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  • Simon Garner

Actor of the Week: Christian Bale

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho

Oscar winner, the best Batman, and all round genius, Christian Bale is this week’s Actor of the Week. I'm a massive Batman fan, and his performances as Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy were really something to behold. He has so much more in his locker, and is a real favourite of ours at LoF.

The Prestige, based on the novel by Christopher Priest of the same name. A wonderful film, and one of many times Bale has been cast by Christopher Nolan. He plays twin brothers, who take it in turns living as Alfred Borden, genius magician, and Bernard Fallon, his ingénieur. The brothers dedicate their entire lives to an illusion. The film revolves around the rivalry between Borden and his old friend Robert Angier. The stakes of the rivalry are constantly raised as the film progresses, and the two men (or three, depending on how you view it!) go further and further in the quest for one-upmanship, eventually leading to ruin for both (or two of the three).

When discussing The Prestige, Nolan said that Bale was an actor who “takes what he does very, very seriously”. Great examples of this being the case are him dropping huge, unhealthy amounts of weight for his Oscar-winning role as Dicky Eklund in The Fighter, and for the role of Trevor Reznik in The Machinist. According to producers of The Machinist, Bale lost 63 pounds for the role, and that is thought to be a record for any actor having to lose weight for a role. His diet was a tin of tuna and an apple per day. This sort of dedication adds to the story of the actor, not just the story of the role, and is another reason we’re such big fans!

Another favourite of ours is American Psycho. Another film based on a book, he actually replaced Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. American Psycho was fraught with problems prior to its release, so it’s impressive it turned out as well as is did, also having the added angle of it being a novel already. Bale is great in his turn as Patrick Bateman, pulling off multiple personas with great success. The film is violent but funny, sick but realistic, and Bale contributes to this massively. If you haven’t yet seen it, look out for the absurd business card scene - great fun!

As mentioned earlier, his Batman/Bruce Wayne performances were excellent. He is my favourite Batman, and The Dark Knight is also my favourite film ever. Essentially playing two people, Bale brings so much to the role. As Bruce Wayne, he brings the arrogant bravado perfectly, but also excellently displays Bruce showing his true, emotional colours to those closest to him, doing anything to save Gotham from ruin. As Batman, he brought yet more dedication to a role, beefing up to an impressive physique. The Bat-voice has been subject to plenty internet ribbing, but most felt it was necessary and successful. I thought it was excellent, and again, a masterstroke, because it was Bale himself who came up with the voice during his audition process. His dynamic with Heath Ledger’s Joker makes for great viewing too. They counteract each other brilliantly, with Bale bringing morals and brute force, and Ledger bringing organised chaos and equal wit.

A brilliant actor, one of my all time favourites, and much loved generally at LoF. He’s won plenty of awards, and with plenty of good reason! Here’s another one - LoF’s Actor of the Week. Keep it up, Christian!

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