The actor, famous for playing dwell, damaged men, is back playing, well, a brooding, damaged man in the gritty western Hostiles. He talks about why the film industry has to change, balding up to play Dick Cheney and why he will never, ever, do a romcom
The interview’s first astounds is that a chubby, grungy figure is occupying the Beverly Hills hotel sofa set aside for Christian Bale. The impostor sports a shaven head, heavy paunch, worn black T-shirt and khaki camouflage trousers. He looks like a bouncer, maybe, or a resting football rowdy, but certainly not the person who is pops up on listings of the sexiest superstars alive. But Bale it is, sunk into the seat, inhabiting his latest physical transformation.” I ate a lot of pies ,” he says.
The actor is well known for going to extremes- gorging, starving, bodybuilding- which reshape his physique from Olympian to emaciated to portly and back. He has just done it again, packing on the pounds and running near-bald to play Dick Cheney. At the age of 43, these transformations are not getting easier.” I’ve got to stop doing it. I suspect it’s going to take longer to get this off ,” he says, indicating the belly.
But the chances of Bale not going all the way for a role are, based on the results of the ensuing interview, negligible. He may be from the smaller Pembrokeshire town of Haverfordwest and speak with an emphatic , non-posh English accent, but he is America’s Zelig: a versatile talent who incarnates his adopted country’s dreams and nightmares with singular physicality and intensity.
A driving force, apparently, is insecurity.” The fact anybody hires me is surprising ,” says the Oscar-winner( for The Fighter in 2011) hired by Terrence Malick, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan and David O Russell. It could be false modesty, but Bale seems genuinely worried that someday the run- on average one or two movies a year over the past two decades- could dry up.” That could be really short-lived .”