Introduced in 1993, Bane has become a fan favourite character in Batman mythology. He has appeared in various iconic storylines, including the long-running and often celebrated, Knightfall story, which ran across multiple Batman comics during the 1990s.
But if you are familiar with Bane, then you may be asking yourself one very important question: Why, in his movie debut in Batman & Robin (1997), was Bane green? It’s a valid question, and one that deserves an answer.
Why is Bane green in Batman & Robin?
When Bane made his movie debut, it was via the George Clooney-starring movie, Batman & Robin. In the film Bane was played by two actors: Michael Reid MacKay and Jeep Swenson.
MacKay played Bane’s human form, Antonio Diego, while Swenson played the monstrous man-mountain that he would become (aka Bane).
Swenson was big, mean and green! Yet in the comics and cartoons, Bane was never green – so why was he green for the movie?!
Bane was green because it was a style choice to help explain his transformation.
In Batman & Robin, Antonio Diego transforms into Bane as part of an experiment to create a super soldier. His transformation is brought on by the injection of a chemical called Venom.
With Venom coursing through his veins, Antonio Diego expands in size – gaining huge muscle mass beyond what is seemingly possible. And as his shape alters, so does his complexion, turning a shade of green.
Bane turns green because of the Venom. When the production team were coming up with the costume and make-up design for Bane, the idea was to use the Venom as a catalyst.
Venom was key to Bane’s transformation, so it was decided that Venom would be key to his look. The chemical became part of his body, enhancing it accordingly, so it was decided that it would also result in his greenish tinge.
In addition to the green colour, Bane also sported very visible veins, covering his arms and hands. Once again, these veins were brought on by the extreme transformation.
The veins, as well as the green skin, were airbrushed onto actor Jeep Swenson. In keeping with the tone of the movie, the colour scheme was to invoke a comic book aesthetic, so it was designed to look bold, extreme and also garish.
Initially, Swenson’s makeup took five hours to achieve, but once the process was locked down it was reduced to two-and-a-half hours. The end result was a design that looked very different from the comics, but offered something unique for the film.
Did you like it? I must admit on my first viewing I found the green tinge difficult to accept, but over time I appreciated the choices that were made to fit in with the tone of Batman & Robin.
Thanks for stopping by I’ll Get Drive-Thru to read this post about Bane. For more Batman movie related posts, check out one of the recommended reads below.