Chameleon actor Christian Bale turned 47 on 30 of January as one of the most talented, respected and successful stars of his generation. Since debuting in the film “Empire of the Sun”, a masterpiece created by Steven Spielberg, at the age of 13, the British actor has managed to circumvent the challenges of the profession, got respect in Hollywood, became famous, and built a brilliant professional career, acting in films acclaimed by the audience and critics, giving life to very different and complex characters, always with mastery and his creative method of metamorphosis to develop the characters.
Christian Bale was born in Haverfordwest, a small town in Pembrokeshire, Wales, the son of the entrepreneur and a ballerina, grandson of actors. Bale won Oscar for “Best Supporting Actor”, the Golden Globe for “Best Supporting Actor” and the SAG Award for “Best Supporting Actor” for his acting as Dicky Eklund in the cinema biography “The Fighter”. He gained some more prominence for his major role in “American Psychopath”. However, Bale gained international recognition for playing Bruce Wayne / Batman in “Batman Begins”, “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” ( the sequel directed by Christopher Nolan).
Remember some of Christian Bale’s most iconic metamorphoses:
American Psycho (2000)
In the first big opportunity he received in his career after a series of supporting roles in films such as “Velvet Goldmine” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Bale decided to put his rigorous character-building method into practice. In order to bring to life the narcissistic yuppie Patrick Bateman, the protagonist of “American Psycho”, based on the eponymous novel by author Bret Easton Ellis, directed by Mary Harron, Bale sought to achieve, thus, the “Olympic physique” and the immaculate appearance of the character. He worked out exhaustively for months to gain muscle and even perfected his teeth. On the psychological side, the actor completely isolated himself to better understand Bateman’s troubled mind. The reward for the hard process was the acclaim of his performance, and also of the film, which projected his name to the world.
The Machinist (2004)
What does the combination of prolonged lack of sleep and a diet based solely on apples, water, coffee and an occasional dose of whiskey could cause? The ghostly, skeletal and amazing physique worn by Bale in this psychological drama about the machinist Trevor Reznik, whose insomnia leads him to develop debilitating paranoia and to question his own sanity, forced Bale to lose 28.6 kilos in a matter of months.
Batman Begins (2005)
Directed by Christopher Nolan, Bale, on his journey, needed to do another heavy body transformation. Totally unlike Reznik, Bruce Wayne of Nolan would be a tycoon heavily trained in the combat arts. So the actor went back to working out and exchanged apples and a glass of water for pieces of pizza and ice cream cups: in a space of just six months, between the release of “The Machinist” and the pre-production of “Batman Begins “, in 2005, Bale not only regained his original weight but also surpassed it, gaining 45 kilos. However, Nolan decided he wanted the actor lighter, and Bale again lowered his muscle mass, going from 99 to 86 kilos before filming the blockbuster.
Rescue Dawn (2006)
In the war drama, set at the time of the Vietnam War, the star plays pilot Dieter Diegler, a prisoner of Lao’s rebel troops and used as a bargaining chip against the interests of the United States. Forced to even eat larvae to play the character, Bale also needed to make another physical transformation, losing 25 pounds to start filming.
The fighter (2011)
Directed by David O. Russell, in “The Fighter”, Bale played a former professional boxer who abandoned his career because of extensive drug addiction, called Dicky Eklund. Bale faced another drastic weight loss (30,86 pounds). Very thin and exhibiting the almost insane energy of the biographer, responsible for training his younger brother, Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), towards the title of his category in boxing, the actor achieved the level that was missing in his stellar trajectory, winning all the awards for which he competed, including, of course, the prestigious Oscar for “Best Supporting Actor”.
American Hustle (2013)
Losing weight and training his muscles became synonymous of Bale’s method in his approach as an actor. Appearing unrecognisable in his second partnership with Russell, Bale had his second Academy Award nomination after shaving his hair, gaining 20 pounds – eating doughnuts, hamburgers and any other type temptation food – and even affected his own posture to appear less tall. The greater amount of body fat and the relaxed posture caused a herniated disc in Bale’s spine.
Out of the furnace (2013)
Bale returns to his usual physique, but the curious thing is that he plays the role that would initially be Leonardo DiCaprio. Directed by Scott Cooper, the film follows the story of a man who, after leaving prison due to an automobile accident that resulted in the death of a child, he must deal with the sudden disappearance of his younger brother, who has been carrying out illegal fights.
Vice, the fierce movie of Adam McKay showed Bale with new haircuts, bleached eyebrows and over 45 pounds playing as former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. It was certainly one of his best performance.
Which of those actor’s transformations do you like most?