Christian Bale can usually be seen in a new film almost every year – but unfortunately in the Corona year fans have to do without the Hollywood star. Bale most recently played alongside Matt Damon in James Mangold’s biopic “Le Mans 66 – Against Any Chance”, and in the spring he had initial talks with director David O. Russel about an upcoming, as yet nameless, project. The 46-year-old will also play a villain again in “Thor: Love and Thunder” – the Marvel superhero film with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson will not be released until 2022.
After all, there is a small ray of hope for Christian Bale fans: The Cinemaxx chain is currently bringing Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy back to the big screen across Germany. The film industry has also had a difficult time – the next few months will show whether the restart after the pandemic will be a success.
Christian Bale: career and breakthrough
Christian Bale, born in Wales in 1974, was seen in a few commercials in England in the 1980s, but his role in the miniseries “Anastasia” (1986) immediately caught the interest of a Hollywood icon – Steven Spielberg, the director from “Jaws” and “ET – The Extra-Terrestrial”. 13-year-old Bale landed the lead role in the war drama “The Empire of the Sun” (1987) and received an award from the National Board of Review for the best performance by a young actor. The film was a career springboard for the British: Just two years later, Kenneth Branagh gave him a smaller role in his Shakespeare adaptation of “Henry V” (1989). From the mid-1990s, the talented young actor played alongside stars such as Kirsten Dunst, Winona Ryder and Nicole Kidman.
Christian Bale: The role of Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho” brought the breakthrough
But the decisive role that shaped Bale’s path to becoming an international star was given in 2000: The then 26-year-old took on the lead role in the film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis cult novel “American Psycho”.
The film describes the excessive life of the investment banker and serial killer Patrick Bateman, who indiscriminately murders homeless people and prostitutes at night, consumes drugs and drifts deeper and deeper into an uncontrolled intoxication of blood and violence.
Bale saw the role of the elite banker primarily as a challenge, as he admitted in an interview: “He is perfectly styled, wears bespoke suits, has the aura of a winner – the product of soulless capitalism. And suddenly he turns out to be an equally soulless monster. For me, Bateman is a kind of Dorian Gray of the 20th century, ”he told Spiegel.
Four years later, Bale proved what you can achieve if you are strong-willed enough: for the role of a machine worker in the psychological thriller “The Machinist” (2004) by Brad Anderson, he went hungry and lost almost 30 kilograms.
The Batman films make Christian Bale an international star
Within a very short time he fed himself back to his normal weight, trained his body and got the lead role from Christopher Nolan in “Batman Begins” (2005), a reboot of Batman history. The superhero film finally catapulted Bale to the top of international stars. The successful collaboration with Nolan led to two further film adaptations: “The Dark Knight” (2008) and “The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which grossed more than 2.3 billion US dollars.
Christian Bale: filmography
Christian Bale has been involved in more than 50 productions and has worked with many important filmmakers: In addition to Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan, he was also directed by Terrence Malick, Ridley Scott, Werner Herzog, James Mangold, Zhang Yimou, Todd Haynes, Adam McKay and Michael Mann selected for roles.