In other movies, however, he's practically unrecognizable, whether it's because he's subsisting on a supermodel diet, tanned and toned beyond belief, or playing a journalist trapped in a 'Velvet Goldmine.'
In honor of the brand new trailer for 'The Fighter,' let's check out some of Bale's most bizarre looks. Because if it's good enough for every woman who walks the red carpet, it's good enough for Batman, dammit.
1. 'The Fighter'
As Dickie Eklund, the half-brother of boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg), he's practically unrecognizable as a wiry, drugged-out loose cannon with slicked back hair, a bald spot, and bad teeth. Knowing Bale's commitment to the craft, he probably skipped the makeup artist and just got his head waxed in a reverse tonsure.
2. 'The Machinist'
This is probably Bale's most disturbing transformation. It was reported that he lost 63 pounds for the movie, whittling down his normal weight of about 185 pounds to that of a teenage girl (although not quite a catwalk model). Bale looks beyond sickly; he looks like he's knocking on death's door. Trying to gain the weight back in time to convince producers he was able to fight crime as the Caped Crusader was no picnic either; although he literally made himself sick, he said, "In doing so I overdid it because I was enjoying gorging... I got very sick during that time but I enjoyed getting sick. I didn't mind it at all." Well, then.
3. 'Rescue Dawn'
In Werner Herzog's remake of his own doc 'Little Dieter Needs to Fly,' Bale plays Dieter Dengler, a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Naturally, he and the rest of the cast who played POWs lost quite a bit of weight as well. Since they lose weight over time, Herzog actually filmed the scenes in reverse. In one interview, Herzog explained, "It takes you five or six months to lose weight but you gain it back in two or four weeks. We could have done it the other way around, but then we would have needed five or six months of shooting, and we only had 44 days. And while you are working, he would have to keep starving, starving, starving, until at the end he was very thin." I guess those maggots weren't all that filling, after all.
4. 'American Psycho'
While Bale looks tanned and cut as Wall Street maniac Patrick Bateman, he definitely looked pretty sick wearing a plastic rain slicker covered in blood and wielding a chainsaw. Nail guns, fire, axes, feeding an ATM a cat. It's all in a day's work for Bateman. He's not ugly on the outside, but man, he is one gnarly mofo on the inside. And isn't that where it counts?
5. 'Velvet Goldmine'
Let's be frank. It's hard to find too many photos of Bale looking anything but hot. He might look "freaky" in 'Velvet Goldmine,' but I think he looks fabulous wrapped in a blue boa snuggled up to director Todd Haynes. Your mileage may vary, but I'll take Bale in blue eye shadow and glitter over a guy who could fit in my jeans twice over any day.
[Edit: Todd Haynes was incorrectly identified as Eddie Izzard.]