Bale, Christian

Bale, Christian
▪ 2009
Christian Charles Philip Bale 
born Jan. 30, 1974, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales

 Welsh film actor Christian Bale had a mixed year in 2008. He drew international acclaim for his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight, which, upon its July release, immediately set box-office records amid the intense publicity surrounding the sudden, unexpected death in January of his costar, Heath Ledger. Bale also began filming the fourth futuristic Terminator movie, in which he played rebel leader John Connor as an adult. The film, due to be released in 2009, was the first of three projected sequels to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator trilogy (1984, 1991, 2003). Playing a fantasy action hero might seem like a big leap for an actor who first gained notice for his riveting turn as serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (2000), but Bale had never taken the obvious, or easy, route in his career.

      Bale made his big-screen debut, with little formal training as an actor, at age 13 in Empire of the Sun (1987). He received an overwhelming amount of attention for his role, and thereafter he became intensely private, striving to keep his personal life out of the media limelight. Bale appeared in such popular youth-oriented films as Newsies (1992), Swing Kids (1993), and Little Women (1994), for which actress Winona Ryder handpicked him to play Laurie. Bale also provided the voice of Thomas for the Disney animated movie Pocahontas (1995) and played Jesus of Nazareth in the made-for-television movie Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999). Then came American Psycho, and his career took a new path.

      Bale was especially noted for his ability to disappear into a role, his talent for imitating accents, and his penchant for taking on complex, psychologically tormented characters. He lost some 29 kg (63 lb) for the grim psychological thriller El maquinista (2004; The Machinist), in which he played an insomniac factory worker who has not slept in a year and may be losing his mind. Bale then managed to gain back the weight in time to begin filming Batman Begins (2005), the forerunner to The Dark Knight. Other recent roles included pilgrim John Rolfe in the historical drama The New World (2005), an obsessive magician intent on revenge in The Prestige (2006), a struggling rancher in the tense American western 3:10 to Yuma (2007), and U.S. federal agent Melvin Purvis in Public Enemies (due out in 2009). Bale's desire for personal privacy was put to the test when, one day before The Dark Knight's European premiere, he was arrested and questioned by British police about allegedly having assaulted his mother and one of his three sisters; he denied the allegations and was not formally charged.

Anne Siska

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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