Christian Charles Philip Bale (also known professionally as Christian Morgan Bale; born January 30, 1974) is a Welsh actor who is known for his roles in the films American Psycho, Batman Begins and The Prestige, among others. Bale is also known for his versatility as an actor, including mimicking nearly any English-based accent, harsh regimens of shedding and gaining weight (particularly for The Machinist, Batman Begins and, most recently, Rescue Dawn), and generally inhabiting the characters he plays. Before he found success in playing Batman, he was heavily involved in independent films.
Bale first caught the public eye when he was cast in the starring role of Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun at the age of 13, playing a British boy who becomes separated from his parents and subsequently finds himself in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Since then, he has portrayed a wide range of characters.
Bale is especially noted for his cult following.
- An actor should never be larger than the film he's in.
- I don't want to know about the lives of other actors and I don't want people to know too much about me. If we don't know about the private lives of other actors, that leaves us as clean slates when it comes to playing characters. That's the point, they can create these other characters and I can believe them. I think if you're a good enough actor, that's the way to longevity in the film business. Keep everybody guessing.
- I started my career without fans.
- I always like that. Whenever there's a project where everyone's going, 'Oooooh, it's a bit dodgy,' I always like it. If you actually look at it, there tends not to be anything risky at all. Why did I start acting in the first place? I didn't do it to be mediocre or to please everybody all the time.
- I'd love to remain a secret and still work, but I also want people to see the movies I'm in and get a higher profile because of that. I like to think that as long as you continue choosing diverse roles, you can avoid becoming predictable.
- It's the actors who are prepared to make fools of themselves who are usually the ones who come to mean something to the audience.
- The only thing that I'm obsessed with is sleeping and, actually, it is more than an obsession, it is a pleasure. I love sleeping so much that I could do it 12 hours a day if I didn't have to turn on the alarm clock...and still, sometimes...
- I needed money because I had just bought a house, but I just kept saying, "I really can't do another movie that I know is not going to turn out the way I want it to, and that I have to make a lot of concessions in my head for."
- I did other things, but my heart was never in it. A lot of actors say that theater's the thing for them. And that's great, and I'm not one to speak with any authority about it because of not having done it properly. For me, movies are what I love.
- I only sound intelligent when there's a good script writer around.
- I'm English. Our dentistry is not world famous. But I made sure I got moldings of my old teeth beforehand because I miss them.
- I don't think I'm like any of the characters I've played- they're all really far from who I am.
- You can't help but find that violence is endlessly fascinating-and I mean true violence, not action-movie violence, just because it is used as the answer to so many problems. We're all taught as kids not to be violent, but you can't help but also see that violence is what works very often. Bullies thrive.
- I think there's a kind of pretentiousness to the idea that serious work is only found in low-budget independent movies - I can't stand that snobbery.
- I like being kept in the dark myself. You know, like mushrooms: Keep 'em in the dark and feed 'em shit. See, I think that's an enjoyable vegetable to be.
On Empire Of The Sun (1986)
- It was horrific. I was almost crying in interviews and running away during press conferences, pretending I was going to the bathroom and just disappearing.
- On dealing with sudden media attention at 13.
- I enjoyed making the film, but I was shocked when I received all the attention when I got home to Bournemouth. Girls were all over me, boys wanted to fight me, and I was being asked to open local fetes when all I wanted to do was ride my BMX bike in the woods. I told my parents I wasn't interested in doing anything again because the attention ruined it.
- On the sudden fame.
On American Psycho (2000)
- The character is so vain and obsessed with his looks. While the psychology of the character was something that I could perform, you can't fake the physicality. Being English, I tend to enjoy going down to the pub far more than going to the gym, so it was very unnatural for me. I just had to convince myself that I loved it, which was the most difficult thing about playing this part. Working out is incredibly boring. I swear it's true that the bigger your muscles get, the fewer brain cells you have. I found I had to stop thinking when I was in the gym because if I thought about it, I'd realize how ridiculous it was that I was pumping iron when I could've been out having a drink and a cigarette and enjoying some lunch. I did three hours a day for six weeks with a personal trainer and some time before that. I ate an awful lot during training and then almost nothing during filming.
- On his role as Patrick Bateman
On The Machinist (2004)
- I had a stupid kind of feeling of invincibility, like, 'I can do it, I can manage it.' I really did feel like I hit this point of enlightenment
- I had spent weeks staring at the wall in my house out of depression because of things that had gone wrong and the choices I had made. When I read The Machinist, I just went, "Wow! This is perfect." I was having dreams about the character and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I felt like this one was going to save my arse, and pull me out of the depressed state I had got into.
On Batman Begins (2005)
- Our Batman is centered on the early days. It's an explanation. It's certainly not Batman No. 5. It's a reinvention. We want you to forget there has ever been a Batman before this one.
- I've never felt like the Batman character in the films was given as much time as any of the villains. The villains were always the most interesting characters, too. Batman has always been this very bizarre, almost blind character running through the middle of the story. Our film is different.
- I contacted them. I heard they were doing some low-budget Batman not aimed at kids and I was tantalized. I had appreciated the Batman movies, but I wasn't really a fan and I didn't know the TV series. But I read some of the graphic novels, and they were very dark and very interesting.
- I spent about three weeks in Chicago last July doing night shoots. It's a great city, but the humidity was tough under the Batsuit. Uh, it got a little bad. It's hot enough in the Batsuit, let alone in the Chicago heat.
- For me, there's a bigger risk trying Batman. Ultimately, the big point was that Chris Nolan [Memento], who you would not expect to be doing that kind of movie, was going to direct it, which is exactly what I was looking for, because you want to do something totally different from the other Batman movies. I always thought there could be a really good movie made about Batman and when I heard that Chris was doing it I thought, `Well, he's not a director that you would expect, therefore you're going to get the unexpected from him.' I think there's a great potential for going very dark with it, it's a fascinating character, very complex psychologically, which I've never seen done. You know, you have the two extremes, which are both very good. You can either go the very camp Adam West TV series thing, which was great in its own way, or you can go more the way of the graphic Dark Knight novels which delve somewhat deeper.
- At first, I was somewhat hesitant to do the role. I mean, after all, Batman is an icon. But I remember, as clear as day, being at the grocery store the day the movie opened, and this little boy saw me. He couldn't have been more than five years old. He just walked right up to me and hugged me. He hugged me, and I was so moved by it that I hugged him back. Then he looked up at me and said "You're my hero." And in that moment, I knew that not only as an actor that I had done my job, but that I had made the right decision to play Batman. And I've never looked back on my the decision to play Batman since.
- On his decision to play Batman.
- You couldn't pull it off unless you became a beast inside that suit.