Welshman Christian Bale is one of the most expressive and successful actors in the world. The son of a South African father and an English mother travelled the world at a young age. His family lived in Wales, England and Portugal, among others. As a teenager, Bale also stayed in Bournemouth. There he went to school. But this career ended haplessly. The future superstar dropped out of school when he was only 16 years old. However, this decision soon proved to be the right one.
Bale got into acting very early. At the age of nine, the Welshman appeared in several commercials on television. At the age of twelve, he landed his first leading role in the film Anastasia. A children’s movie followed the film before it caused a great stir internationally just one year later. He got the lead role in Steven Spielberg’s film Empire Of The Sun. That was unusual as nobody outside of Great Britain knew him as an acclaimed actor at the time. The flick turned out to be less than successful, but it laid foundations for an extraordinary career.
It became clear early on that Christian Bale saw himself as a classic method actor. He took this type of acting to the extreme very soon. Like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, or Heath Ledger before him, he lived his roles. In doing so, he often went to his physical limits or even far beyond. For years the Welsh film star’s life revolved around the film, but the big breakthrough did not bring success. The film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis Schocker American Psycho couldn’t change that either. As always, Bale shone as an actor, but the box office didn’t show that. Just before the most crucial role in his life, Bale provided an extreme example of method acting. He starved himself to the bone for his role in The Machinist. The critics highly praised his portrayal, but the big leap forward was yet to come.
Trigger of the Superhero Boom
Warner Brothers commissioned the young and highly talented British director Christopher Nolan to remake Batman. He chose Bale to play the main character. But he still had to put on the almost 30 kilograms that he had lost for The Machinist and at the same time gain muscle mass significantly. The experiment succeeded, Batman Begins was a successful start of a trilogy that changed the cinema world forever. Christopher Nolan’s dark and highly realistic approach to the world of comics sparked a superhero boom that continues in cinemas to this day.
Bale kept switching between prominent mainstream roles and small independent films. In the meantime, his extraordinary achievements have garnered numerous film awards. For The Fighter, he won the Golden Globes in 2011 and won an Oscar for Best-Supporting Actor. He also received other Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for American Hustle, The Big Short, Le Mans 66 and Vice. In 2019 the impersonation of Dick Chaney earned him the second Golden Globe.