Christian Bale: “I don’t enjoy when things feel easy”

He knows perfectly what it takes to be the hero of the show. And more than that: he also knows what it means to be cornered by the villain of the day, as director Christopher Nolan masterfully executed in Batman: The Dark Knight (2008), with Heath Ledger’s Joker threatening to break the main character.

“Not only is it fun to be the villain, but it’s also a lot easier than being the hero. But people always think it’s more difficult, ”says Christian Bale (Haverfordwest, Wales, 1974) categorically in a Zoom interview in which he participates Worship. “You get a lot of attention with much less effort,” she insists on what it means to become the protagonist’s nemesis.

Batman: The Dark Knight (2008). Photo: Warner Bros.

A decade after hanging up the Bat Man suit (Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, 2012), today Bale examines superhero movies through another lens: from what it means to embody the figure that opposes the interests of the central hero. The interpreter jumps from DC Comics to the Marvel saga and puts himself in the shoes of Gorr, nicknamed The Butcher of Gods, one of the great novelties of Thor: Love and Thunderthe blockbuster that arrives this Thursday the 7th in Chilean cinemas.

“The villains,” he says, sowing some suspense, “human nature fascinates people, doesn’t it? So you manage to fascinate only by the fact that you are the bad guy. And this was a very well written bad”.

Part of the industry since he was 13 years old The Sun’s empire (1987), by Steven Spielberg, the actor has plenty of experience and has well earned the prestige of being one of the greatest chameleons in the world of cinema. He is selective about his roles and always takes on projects that test him. The most extreme case was The Machinist (2004), a film for which he lost 27 kilos, but before and after that film he has been characterized by accepting productions that mean much more than just cashing the check.

Once, in the midst of promoting his second Batman feature film, he explained his method this way: “My philosophy is not so much, ‘do what you do’. It’s more, ‘whatever you do, do it completely. Don’t do it halfway. Do it better than anyone else would.’”

Bale as Gorr. Photo: ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Defined above all as a performer with a creative appetite who can excel in the most acidic satire and the most heartbreaking drama, no one was surprised that for years he was absent from blockbusters and films based on comics (which, by now, would be the same).

Since concluding his trilogy with Nolan and winning the Oscar for fighter (2011), played Moses in a failed Ridley Scott film (Exodus: Gods and Kings2014), became former United States Vice President Dick Chiney (the vice president2018) and gave a new example of his versatility leading black comedies (American Scandal, the big bet) and vigorous dramas (The law of the strongest, against the impossible). Where does your participation in the new installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe fit then?

Bale steps in: “I love all kinds of movies. Every film belongs to the viewer and is as meaningful as they want it to be. So I don’t have any sort of sense of hierarchy about which movies are more important than others, or anything like that. There are fantastic goofy comedies that are some of the biggest movies I’ve ever seen.. And I really enjoyed going to see Thor: Ragnarök (2017) with my son”, he explains, citing the previous solo tape of Chris Hemsworth’s character.

Everything could have been radically different. At one point, due to scheduling problems, it became difficult for the actor to join the blockbuster directed by Taika Waititi. But the two offspring that he has as a result of his marriage to Sandra Blažić tipped the scales to one side and ended up sealing his return to the world of superheroes. “My children told me: ‘no, no, no, are you going to do this?’ And along with Taika (Waititi), Chris (Hemsworth), Natalie (Portman), and Tessa (Thompson), I was in really good company, so I was very happy that my children told me: ‘do it’”.

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

“He is a loving father,” he notes about his role, a pale and emaciated guy who becomes the nightmare of the gods and in particular of Thor, a hero already troubled by the reunion with his ex-partner, Jane Foster, now turned in the imposing Mighty Thor. “And he could maybe, maybe, evoke a little sympathy,” he adds of Gorr.

The actor delves into another reason behind his signing: the mind of New Zealander Taika Waititi, responsible for films such as What we do in the shadows (2014) and JojoRabbit (2019), for which he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“This is nothing new, right? Tragedy and comedy have always gone hand in hand, and Taika is incredibly talented. look ragnarokof course, but If you see JojoRabbit there is an absolute irony that goes hand in hand with an incredible sincerity. It is an amazing and moving film. And I find the same Thor: Love and Thunder. Honestly, Taika had to hold back a lot on his comedy to maintain the family-friendly field that we were all looking for, but still, in terms of emotion, it’s a moving film, really amazing.”

-You. he is known for playing demanding roles that take him to new places. What was his learning while filming Thor: Love and Thunder?

I’m grateful to be able to do what I do, and everyone likes to have a challenge in their lives, right? I certainly don’t enjoy it when things feel easy. I have a really bad memory, but as I recall, when I met Taika, he said, ‘Hey, I put a bunch of dots on your face, and everything else will be CGI.’ Then, obviously, I forgot the conversation where he told me that it would actually be all prosthetics. So we added this glorious invention made by the special effects team in Sydney. It was four hours, and then it went down to three and a half hours each day, for the creation of Gorr.

Photo: ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

“And it was a wonderful experience, very creative. I enjoyed it immensely. We listened to a lot of very strange music and things that put us in that mental space. And it was unlike any movie I’d done before. The natural thing is that people think that it could be similar to the Batman films that I did. But the approach is totally different here, where (the shoot) was completely on blue screen, which with Chris Nolan, we literally used one day, as far as I can remember. And now there is new technology and digital cameras. So it was a completely new experience for me.”

But did you have to hone any specific skills? “There was a bit of physical work, which I didn’t expect, because I saw Gorr as an abstract, ethereal character. But he had to be a bit fit. Although no one can compare to Chris Hemsworth, you are lost, ”she jokes. And he details: “I looked at the Child Catcher of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). And there’s a wonderful Aphex Twin music video (eat daddy). That was mostly my inspiration, though we had to hold back a bit to keep it familiar.”

Christian Bale is one of the few actors on the front line of Hollywood who until now had not been able to release any film in a pandemic, with the restrictions that have meant going to market in unfriendly conditions for the big screen. His most imminent launch, Thor: Love and Thundershould become a phenomenon at the global box office, although that is not taken for granted for all the titles that come, even if it is a film full of great stars of the industry.

The actor leads the cast of amsterdam (December 3 in theaters), a film that crosses romance and crime in which he returns to work with the filmmaker David O. Russell (American Scandal) and share poster with Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Robert De Niro and even Taylor Swift. It could be an award letter, as well as The pale blue eye, from Netflix, his first film for a streaming platform, whose premiere is expected this year. The interpreter multiplies, although it is always a possibility to loosen the rhythm.

Amsterdam (2022), by David O. Russell.

Thor It is his first film released since the start of the pandemic. How worried are you about the future of cinemas and the space that blockbusters and smaller films will occupy in the near future?

Movies like Thor They seem pretty solid, right? Everyone is going to see them. There was an effect after the lockdown, in which I committed to films ahead of time. And I ended up doing three in one year. Thor: Love and Thunder It is one of them. And that is too much. No one wants to see that much of me ever. I don’t want to see as much of myself. So I’m going to back off a bit now.

“As for, I don’t know how to describe them, the adult dramas? Yes. They could be in a dangerous position, in that sense. We definitely have to find a place for them and prove that they still have an audience. I think there’s always a place, now with streaming and all that. I still hope that hopefully we can find a communal experience to watch other movies. But it seems that the world of Marvel is quite safe.

In more or less large films, Bale does not forget one of the essences of his profession. “You are always in society with other people. A movie is not a unique adventure for anyone. You depend on a whole team to do it,” he explains. In that sense, his return to blockbusters was “a really collaborative effort, like any movie is. And we got some really good gorgeous results. I am very proud”.

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