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Interview with Christian Bale on Vice and the Oscar

C.hristian Bale specializes in roles for which he seems physically the wrong man. For the 2004 film “The Machinist”, the Wales native starved himself to a life-threatening minimum weight; for his portrayal of “Batman” he trained himself to muscle mass. Well, for the role of American Vice President Dick Cheney in “Vice”, obesity was required. But where other colleagues would have tricked with masks and artificial bellies, Bale ate for art – and was rewarded with a Golden Globe and his fourth nomination for an Oscar.

Mr. Bale, the political climate in your adopted home America has changed dramatically in the past few years. How exactly do you think about accepting a role in a critical film?

I don’t even think about that, and neither am I allowed to. Ultimately, it only leads to anxiety, faint-heartedness and all those things that we as filmmakers shouldn’t be working under. But it was very surprising what happened on the political stage during and after we made the film. Director Adam McKay and I would sometimes look at each other and think, this isn’t really happening now. Our film became more and more relevant down to the last detail. But actually, according to my theory, you should know as little as possible about actors in order for the illusion of the role to still work.

Why are you still giving interviews?

I’m putting my theory on hold for this film because I’m so proud of our work and the subject is important to me. It is more important than ever to keep an eye on politicians. We are currently watching a struggle where vice versus virtue, truth and decency versus lies and deceit. And that happens all over the world. The mighty seem to have become utterly shameless.

Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice

Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice

Image: AP

Where do you see the reason for this?

That is hard to say. In the past, people tried to cover up the tracks better, didn’t they? Today more people are willing to accept massive lies. And that really scares me. You not?

Would you be a good politician?

(Thoughts for a long time.) So, as an actor, I try to be compassionate. And what often leaves you speechless about politicians is the impression that they only develop compassion when a problem or tragedy in their own family arises. But I evade. I’m afraid certain events in my life are far too well known to the public. Those on the other side would tear me to shreds if I competed (laughs).

Some of your colleagues have been very successful as politicians.

You know, there is this weird convergence of actors and their roles in public. Based on the films you’ve been in, people think they know you. It even goes so far that they believe you are that character. And the roles that I played? I’m afraid there was nothing there that would make me eligible in any way. No chance.

After all, as “Batman” you ensured law and order.

In a very dark way. And don’t forget “American Psycho”.

Are Politicians Better Actors?



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