But Bale’s work behind the scenes would later both impress and terrify his Hard Times director.
Christian Bale prefers to stay in character between scenes
Bale has a reputation of taking his craft very seriously when on set. It’s a dedication that’s impressed both his fans and co-stars alike. But apart from his work, actors have also complimented the Batman Begins star on his personality. Bale’s American Hustle co-star, Bradley Cooper, recalled having more than a good time with him.
“It’s usually hard to meet your heroes; there’s a fear they won’t live up to your hopes. But he far exceeded my expectations. He’s giving and natural, and someone who loves to laugh,” Bradley Cooper once said about him to Variety.
Meanwhile, Bale’s other American Hustle co-star Amy Adams opened up about how funny Bale was. At the time, Bale acknowledged the perception of him being a more serious actor. But part of the reason for this common perception was due to how Bale preferred to stay in character while filming.
“I tend to stay in character between scenes … to be rather serious on set, but here’s why, and I think people will find it surprising. I’m one of the worst ‘corpses’ on a movie set, which means you can’t keep a straight face. You start to get the giggles and you can’t stop. I never want to step out of a scene and be objective, because as soon as I do, I find it hilarious,” the actor explained.
Watching Christian Bale’s method-acting for ‘Hard Times’ was a frightening experience for David Ayer
Bale would eventually end up being in Ayer’s 2006 movie Hard Times. The gritty crime drama followed Bale playing a war veteran who’s determined to police the streets of Los Angeles. The Terminator Salvation actor first caught Ayer’s attention thanks to Training Day.
“He came in and auditioned for Training Day and, obviously, didn’t get it, but he wanted to read anything that I had written, so I [gave] him [the Harsh Times script] and he fell in love with it,” Ayer once told NYC Movie Guru. “He decided that he was going to play that part no matter what. His career obviously took off in the intervening years and I got him right off Batman Begins. This is the first movie he did after [that movie].”
While working with Bale, Ayer was another one impressed by the actor’s level of method acting. But he also admitted to being a bit scared of the transformation as well.
“He was basically in character the whole shoot,” Ayer said in a 2007 interview with the LA Times. “I know he took it home with him, and it didn’t make the wife too happy. The final shot, we wrap and, all of a sudden, it’s Christian Bale again. I realized the guy I thought I was hanging out with for the past month-plus didn’t exist. It was really weird, shocking, amazing, frightening. Sometimes you get that feeling of like, ‘Hmm. Who’s here? Who is this?’ But I think that’s his gift.”
Christian Bale once found it laughable that his acting was discussed like some gimmick
Aside from staying in character, Bale has been willing to transform his body several times for certain roles. From The Machinist to Vice, Bale has either lost or gained an extreme amount of weight to do his characters justice. But the actor once shared that he didn’t appreciate the way some commented on his methods of preparation.
“To be honest, I find it laughable that it’s considered to be some f****** gimmick — it’s so patronizing. For God’s sake, do people not understand what a pain it is to do? It’s as though it’s some comment about, ‘Oh it’s easy for him, because he’s done it a bunch of times.’ It’s not easy, it’s not fun — it’s horrible,” Bale once told Empire (via New Castle Herald).