Christian Bale biography
Christian Bale was born January 30, 1974, in Pembrokeshire, Wales. In 1987 he played the starring role in Empire of the Sun. In 1994, Bale had a supporting role in the film adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic Little Women. Proving his range, Bale played a preppy 1980s serial killer in American Psycho in 2000. He played Batman in Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008).
Born on January 30, 1974, in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Starting his career as a child, Christian Bale has emerged as one of the most versatile actors in the entertainment industry. It seems that performing is in his genes with a mother who was a dancer and a clown and an older sister who was an actress. Even his grandfather was in the business, working as a stunt double for John Wayne on the 1962 film Hatari!
Bale landed his first commercial at the age of nine. Soon after, he was appearing on the London stage with comedian Rowan Atkinson in The Nerd. Steven Spielberg picked Bale out of 4,000 other young actors to play the part of Jim Graham in Empire of the Sun (1987). In the World War II drama, he played a young English boy growing up in China who ends up in a Japanese internment camp.
Bale's remarkable performance won him rave reviews as well as the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture and the National Board of Review's award for Best Juvenile Performance. Only 13 years old at the time, Bale found all of the attention unnerving at times. He was known to excuse himself from an interview to go to the bathroom, and then he would simply leave the building.
On the Big Screen
More parts followed, including a small role in Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of William Shakespeare's Henry V (1989). A few years later, Bale found himself in the musical Newsies (1992). He had signed on to the project about young people who sold newspapers on the street—called newsboys— before the musical numbers were added. A box office dud, the project ended up becoming one of the lowest-grossing films ever made by Walt Disney Pictures.
In 1994, Bale had a supporting role in the film adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic Little Women, starring Winona Ryder as Jo March. He played Ryder's love interest, Theodore "Laurie" Laurence. Soon after this film, Bale tackled another famous literary character, Edward Rosier, in Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady (1996), opposite Nicole Kidman.
Reunited with Kenneth Branagh for A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999), Bale had a more substantial role this time around. He played Demetrius, a young man in love with Hermia (Anna Friel) who does not return his affections and instead is in love with Lysander (Dominic West). In turn, Demetrius is loved by Helena (Calista Flockhart). All sorts of craziness ensue when the four venture into a forest inhabited by faeries.
Proving his range, Bale played a preppy 1980s serial killer in American Psycho (2000), which was based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis. His character, Patrick Bateman, was an investment banker by day and a sadist by night. For the role, Bale physically transformed himself. He developed a chiseled physique, which reflected his character's obsession with his own appearance. Often derided for its violence, the film did raise Bale's profile in Hollywood. He has stood by this controversial movie, telling Entertainment Weekly, "I don't understand anybody who can't find the humor. It's twisted and sick. But it's so ridiculous."
Again working the character from outside in, Bale lost more than 60 pounds for 2004's The Machinist. At times, his diet consisted of only an apple and a latte a day. In the psychological thriller, he played a machine shop worker who is battling insomnia, talking with a seemingly nonexistent co-worker, and quickly dropping weight.
Bale then had to quickly beef up to play the legendary superhero Batman in Batman Begins (2005). He beat out such actors as Jake Gyllenhaal, Joshua Jackson, and Cillian Murphy for the part. Stepping into a role once occupied by George Clooney and Michael Keaton, Bale gave his own unique performance in the dual part of millionaire Bruce Wayne/crime fighter Batman. This re-imagining of the Batman saga proved to be a big box office hit, earning more than $72 million in its first five days.
Continuing to pursue a diverse mix of roles, Bale played an ex-army ranger in Harsh Times (2005) that same year. He also appeared in Terrence Malick's historical drama The New World (2005) as John Rolfe, the husband of Pocahontas. For Rescue Dawn (2006), Bale spent months filming in the jungles of Thailand to portray an American pilot captured during the Vietnam War.
Bale also co-starred opposite Hugh Jackman in The Prestige (2006). The two played magicians who become rivals in London during the late 1800s. Heading to the American West, Bale next starred in his first Western, 3:10 to Yuma (2007). He played a lame, nearly destitute farmer who agrees to take a murderous bank robber (Russell Crowe) to jail in order to win back the respect of his wife and son.
Not one to shy away from the unusual, Bale was one of several actors—including Cate Blanchett and Heath Ledger—to portray folk and rock music legend Bob Dylan in the experimental film I'm Not There (2007). "It shows all of the colors of Dylan and not all pretty colors," explained director and writer Todd Haynes.
Bale and Ledger got a chance to work together on the second installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman saga: The Dark Knight (2008). Sadly, Ledger died in January 2008, just before the film's release. The two had become close during the making of the film and Bale was shocked by Ledger's sudden death. "It takes a long time to accept that someone's gone, when all body and mind are telling you that this is somebody you will know for a great deal of time," Bale said.
"He was something of a kindred spirit to myself ... I hope in a small way that The Dark Knight can be a celebration of his work."
In 2009, Bale stepped into the role of John Connor in the film in the Terminator series, Terminator Salvation. He also starred in the film Public Enemies about mobster John Dillinger. In 2010, Bale received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in The Fighter (2010). Bale teamed up with Christopher Nolan again in 2012, performing in the Nolan's third Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
Outside of acting, Bale prefers to keep his private life under wraps. However, allegations on July 22, 2008, thrust Bale into the spotlight. He was accused of assaulting his mother, Jenny, and sister, Sharon, who called the authorities. He was later released on lack of evidence. That same month, it was reported that Bale had a meltdown on the set of his new film, Terminator Salvation. Audio of the outburst was later released and widely published. Hollywood figures such as Whoopi Goldberg and Ron Howard publicly defended his actions, but his reputation remained marred by the incident.
Bale has been married to independent producer Sibi Blazic since 2000. The couple welcomed their first child together, a daughter, in 2005.