‘Bat’ flies straight

Stars were in sight for new franchise beginning

HOLLYWOOD — There was no fake nipple or campy costume in sight at Monday’s “Batman Begins” preem, much to the relief of thesp Christian Bale.

“Only Adam West can fill those shoes. I’ve got a lot of respect for the way he chose to play Batman, but that was a spoof of what Batman is meant to be. I was looking to fill a whole different pair of boots.”

Bale couldn’t believe he got the part. “I met with Chris (Nolan) while I was making ‘The Machinist.’ He said I would have to screen-test to convince the studios. How the hell could I convince anybody, given the shape I was in?!” (Actor lost more than 60 pounds to play that pic’s insomniac lead character.)

Pic features a host of British talent including helmer Christopher Nolan and thesps Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Cillian Murphy; plus extensive below the line credits.

“There’s tremendous talent there,” Nolan explained. “The special FX guys and the visual FX guys are the best over there. There’s nobody as good as them.”

Although canoodlers Tom Cruise and pic’s Katie Holmes dominated public’s attention on the red carpet, they didn’t make it to the after-party. Organizers confided relief at the power couple’s no-show, which would have threatened to upstage pic as the main attraction.

Hard to believe that would have been possible, given the amount of praise heaped upon Nolan.

“Chris Nolan’s the guy you’ve got to thank for the picture. He’s amazing. It’s all Chris. Genuinely,” said Warner’s Jeff Robinov. “He walked through the door and basically said, ‘I know what to do with this movie’; and Alan (Horn), really to his credit, went pay-or-play to Chris in the room, on a pitch.”

For the script he turned to longtime Batman fan and screenwriter David Goyer. Suffering a bad case of laryngitis, scribe conversed with fellow partygoers by passing notes.

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