Since starring in Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" as a teenager over 25 years ago, Christian Bale has seemingly done it all.
The method actor has played the iconic Patrick Bateman in "American Psycho" and re-energized the beloved Batman with Christopher Nolan. He's become almost deathly thin for some films, like "The Machinist," and added dozens of pounds for others, like "American Hustle." With an Oscar under his belt for "The Fighter," Bale hardly has to prove he's more than just a blockbuster star. One of the best actors of his generation, he's now back on the indie scene in the dramatic "Out of the Furnace," opening this Friday, December 6.
"Out of the Furnace," Scott Cooper's follow-up to 2009's award-winning "Crazy Heart," stars Bale in a contemporary tale of heartbreak set against the backdrop of the Rust Belt. Bale plays Russell Baze, a mill worker in a dying Pennsylvania town who will stop at nothing to find his missing brother (Casey Affleck) and get revenge against those responsible for his disappearance.
While you've seen Bale don the Batman costume and perhaps have heard a thing or two about his fiery personality, there is still much to know about the multitalented star. From his early roles in Pac-Man commercials to his weird connection with George W. Bush, here are 20 things you probably don't know about Christian Bale.
1. He was always very ambitious about attending drama school, even auditioning for and getting accepted to several prestigious schools, but his parents encouraged him to continue to work instead. As evidenced by his hefty filmography, Bale decided to keep working, though he still regrets not attending the schools due to his love of the craft.
2. At the age of eight, Bale landed his first on-screen role in a commercial for the fabric softener Lenor. A year later, he appeared in a British commercial for Pac-Man cereal.
3. He dropped 63 pounds for his role in "The Machinist" (2004), a body transformation that caught the eye of "Batman Begins" director Christopher Nolan. To lose the weight, Bale ate salads and apples, chewed gum, and smoked cigarettes.
4. Bale's father was a commercial pilot, resulting in the family living in different countries around the world. Bale acknowledges that this constant moving was a major influence on his career choice.
5. When playing an American character, Bale will give all his press interviews in an American accent in order to not confuse the audience.
6. Bale met his wife through Winona Ryder; his wife, Sibi, was Ryder's personal assistant at the time.
7. He was the first non-American actor to play Batman/Bruce Wayne.
8. In 1984, he made his stage debut opposite Rowan Atkinson in the West End production "The Nerd." Bale was only 10 years old.
9. He has appeared in two films that depict the John Smith/Pocahontas story. He voiced a role in Disney's "Pocahontas" (1995) and portrayed John Rolfe in Terrence Malick's "The New World" (2005).
10. When Bale was shooting "Batman Begins," the nameplate on his trailer read "Bruce Wayne" rather than the actor's real name, the norm in the industry.
11. For the film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's "The Rules of Attraction," Bale was offered the opportunity to reprise the role of Patrick Bateman, but he (wisely) turned it down.
12. Bale has resided in Los Angeles since 1992, when he moved to the city with his father following his parents' divorce.
13. When discussing the 2007 western remake "3:10 to Yuma," Bale revealed that he enjoys doing movies where he can get filthy. "I kind of like movies where I just get to just be dirty," he's quoted as saying. "Westerns are meant to be dirty, they shouldn't be all nice and clean. And I like getting my hands dirty."
14. It has been confirmed that Bale will be portraying Moses in Ridley Scott's upcoming biblical epic, "Exodus." The film is slated for a December 2014 release.
15. Believe it or not, Bale was originally cast to play George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's biopic "W." -- even spending months learning the former president's mannerisms -- but ultimately dropped out due to issues with the prosthetics involved.
16. Bale's mother was a circus performer.
17. After his breakout performance in "Empire of the Sun," Bale considered stepping away from acting. Although the film generated significant praise for Bale, it also drew much unwanted attention to the young and private actor.
18. Directly following his insane weight loss for "The Machinist," Bale was cast in "Batman Begins" and given six months to not only regain his normal weight, but also add significant muscle to match Batman's fit physique. Incredibly, Bale gained 100 pounds during that time, bringing his weight up to 230 pounds. But he apparently overdid it, because Nolan asked him to lean down to 190 pounds for the iconic role.
19. His stepmother is distinguished feminist Gloria Steinem, who married Bale's father in 2000. It was Steinem's first marriage. Sadly, Bale's father passed away in 2003.
20. Bale's first Batsuit was so tight on the recently bulked-up actor that he nearly had a nervous breakdown. After speaking to Nolan, the Batsuit was adjusted -- all 110 parts of the costume -- to better fit Bale.
[Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, Comingsoon.net]