Christian Bale doesn’t look like Christian Bale again. Genuinely though, this time.
He’s a rare breed in modern cinema. Both a character-actor and box office smasher. A household name yet private. And a sucker for method acting.
Method acting translating to, in simple terms, the choice to become one with the role you’re playing both on and off-set. Famous examples include Robert De Niro doing graveyard shifts in a New York cab in the lead-up to Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro putting away dozens of calories to portray the portly Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull…
Most examples involve DeNiro, but in the future, Bale will become the veteran poster boy for the method. And who knows? Maybe his new role in VICE will rank among the gamut.
Look at him in this. He looks like f***ing Chevy Chase:
Even though Bale had spent the late nineties and early noughties playing acutely-toned and agile characters, it was in 2004’s The Machinist, where he played a haggard insomniac, that he cemented his reputation as a method actor worthy of comparison to his heroes growing up.
Bale lost a huge 65 pounds when he played Trevor Reznik, surviving on an apple and can of tuna per day, taking up chain-smoking to appease any other cravings. When he wanted to lose a further five pounds, medical professionals told him he would probably die if his weight dropped any lower.
He told the BBC at the time:
I had been to a nutritionist and when I had got down to what she had told me was a healthy weight, I just went, ‘You know what? I can go more than this. So I lost another 20 pounds below what she said I should stop at.
In a Reddit AMA co-star Michael Ironside even once recalled the time Bale showed off his weight-loss to him in his trailer.
The muscles in his ass had literally dropped out of the sockets of his hips. The dignity of the muscles, his ass had literally dropped out of the hips and thigh bones. And I said, ‘Hey Chris, your ass has dropped.’ And he said, ‘What do you mean?’ And I said, ‘You’ve stopped losing body fat, and now you’re actually losing elasticity of muscles’.
I forget the exact medical term for it, but I said, ‘You’ve gone beyond body fat, and now you’re into actual muscle tissue and things are being affected’.
The next year, Bale piled on the lost body fat with the help of pizza and ice cream in a matter of months to play Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, who was impressed by the devotion displayed in his The Machinist role.
What a bloke. Anyone who gets fat banter is in my good books. Keep doing you, Chris. Can I call you Chris? Sure I can. Hell yeah!
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