Circuit 3: Christian Bale

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Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Wales on January 30th, 1974. As a child, Bale starred in television commercials before making a few made-for-television films, including Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986). His first big screen performance came in Empire of the Sun, for which he won the “Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor” award from The National Board of Review.

He performed in Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V (1989) and starred opposite Charlton Heston in Treasure Island (1990), and
continued his success as a young actor in Disney’s Newsies (1992) and Hollywood Pictures’ Swing Kids (1993). However, his breakthrough performance came several years later, playing serial killer Patrick Bateman in Mary Harron’s American Psycho (2000). Bale’s first blockbuster/action flick was Reign of Fire (2002), opposite Matthew McConaughey, which had an enormous budget of $95,000,000. Bale dropped a scary amount of weight (a rumored 63 pounds) to play the role of Trent Reznik in Brad Anderson’s thriller The Machinist (2004).

Bale followed up The Machinist by becoming the new face of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins Bale(2005), gaining 100 pounds in only six months to be able to regain his physique for the role. The film cost an estimated $135 million to make, and grossed nearly $370 million in returns. Batman Begins spawned two sequels: The Dark Knight (2008) – which became the fourth highest grossing film of all time (when adjusting for inflation) – and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

In between his role as Batman, Bale starred in several films including Terence Malick’s The New World (2005), Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn (2006), Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige (2006), James Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma (2007), Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009), and David O. Russell’s The Fighter (2010), for which Bale won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor playing real-life boxer/trainer Dicky Ecklund.

Bale has a whole lot on his schedule for the next few year’s including two Malick films slated to be released in 2013 (though we all know that won’t happen) – the first being Knight of Cups while the second is still untitled. Also due out this year is Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace, which features an impressive cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Casey Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, and Sam Shepard. He is reuniting with David O. Russell to star in his Abscam film (2014) and is rumored to star in Todd Field’s The Creed of Violence (2014). 

My Circuit 3 for Christian Bale:

  1. The Dark Knight (2008)
  2. American Psycho (2000)
  3. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

What are your three favorite/best Bale films? You can view his entire filmography here.