“I have a fear of being boring.” – Christian Bale
An actor with a cult following, Christian Bale has been described as one of the most versatile and talented actors of his generation. Perhaps most recognizable for his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy, Bale infuses each role with a searing intensity that leaves a lasting impression.
Here are a few facts you might know about reluctant sex symbol Christian Bale.
Christian Bale Facts
48. Not a Welsher
Bale was born in Wales but insists that he is not Welsh, but English. We’re sure the Welsh are huge fans of that.
47. Flying Circus
Bale’s father, David, was a former commercial pilot and his mother, Jenny, was a circus performer. So, in their own way, both of his parents made it to the top.
46. The Barta System
Because his mother was in the circus, Bale’s first kiss was with an acrobat named Barta. Good thing his mother didn’t work for the zoo.
45. Oh Sheet
Bale’s first acting role was in a 1982 commercial for fabric softener Lenor, which is ironic, considering people later found working with him to be so hard.
44. Ghost of Breakfast Past
In 1983, he played a child rock star in a commercial for Pac-Man cereal which provided 8 essential vitamins and iron which is just 5 shy of how many are required for actual bodily function.
43. The Unbearable Lightness of Bean
Bale made his stage debut in 1984 in the West End play “The Nerd,” opposite Rowan Atkinson.
42. Mad Love
He admitted that he had a crush on a twelve-year old Drew Barrymore when she visited her godfather Steven Spielberg on the set of Empire of the Sun. Don’t worry, he was thirteen.
41. As Seen on TV
Bale’s film debut was in the made-for-TV movie Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna in 1986. Maddeningly, the mystery of Anna is actually never solved due to Russian interference.
40. A New Dawn
More than 4,000 kids auditioned for the role of Jim Graham in Empire of the Sun but Steven Spielberg chose Bale for the role, which wound up being his big screen debut.
39. Smells Like Teen Spirit
Bale starred in the musical films Newsies and Swing Kids, the latter being a film about teenagers who secretly listened to forbidden jazz during the rise of Nazi Germany and the former being a film that Bale has a well-documented hatred for. Seriously, how can Bale regret being in Newsies when he was in Reign of Fire?
38. It’s Nazi Enough!
Steven Spielberg would visit Bale on the Newsies set because he was also in Germany at the time filming Schindler’s List. Apparently, Spielberg just couldn’t get enough of the Nazis.
37. Blazic Saddled
Bale met his wife, Sandra ‘Sibi’ Blazic, through Winona Ryder. His wife was Ryder’s former personal assistant.
36. A Sinking Feeling
He auditioned for the role of Jack in Titanic and only narrowly lost it to Leonardo DiCaprio.
35. Bale Bucket
Bale also auditioned for the role of Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl but lost that role to Orlando Bloom. For some reason, nobody wants to let Bale get near a boat.
34. Son of a Beach!
Bale was hand-picked by Bret Easton Ellis to play the lead role of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, temporarily lost the role to Leonard DiCaprio, and then won it back again after DiCaprio left to go film The Beach.
He was warned that taking the lead role in American Psycho would be career suicide, but he went ahead anyway. In fact, it made him more eager because, as Roger Ebert said about his performance, he has “no instinct for self-preservation here, and that is one mark of a good actor.”
32. Despite All His Rage
For his performance as Patrick Bateman, he took inspiration from Nicolas Cage (of all people), looking specifically at Cage’s performance in 1988’s Vampire King. Nicolas Cage, of course, is an actual vampire who has been with us since the Civil War, if not longer. It’s real. Google it.
Bale almost won the role of James Bond in the film Casino Royale but lost it to Daniel Craig. It’s probably a good thing, because knowing Bale and his need to be totally committed, the scene where Bond gets repeatedly hit in the sack by the villains would have been even more uncomfortable.
30. Bringer of Death
In the film Equilibrium, Bale plays John Preston, an elite law enforcer in a dystopian society, who according to moviebodycounts.com, has the third highest on-screen kills in a single movie ever at 118.
29. An Apple a Day
To play the role of Trevor Reznik in The Machinist, Bale lost 63 pounds, doing so by eating one can of tuna and a single apple per day. He took up smoking to help curb his appetite during the crash diet. So unhealthy rapid weight loss AND cancer. That’s commitment.
28. Goal Weight
Fresh off The Machinist, Bale gained 100 pounds in six months to be able to play a muscular Batman in Batman Begins and then hid most of it under a big suit.
27. Yo-Yo Master
He actually holds the record for most weight lost and most weight gained for film roles.
26. 90% Perspiration
Bale is only the second actor, after Michael Keaton, to play Batman in more than one live action movie. Apparently, not everyone can handle that hot, sweaty suit.
25. Cricket Bat
Bale is also the first non-American actor to put on the Batman suit, and, we’ve gotta say, it was quite refreshing.
Bale performed all his stunts himself, however, he was not allowed anywhere near the Batmobile, probably because he was British and used to driving on the other side of the road.
Bale was close friends with Heath Ledger, forming a friendship after they both played Bob Dylan in the 2007 film I’m Not There and renewing that friendship during their time together on The Dark Knight.
22. Off Ledger
Bale was never happy with his performance in the Dark Knight trilogy, feeling that he failed to properly convey the twisted nature of Batman. “Heath turned up, and just kind of completely ruined all my plans,” Bale said. “Because I went, ‘He’s so much more interesting than me and what I’m doing.’” Story checks out.
21. Dark Night
After Ledger’s tragic death, Bale was despondent for weeks, shunning the press, and being conspicuously absent from the mountains of celebrity tributes. “For me, grief is a private thing,” he said. “Something you don’t discuss in public. My only memories are of what a great talent he was.”
20. Bale Saves the Whales
Also a staunch environmentalist, Bale actively supports environmental groups such as Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the last of which sounds like a society devoted to the conservation of sea sheep.
19. Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions
Bale is the stepson of famous feminist Gloria Steinem. Given that, you’d think he’d have known better than to yell at his mom and sister.
18. An Ocean Divides Him
When he does interviews, Bale says that he will use an American accent if he’s playing an American and a British accent if he’s playing a Brit so that audiences don’t get confused. Sure Christian. So the “audience” doesn’t get confused.
17. Yes, He has Fans
His fans refer to themselves as “Baleheads.” Cool.
16. Motherly Affection
Bale considers it a great honor to have been referred to as a “mofo” by Samuel L. Jackson. Honestly, it’s our dream too.
15. Hasta La Vista
Bale was as huge fan of the Terminator films long before he was actually cast as John Connor in Terminator: Salvation.
14. Off Track
Bale loves riding motorcycles but gave up track racing after multiple accidents that left him with a multitude of injuries that required a steel plate in his wrist, a titanium clavicle, and 25 screws for his hand. His also lost the tip of his finger, but it was reattached. If Roger Ebert were to review his riding skills, it might go something like, “he has no instinct for self-preservation here, and that is the mark of a terrible motorcyclist.”
13. Oh, Gooooood For You
The recording of the incident inspired several songs including “R U Professional” from experimental band The Mae Shi and “Bale Out” from Lucian Piane. It also inspired several parodies, including a skit on The Colbert Report in which guest Steve Martin repeatedly walked in front of the camera and was berated by Colbert.
12. Cracking Down
Bale lost 30 pounds for the role of drug-addicted boxer Dicky Eklund in The Fighter.
11. Golden Gloves
During the Golden Globes awards ceremony when Bale was accepting his award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Fighter, Bale complimented Robert De Niro by saying he was “the $h*t.” This comment was censored by NBC. And yet it still aired two seasons of Whitney.
10. Asian Dissuasion
In 2011, while filming The Flowers of War, Bale and a CNN crew attempted to visit Chen Guangcheng, a blind “barefoot lawyer” under unofficial house arrest for his activism against China’s One Child Policy. While on camera, Bale was punched, shoved, and denied access by dozens of Chinese security guards who failed to recognize him. Although we suspect some of them just claimed they didn’t recognize him but secretly just really wanted to punch Christian Bale.
Christian Bale in The Flowers of War.
9. Jersey Cow
To play the role of New Jersey con man Irving Rosenfeld, the lead character in American Hustle, Bale gained 43 pounds, shaved his head to achieve a realistic comb over, and affected a slouch to shorten his height by 3 inches which resulted in a herniated disc. We truly believe that if Christian Bale was ever cast as a Transformer, he would find a way to turn himself into a car.
8. He’s a Decepticon
Due to the physical transformation, Robert De Niro, who had a cameo role in the film, reportedly did not recognize Bale when they were introduced because, like De Niro, when it comes to physical transformations, Bale is next level.
7. Bible Studies
To prepare for his role as Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings, he delved into scripture and literature reading the first five books of the Bible, the Quran, as well as Louis Ginzberg’s classic “Legends of the Jews” and Jonathan Kirsch’s “Moses, A Life.”
6. Fund Times!
In 2015, Bale starred in Adam McKay’s biopic about the 2007-08 financial crisis, The Big Short, in which he played Michael Burry, a neurologist turned hedge fund manager with Asperger syndrome.
5. Bale Out
Bale was set to play famed auto sport legend Enzo Ferrari in an untitled biopic directed by Michael Mann, but had to drop out after health concerns over the weight gain necessary to play the iconic carmaker, which begs the question: Just how fat was Enzo Ferrari that even Christian Bale couldn’t play him?
4. He Bought a Zoo
A devoted animal lover, Bale owns five pets (two dogs and three cats) all of whom were strays that he found and took in.
3. Family Dispute
In 2008, Bale was apprehended in London in connection with an alleged assault on his mother, Jenny, and his sister, Sharon at the Dorchester hotel. After being held for four hours, he was released on bail and eventually the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence… perhaps because Batman knows how to hide evidence.
2. Anger Management
He was involved in an infamous incident where he was recorded while he was verbally assaulting cinematographer Shane Hurlbut on the Terminator: Salvation set for interrupting him during an intense scene. Bale since apologized, but the incident was widely distributed all over the Internet and it was the most times Bale was referred to as a psycho since American Psycho.
1. Hitting the Pipe
He is an avid fan of videogames and cites Super Mario Bros. as one of his favorites growing up. We bet he was super inspired by Mario’s constant fluctuations in size.