Batman. 

“The testing process on this kind of performance … it’s not about acting ability or chemistry or any of those things,” Nolan said. “It’s about being able to project this extraordinary iconography, really, from the inside. It’s visual iconography. Christian, somehow he figured this out before the screen test. That you could not give a normal performance. You could not give an ordinary performance. You had to project massive energy through this costume, in order to not question the costume.”