Christian Bale isn't the only Batman actor to crossover into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a villain — but he may be the first not to know which universe he was joining. The Dark Knight star and Academy Award winner makes his Marvel debut as Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder, the vengeful villain who has vowed the extinction of the gods in director Taika Waititi's sequel to Thor: Ragnarok. In an interview with Total Film magazine promoting the 29th MCU movie, Bale claimed he "had to ask" what the Marvel Cinematic Universe was — even after being cast as the Marvel Comics villain.
Asked whether he had any reservations about playing another comic book character following his run as Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy, Bale told Total Film, "Absolutely not, no. That didn't even enter into my head at all."
He added, "I'd read that, and people would go, 'Oh, look at this! He's entered the MCU!' And I'd go, 'I've done what? I haven't entered sh-t, thank you very much.' I'm like, 'The MCU?' I had to ask what that was."
Bale largely prepared for the role through discussions with Waititi, who considered a dance sequence and the music of "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God") artist Kate Bush.
"There's obviously sort of a Nosferatu slight attitude. Taika and I wanted to do a whole dance, which we didn't get to do, but we had all this sort of Kate Bush stuff that we worked at," Bale revealed. "But I think he just realized he was never going to be allowed to put that in the final film. I would say that the most common thing I was staring at was the Aphex Twin video of 'Come To Daddy'. But I don't even know if that will be in the final film."
A team of special effects artists transformed Bale into the monochrome villain, a relatively recent addition to the Marvel comic book canon. "You sort of go, 'I know what he does.' It's right there in the name, isn't it?" Bale said of the God Butcher. "But I did make the mistake of Googling him and, oh no! [In the comics] he runs around in a G-string all the time."
Bale continued, "And I thought, 'They don't have the right man for that!' And then Taika quickly dispelled any notions of running around in that. But I always did think what he could do with this in front of a bluescreen – he could chuck on whatever he wants later on."
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, Taika Waititi, Jeff Goldblum, and Chris Pratt, Marvel Studios' Thor: Love and Thunder opens exclusively in theaters July 8.