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Christian Bale Q+A
November 18, 2010 12:32 AM   Subscribe

"You know the reason I picked this place? 'Cause it has nothing to do with my life. I never come here, ever. It's as far removed from any place that I would ever go to. And that's exactly why I chose it. 'Cause it has nothing to do with me." ESQUIRE versus CHRISTIAN BALE
posted by philip-random (78 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
He's right about one thing: You do have to treat yourself like a mushroom.
posted by The World Famous at 12:46 AM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


When he was a child actor, Bale did fantasy movies and even sang and danced in a Disney musical called Newsies. Now he cringes at the words "child actor."

"Not many of us stay still when a maniac is walloping us with a chunk of cable - we get fidgety".

I think this was the first movie were his character is killed. (knew about the cable but was killed by a car)

I wondered when this was announced, if Bale would be offered a role. not.
posted by clavdivs at 1:03 AM on November 18, 2010


Maybe it's just me but every time I see Bale I see a guy who looks like a brother of young George Bush.
posted by bwg at 1:10 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The interviewer's reference to Nicholson interviewing a "witch doctor" in The Passenger surely isn't right.
posted by Major Tom at 1:14 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


God, what a self-hating, confused, pretentious arsehole. I pity him.
posted by smoke at 1:25 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bale: ...you learn very quickly that you're just a tool...

Truer words were never spoken.
posted by Optamystic at 1:31 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Although he comes across as a bit of an asshole, I feel for the guy.

I would imaging it's hard not sounding pretentious when you have a series of interviews lined up to promote a movie and you're being asked the same questions about your art and your vision for the character etc etc

Also, I loved this line:

"ESQUIRE: But that's not really true. If you really disappeared into your role, people wouldn't realize it was the same guy from movie to movie.

BALE: No! It's like painting behind the radiator — I'd know about it even if nobody else does."
posted by MuffinMan at 2:07 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Welsh is stereotypically a lilt rather than a burr, so this is obviously fake. And, erm, I thought he was pretty good in The Machinist.
posted by Abiezer at 2:12 AM on November 18, 2010


I find the person I imagine to be in the art of the act much more entrancing than the reality. The depth they must feel about being in the moment of whatever character they play. The anguish at having to feel something that they will hopefully never experience in life. The novelty of crushing and absolute failure. The glory of justice and rebirth of the sense of hope.

And then to hear the actor in an interview state something like 'and then I pissed on the bitches feet' kinda kills it for me.
posted by ZaneJ. at 2:29 AM on November 18, 2010


Bale needs a new agent/publicist/whatever, one of those scary motherfuckers who would stop every fucking interview he does being about how the poor journalist is hampered by Bale's desire to control what is written about him.

And the whole Jack Nicholson segment was as convincing as Bale's exhortations that he doesn't really want the cake he just ate.

Good actor though.
posted by fullerine at 2:30 AM on November 18, 2010


God, what a self-hating, confused, pretentious arsehole. I pity him.

I pity you. He is a great artist, or haven't you seen what he does?
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:51 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've met and known some actors. They are weird, to a fault. Just like this guy. Glad I'm not an actor but still, glad they do it. Why anyone would want to read about these weirdos, unless they hide it in order to do the publicity, is beyond me. Isn't what's-his-name a cobbler in his spare time?

Yeah, the more I like your art the less I really want to know about _you_.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:54 AM on November 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


I pity you. He is a great artist, or haven't you seen what he does?

Yeah, Reign of Fire and Terminator Salvation were epic. He's like Klaus Kinski and Marlon Brando rolled into one.

More seriously, I enjoy him in many movies, but great art doesn't prevent you from being a self-hating arsehole. He acts like big budget bullshit and its associated publicity demands are his only choice. Harden up, Bale, if you hate it so much why don't you just do stage acting or god forbid something you actually enjoy with your life?

Newsflash: You don't get paid millions because of your acting ability any more than Miley Cyrus does for her singing ability. You're a brand dude, if you don't like it, stop selling out. Don't try to pretend you're something that you're not. Accept it, or move on.

Also, no wonder he's so cut; that huge fucking chip on his shoulder must weigh a tonne.
posted by smoke at 3:05 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


ZaneJ, where was the 'and then I pissed on the bitches feet' quote?

The thing about Bale that I find amusing is that he has such a bad boy image, yet... he hasn't really done much of anything shocking at all, and is mostly just irascible in interviews. I consider the Terminator set rant a non-thing* and who knows what was up with his fight with his mother, but yeah, he had a big fight with his mum. Basically he's been married only once, for 10 years now, has a kid he adores, isn't in and out of rehab or wrecking cars while high on coke, or assaulting his assistant, or screaming racist obscenities at his wife, hasn't destroyed any hotel rooms with hookers hiding in the closet during a drug fueled rage, or pulled a gun on his wife, or threatened his own daughter and called her a "pig," etc., etc. But he can be an ass in interviews. *shrug* Maybe I've missed the shocking things, though, because I don't keep up with very much Hollywood gossip.

* my husband works in film as a sound engineer, and it's pretty common for people to rage out every once in a while; the work can be really tense, demanding, tiring, and everybody mostly just cares about that one thing that they're responsible for, so they can interfere with someone else's work... making noise when the sound guy needs quiet, moving things that shouldn't be moved, distracting the actors, whatever. When the crew gets tired and sloppy sometimes you basically need to throw a major rant just to remind people to follow the protocol, or the film suffers.
posted by taz at 3:36 AM on November 18, 2010 [31 favorites]


That was pretty amusing. It's like that guy in college from two doors down who everybody thought was weird yet vaguely charismatic at the same time suddenly making it big. The guy who'd sometimes make you just stop and stare in awe at the sheer craziness while simultaneously wondering how he ever managed to pass a single class seeing hows he never went to any of them.

I knew a couple of those guys. Most of them either settled down, went nowhere, or some combination of both. Probably because they didn't have the discipline to do something like drop sixty-three pounds in a couple of months. Nice to see Bale carrying the torch.
posted by valkyryn at 3:42 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This isn't anything you wouldn't have heard Jack or Al or Bobby say back in the day. He does a good job of making the interviewer seem like an annoyance. Actually raised him in my estimation!
Also, what a completely annoying reading experience. Yo, Esquire, clean it up!
posted by thinkpiece at 4:17 AM on November 18, 2010


ESQUIRE: What about Bringing Up Baby?

BALE: Is that a movie?

ESQUIRE: It's Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.

BALE: I don't know it.

ESQUIRE:The Philadelphia Story?

BALE: Never seen it.

ESQUIRE:Breakfast at Tiffany's?

BALE: Never seen it.

ESQUIRE: Get the fuck outta here.


Ha. Now that's an interview.
posted by zardoz at 4:41 AM on November 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


"The more I talk about it, the more I'm telling people how they should react. And that is an asshole."

That is so true.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:41 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like him more and more. Fuck Esquire.
posted by unSane at 4:45 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


And he should read Dickens. He wrote lots of realy cool stuff.
posted by Major Tom at 4:47 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the interview with the added bonus of wanting to get to the end so I could read this thread to see what some sad fucking idiots would have to say about what a bad person this actor is. That's value.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 4:59 AM on November 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


I like the Q&A format much more than the crappy novella format. Bale is right: Too many interviewers pad their work with filler that may or may not be true and certainly isn't relevant to the story, however colorful it may be. Q&A gets you closer to the whole point of the interview, i.e. what questions were asked of the subject and how they responded.
posted by No-sword at 5:04 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


If the journo didn't want the Q&A format he should have just refused the interview, rather than whining about it. That's how you deal with preconditions as a journalist. I use the word loosely.
posted by unSane at 5:12 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


This didn't really seem like a "versus" interview. Sure, the journalist complained about the format, but then he played around with it, so it didn't really matter. It was a good interview, I thought.
posted by beerbajay at 5:28 AM on November 18, 2010


He's fucking with mefi as much as he's fucking with the interviewer. The more crap you give him, the happier he gets!
posted by blucevalo at 5:32 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and American Psycho? Talk about a movie that's been slept on for 10 years. Rent it. Now.
posted by blucevalo at 5:51 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed that a great deal. All egotism, preening, and poncing about aside, the Q&A format really lent a certain amount of credibility to it (I'm assuming that the magazine isn't allowed to quote things out of context). There was much less forced narrative, much more of a documentary feel to it.

Bale can pose and preen all he wants -- he delivers the goods even when it comes to big-budget action, as well as with his smaller-budget roles ...

... except Terminator: Salvation. You could cut him out of that movie, entirely, and Sam Worthington & co would have carried it, just fine.
posted by jpolchlopek at 6:16 AM on November 18, 2010


Christian Bale seems like one of those guys who I bet has allowed himself to be crazy. Like he probably gradually figured out that he didn't like being sane and that he was really good looking and then really talented and then really rich so he didn't need to be sane if he didn't want to be.
posted by I Foody at 6:31 AM on November 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


BALE: I don't want people to know me.

ESQUIRE: Why not?

BALE: Because that buggers up my job.


And that's when I gained some respect for Bale. The world, and movies, would be better off if People Magazine, E!, and all the other crap just didn't exist. Not knowing a damn thing about an actor goes a long way into buying into their character.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:48 AM on November 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Roids will do that to ya.
posted by The Whelk at 6:55 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I dunno. I kind of liked him in the interview.
posted by gaspode at 6:55 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


BALE: I have this motorcycle that is a gorgeous motorcycle. It ain't crazy expensive, but it's up there. And people who know motorcycles like this motorcycle a great deal, and people who don't like motorcycles, they could still look at this motorcycle and go, "That's somethin' special. That's really lovely."

I can't be the only one who was a big enough bike nerd to guess what bike he was talking about before the reveal.
posted by 256 at 6:58 AM on November 18, 2010


The thing about Bale that I find amusing is that he has such a bad boy image, yet... he hasn't really done much of anything shocking at all, and is mostly just irascible in interviews

Journalist versus Actor is a mutually beneficial conflict, a War on Perspective.
posted by fullerine at 6:59 AM on November 18, 2010


Great interview. Made me like him more, too.
posted by kryptondog at 7:37 AM on November 18, 2010


I don't believe that if you've never seen Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, or (to a far lesser degree) Breakfast at Tiffany's, you don't have anything to offer me as an actor.

But if you haven't seen them... and seem to have no interest and claim to be interested in film... well, I'm not sure you have anything to offer me as a human being.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:39 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Reign of Fire and Terminator Salvation were epic.

I rewatched Reign of Fire last night, and actually agree with this assessment.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:42 AM on November 18, 2010


Successful crackpot actor interviewee and clever, wise-asss interviewer. What's not to like?
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:08 AM on November 18, 2010


I remember when the first Batman movie came out, Bale did an interview with Terry Gross. At the end of the interview she commented that she knew he grew up in Wales, and yet during the interview she couldn't hear the hint of an accent (in fact, I remember he sounded vaguely like a New Yorker). He replied that he didn't want his accent to get in the way of interviews and people's perception of him as the character Bruce Wayne, and so he was performing the interviews.

It was such a wacky NPR moment to hear that. Especially since Fresh Air is a show that prides itself on getting really in depth interviews. But Bale was all surface.
posted by bluefly at 8:12 AM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Terminator Salvation was terrible, but did you see the movie, or did you just hear the epic outtake of him dressing down someone who walked across his sightline? Because if you just heard the hilarious meme thing then you'd get this idea that he takes himself and his job way too seriously. But if you watch the movie, his performance, given what he's given by the crappy writing, is masterful.

Put yourself in his shoes -- imagine how much needless, empty bullshit you have to fight through in order to do your thing, how many vapid interviews, how much nonsense. He's obviously conflicted about it because he really enjoys and loves the Acting part and wants to do his best, but he hates the marketing circuit component.

One wonders why he doesn't just do plays -- he has the range, he has the chops, he has the presence, and apart from having to put on song and dance shows for rich theater benefactors there's a lot less media foolishness.
posted by felix at 8:26 AM on November 18, 2010


But Bale was all surface.

It's all in the last line of the interview and the quote I pulled for the front page.

"You know the reason I picked this place? 'Cause it has nothing to do with my life. I never come here, ever. It's as far removed from any place that I would ever go to. And that's exactly why I chose it. 'Cause it has nothing to do with me."

It's not that the guy's got nothing going on beneath the surface; he just sees no logical reason why letting the audience in on it would help him do his job (ie: deliver convincing performances). It would only get in the way. Ever seen or read an interview with the young Robert DeNiro (maybe the older one too; I haven't been paying much attention lately)? He generally manages the same trick as Bale, albeit by different means. That is, he comes across as so scattered, uncomfortable, disinterested in talking about anything, particularly himself, that the interview generally gives up and stops going for depth. Mission accomplished. We, the audience in this often absurd spectacle, are left realizing that the only depth we're going to get is up there on the screen ... where it should be.
posted by philip-random at 8:40 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


^I can't be the only one who was a big enough bike nerd to guess what bike he was talking about before the reveal.

I thought it was going to be an antique. Bike nerd fail.
posted by Demogorgon at 8:42 AM on November 18, 2010


I am a trained stage actor who has also never seen any of the films that Bale hasn't seen. I am sorry to be such a human failure.
posted by Skot at 8:47 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Newsflash: You don't get paid millions because of your acting ability any more than Miley Cyrus does for her singing ability. You're a brand dude, if you don't like it, stop selling out. Don't try to pretend you're something that you're not. Accept it, or move on.

You're totally right, but I still prefer this kind of interview to the usual 'on autopilot playing the game' stuff most stars give you. He is very Hollywood, but that doesn't mean he can't have an opinion on how the whole system works. Keep on raging Christian, I like it.

He is a megawatt film star, and part of his appeal is his earnestness. I don't want him to go on the stage. I want him to keep doing blockbusters forever.
posted by Summer at 8:55 AM on November 18, 2010


I don't believe that if you've never seen Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, or (to a far lesser degree) Breakfast at Tiffany's, you don't have anything to offer me as an actor.

But if you haven't seen them... and seem to have no interest and claim to be interested in film... well, I'm not sure you have anything to offer me as a human being.


Seriously? One's humanity is suspect if they haven't seen these films? I personally have seen Breakfast At Tiffanys in its entirety (love that sensitive work Mickey Rooney does as the wacky Japanese neighbour) and maybe a few minutes of Bringing Up Baby on TV sometime. Philadelphia Story -- if I did see it, I was passed out at the time. I guess this all makes me marginally more "human" than Mr. Bale. Praise Jesus for that.
posted by philip-random at 9:02 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Put yourself in his shoes -- imagine how much needless, empty bullshit you have to fight through in order to do your thing, how many vapid interviews, how much nonsense. He's obviously conflicted about it because he really enjoys and loves the Acting part and wants to do his best, but he hates the marketing circuit component.

Yeah, this.

I'm watching Reign of Fire right now, oddly enough, and the difference in Bale's performance as compared to his co-star Matthew McConaughey is basically hilarious. McConaughey is over the top and ridiculous, but Bale almost makes you believe a dragon apocalypse has happened.

There just doesn't seem to be much nonsense about him, which may make him sort of surly and not too fun to be around, but gosh, who cares? He can act and that's what he is paid to do.
posted by something something at 9:05 AM on November 18, 2010


I am not normally all that sympathetic to poor rich famous Hollywood stars, but I've had to do just enough junket-type interviews as a journalist asking famous people Qs - and had to provide enough As at the much less intense level of guy who wrote a book - to now be on the subject's side by default in these things.

Doing a really intense bout of book publicity was one of the most wholly unnatural and dehumanizing things I've ever experienced in my life. You're on a TV set for 3 minutes, sitting inches away from a braying plastic surgery freakshow (on TV talk shows, you sit much closer in reality than it looks like on screen and everyone talks overloud like a deranged parent trying to insist a shitty time is actually the BEST DAY EVER), and the freakshow asks you canned questions that sometimes have no actual connection to your work but you've got to play along because it's fucking TV and you'll look awful if you don't roll with it, and then you're doing some heartfelt thing for indie radio in a musty studio, then you're back in your hotel room answering oddball questions on the phone for strangely accented people, then there's some kind of stunt/concept thing for Short Attention Span Monthly that's like high school drama class without the dignity, and in between people are making you stand in weirdly angled ways for pictures or you're sitting in a green room with the guest after you who appears to have been booked because she's made Guiness as Most Certifiably Bonkers Person Ever, and then around and around again.

I'd do a dozen or more of these in a day some days, and the pressure would be on a guy like Bale to do five times that amount, to be everywhere for everyone and do interviews for foreign-language press and alll that. And if you like the work - you want people to read your book or you like acting in movies and want to maintain enough pull to get the good roles and all that - then you have to play ball at least a little. And so maybe you decided to draw the line at the lunch interview that turns into some guy's novella about Who You Really Are because of your tone when you asked for another Stella, or the fact that you ordered Stella, or whatever.

I mean, I feel for the Esquire dude because I'm sure it wasn't like he came into work saying, "dammit, we must get to know what makes Christian Bale tick!," he was at the back end of a protracted discussion between an editor and an art director and a publicist and an agent, but if he's at all self-aware he should know that what he's doing is ultimately meaningless and only gets shallower if he tries to embue it with any sense of real human interaction.

And what's more he should know that Bale's right - Esquire-type celeb profiles are some of the worst pop psychology short stories on the planet, every other one of them turning a staged lunch at a Hollywood hotel into some kind of deep encounter session in which the very soul of the artist is visible in the way he dunks his truffle-oiled fries in the aioli.

So yeah, I'm kinda naturally sympathetic to the subject here. And that last line - "it has nothing to do with me" - is probably the best, slyest parting go-fuck-yourself I've ever seen in one of these things, so bonus points for that.
posted by gompa at 9:10 AM on November 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


McConaughey is over the top and ridiculous,

Actually, if the dragon apocalypse were to happen, I suspect this is precisely how McConaughey would act. Also, in that film he may be the best living embodiment of Bors Vallejo illustration I have ever seen.

I have a theory about this film that I've been playing with -- I think it's basically a Celtic folk tale. It explicitly references King Arthur, who is thought by scholars to be an adaptation of a Celtic deit, and whose own father, Uther Pendragon, is derived from Welsh folklore. Arthur's birth was foretold by Uther in a vision of a red dragon. Arthur's sword, Excalibur, has a Welsh name, and may be derived from the legendary Irish weapon Caladbolg. (Additionally, the Lady of the Lake is derived from Celtic legends).

And so we here we have a story about a hero, played by a Welsh actor and given a Celtic name (his first name, Quinn, is Irish, his last name, Abercrombie, is Scottish) pairing with an Irish-American actor whose character has an Irish/Scottish first name (Denton); his last name, Van Zan, is, as far as I can tell, entirely invented. And the film is set in Scotland, and was filmed in Ireland, and tells the tale of these Celtic heroes defeating a dragon in order to produce, essentially, a new king, a boy named Jared, whose name is Hebrew for "He who shall rule."

So, while it's not a retelling of the Arthur story, it's very much like an ascension of a kind folk tale. I may be reading too much into it, but that's what we Irish do.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:30 AM on November 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


No, it's simpler than that. I want to be able to just act and never do any interview, but I don't have the balls to stand up to the studio and say, "I'm never doing another interview in my life!" So I tip my hat and go, "Okay mister! All right mister! I'll go do the salesman job!"

Aaaaaaand, scene.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:31 AM on November 18, 2010


Here's that Fresh Air interview I was talking about. The question comes up around 16:45.

I know that it's a chore for actors to give interviews. But I can honestly say that I go see most movies (that aren't recommended by friends) based on articles or interviews I've read about the director or writer or cast. It's not that I care that much about actors' lives. But I'm not sure how I would find out about new movies if I didn't read/listen to stories about them.
posted by bluefly at 9:33 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christian Bale is a bad ass. I love his movies and I totally agree with him that I don't want to see how the special effects were done. Going to a movie is about losing yourself in the movie. Seeing the behind-the-scenes of Will Smith with a helmet in front of a green screen only lessened my enjoyment of him in Independence Day.

And I like not knowing much about him personally. I have to admit that watching Heath Ledger as the Joker and knowing more about his backstory detracted from his character. Or, at least, it would have if I recognized anything of the "10 Things I Hate About You" character in his role - which I didn't.
posted by jillithd at 9:41 AM on November 18, 2010


Learning of his disdain for Newsies greatly lessened my appreciation for Bale. Not to mention his need of a throat lozenge in his latest films.
posted by kmz at 9:42 AM on November 18, 2010


Terminator Salvation was a terrible piece of shit.

As opposed to Stealth, which was an awesome piece of shit.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:48 AM on November 18, 2010


God, what a self-hating, confused, pretentious arsehole.

Interesting. I never knew nor cared much about Christian Bale (I think he's a pretty good actor, but I hated the Batman movies) until I read this article. Now I guess I like him OK.

Perhaps it was his admission of love for Beverly Hills Ninja. I have my own soft spot for Clifford ("Look at me like a human boy!")

But if you haven't seen them... and seem to have no interest and claim to be interested in film... well, I'm not sure you have anything to offer me as a human being.

Yikes! Scratch me off the list, I guess. I am interested in film and have not seen either. (I also hate The Godfather. I prefer The Money Pit.)

I dunno. I like honesty and personality. Seems like Bale has got both.

ESQUIRE: "I was in Batman once."

BALE: Dementia would have to set in to a severe degree for me to be happy with that.


Wonderful.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:54 AM on November 18, 2010


I've been trying to find some Youtube evidence of it but thus far have failed. But I seem to remember a documentary about Bale's career (one of those INSIDE HOLLYWOOD things) where they talk about an incident that happened during the selling of EMPIRE OF THE SUN. Bale, then 13, had a meltdown during an interview (or maybe it was while getting the paparazzi treatment) and fled the scene, ran away from all adult supervision (and interference) and wasn't seen for a while. To me, this speaks volumes as to his current attitude toward the hype machine.

In layman's terms: "Fuck it".
posted by philip-random at 9:56 AM on November 18, 2010


This is awesome.

As someone who is little better than a failed novelist, I agree with him that these interviews are usually bullshit fiction writing practices that capitalize on the name and cultural collateral of a celebrity to gain a readership. They're also completely fucking formulaic. They always, always start:

[Celebrity] walks into [restaurant which states something about the celebrity's wealth or their rejection of their wealth] dressed in [clothes which again state something about the celebrity's wealth or their rejection of their wealth]. He is [insert physical description, often seemingly viewed from a macro lens so that pores, stubble and all, are visible, emphasizing how celebrity is indeed a real person]. He orders a [trendy drink which says something about the celebrity's wealth or rejection of their wealth] and [makes some sort of appraisal of their surroundings and the clientele of the restaurant in question].
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:13 AM on November 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


Unless the interview is with Bret Easton Ellis, in which case the interview describes how he answers his door barefoot and offers the interviewer a coke in a mini can.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:15 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I may be reading too much into it, but that's what we Irish do.

Don't forget the melancholy.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:21 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


After reading how it was like pulling teeth to get Bale to open up, I'm really curious about the process the photographer went through to get the accompanying pictures.
posted by kimota at 10:38 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and American Psycho? Talk about a movie that's been slept on for 10 years. Rent it. Now.

And it should keep on sleeping. Maybe I should view it again, but after being a fan of the book the movie was a big yawn. Patrick Bateman would have loved it, however. He had incredible taste in the arts...
posted by justgary at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2010


Christian Bale's performance in The Machinist was one of the most haunting, powerful, and impressive displays of solid, "movie actor" skills I've ever seen. It's been over a year and I still think about that film all the damned time. And to be sure, I'm not just referring to his bizarre and drastic weight-loss before filming. His confusion during the film is infectious. Halfway through the movie I stopped observing and started thinking, "why is this happening to me?!" I haven't been that engrossed in a plot in a long time. Without spoiling anything, the last three minutes of the film provided the kind of emotional, psychological catharsis that usually accompanies a good, long cry. Christian Bale can make twinkie commercials for all I care and his work in The Machinist will redeem any amount of gravelly-voiced batmanning for the next three decades.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


being a fan of the book the movie was a big yawn

I haven't read the book, but I've heard it's pretty straightforward? I thought the movie was just hilarious.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:50 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sussudio came on the radio while I was reading this, and it reminded me of exactly why I think Bale is terrific. American Psycho had to walk such a fine line to be so funny with so much really unpleasant content, but it worked, and not every actor could have made that happen.

He also particularly impressed me in Velvet Goldmine and Harsh Times. He seems pretty fearless about looking foolish or vulnerable or being dislikeable, and I really appreciate that. No doubt, it's sometimes merely arrogance that makes some actors that capable, but whatever the cause, that trait makes stuff like Bad Lieutenant and Antichrist possible. And most big-name actors will simply never go to those places.
posted by heatvision at 10:51 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine is an internationally-famous musician who is interviewed all the time for magazines, the web, TV, etc. and who is a genuinely warm, kind, fantastic person. He doesn't put on an act in interviews. Nevertheless, he comes across completely different in interviews than he does in normal personal interactions (he doesn't come across as cold or not nice - just different). The first time I saw a video interview of him I was initially a bit tempted to be judgy about how he came across. But then I remembered that, if it was me being interviewed, I would probably come across as either an incoherent dork or as an opinionated, verbose jerk.

Christian Bale is a very good actor. I have no idea what kind of person he is in real life. And interviews with him tell me nothing other than what he's like in an interview. And they don't really even tell me that, since all I get to see is what came through the reporter's lens.
posted by The World Famous at 10:55 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


BALE: I don't want people to know me.

ESQUIRE: Why not?

BALE: Because that buggers up my job.

ESQUIRE: How does it do that?

BALE: Because if you know something about somebody, it gets in the way of just watching the guy as the character.


Also, this is why I don't read celebrity gossip. I like many of Mel Gibson's movies. I don't want to know anything about him. Same goes for Randy Quaid and Anne Heche. I just want to see them act, I want to be amazed by their performance without having to think about who they are as a person.

My older brother is an actor. When I was a boy I saw him die on stage three times. Once as Count Paris (stabbed with a rapier), once as a character in Fortunes of the Moor (chased by crowd and stabbed with pitchforks) and once as Dr. Frakenstein (exposure). Each time it sucked, because I couldn't just see the character he played, I was sad because my bro was dying, man. And I was a little kid, I tried to be tough, but it was always reassuring to see him after the performance, still alive. My relationship with him gets in the way of enjoying the play. Everyone else was probably happy to see Paris get what was coming to him, but all I knew was that Romeo was that dick who stabbed my brother.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:00 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and American Psycho?

I'm still waiting for a BATMAN/AMERICAN PSYCHO mash-up. That is, take Bruce Wayne out of it entirely. Patrick Bateman becomes Batman's secret identity. I'd do it myself but I've got atoms to smash.
posted by philip-random at 11:01 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm still waiting for a BATMAN/AMERICAN PSYCHO mash-up.

Right here, dude.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:14 AM on November 18, 2010


That is, take Bruce Wayne out of it entirely. Patrick Bateman becomes Batman's secret identity.

It would be better if you took Batman out of it entirely so that Patrick Bateman becomes Bruce Wayne's secret identity. But also take the serial killer out, so that Bruce Wayne's secret identity is a late 1980s investment banker. The edited conference room scenes alone would justify the mashup.
posted by The World Famous at 11:15 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everyone else was probably happy to see Paris get what was coming to him

I always felt a bit bad for Paris. Sure he was a bit of an ass, but his main crime seems to be that he also liked Juliet.
posted by kmz at 1:08 PM on November 18, 2010


mrgrimm: I have my own soft spot for Clifford ("Look at me like a human boy!")

Don't worry about Clifford. He'll be fine if you give him a ton of sugar and a book about Hitler.
posted by Dreamcast at 1:25 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Paris: the Judas of Shakespeare.
posted by No-sword at 2:22 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, that was a little vexing for the interviewer, 'cause he seemed to want something that Bale wasn't willing to give and wouldn't lay off it. But I thought Christan Bale actually came off as pretty decent, not very Hollywood, but he certainly wasn't a dick about anything. I agree with him about how over-analyzing things can sometimes ruin them (I always felt that way about dissecting literature in English class) and having culture prescribed for (a la Bringing Up Baby) you instead of feeling free to pursue what really interests you. I guess you could call him anti-intellectual, but he's certainly not unintelligent.

But I will admit that I've always been a fan. He's one of those rare actors who seems to always choose his roles because they're interesting, and not because they're necessarily going to be lucrative. You've got to respect that. And his step-mom is Gloria Steinem. That's none of his doing but it's still pretty cool.
posted by Jess the Mess at 9:00 AM on November 19, 2010


That's none of his doing but it's still pretty cool.

If he was enough of a brat, I'm sure he could have scared her away.
posted by philip-random at 12:25 PM on November 19, 2010


* my husband works in film as a sound engineer, and [...] sometimes you basically need to throw a major rant just to remind people to follow the protocol, or the film suffers.

What a fascinating, well-scripted defence of immaturity and lack of self-control, taz. Well done.

Because, of course, in the movie industry things are different, and temper tantrums are necessary. They aren't the byproduct of prima donna attitudes and unprofessionalism at all. People outside the Industry wouldn't understand, as we don't have to deal with people who mess up our jobs, or fail to follow protocols.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:16 AM on November 20, 2010


I disagree - the hours are insanely long, cool gets lost. You try your best, shit happens. It is forgiven in exactly the same measure as other industries. That is, only so much.
posted by From Bklyn at 9:24 AM on November 20, 2010


Yeah, most people "outside the Industry" do not work on average 10-14 hour days where a simple miscue that costs a fifteen minute delay could cause a production thousands of dollars. The stakes are very high in BIG DEAL moviemaking and the sets are populated with a higher than average percentage of sensitive artist types who are paid big bucks to EMOTE on cue. Occasionally, somebody explodes.

In Mr. Bale's case, he did apologize for his assoholism, and rather convincingly (gets particularly interesting around the 3:50 point where he puts the eruption into context).
posted by philip-random at 9:32 AM on November 20, 2010


Now see, IAmBroom, you are way overreacting, and this is just a post thread. Imagine if it were something important to your entire professional career. I actually think that most people who work in film have a much higher threshold for aggravation, boredom, frustration, physical discomfort, outlandish demands, etc. than most of us. They pretty much have to.
posted by taz at 11:25 AM on November 20, 2010


Ah, right. Not only are childish displays of temper reasonable things to do on-set, but it's true because a superior sort of person works there.

Gotcha.

Fortunately, emergency room nurses and doctors in residency, oil-field workers, firefighters, engineers on behind-schedule programs, and other high-stress, long hour, cooperative-effort jobs don't have those pressures. They certainly aren't capable of meeting such near-superhuman demands.

Get over your fine self.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:30 PM on November 20, 2010


But Bale was all surface.

"There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable... I simply am not there."
posted by inconsequentialist at 10:01 AM on November 21, 2010


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