- Christian Charles Philip Bale
January 30, 1974 (age 46)
- Sibi Blazic
- David Bale, Jenny James
Christian Charles Philip Bale (born 30 January 1974) is an English actor. He has starred in both blockbuster films and smaller projects from independent producers and art houses.
Bale first caught the public eye at the age of 13, when he was cast in the starring role of Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (1987). Based on the original story by J. G. Ballard, Bale played an English boy who is separated from his parents and subsequently finds himself lost in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. In 2000, he garnered critical acclaim for his portrayal of serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He earned a reputation as a method actor after he lost 63 pounds to play the role of Trevor Reznik in The Machinist (2004).
Bale went on to receive greater commercial recognition and acclaim for his performance as Bruce Wayne / Batman in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins (2005),The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises(2012). He also portrayed Dicky Eklund in the biopic The Fighter (2010), for which he received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. In 2013, he starred in the comedy-drama American Hustle, for which he received his second Academy Award nomination, his first in the Best Actor category, in addition to a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
Bale was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, the son of English mother Jenny (née James), a circus performer, and a South African-born English father, David Bale, an entrepreneur, commercial pilot, and talent manager. Bale has three sisters.
Bale has stated, "I was born in Wales but I'm not Welsh – I'm English". He spent his childhood in Wales, Surrey and Dorset in England, and Portugal. He attended Bournemouth School, but left at age 16.
His parents divorced in 1991, and while his mother and sister Sharon stayed in Bournemouth, he moved with his father to Los Angeles, California at age seventeen. He has not spoken to Sharon since she had him arrested without charge after he allegedly ranted at her at The Dorchester hotel in 2008. His first acting role was a commercial for the fabric softener Lenor in 1982. A year later, he appeared in a Pac-Man cereal commercial playing a child rock star. In 1984, he made his stage debut in The Nerd on London's West End with Rowan Atkinson.
Bale made his film debut as Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia in the made-for-television film Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna in 1986, which was followed by leading roles in the miniseries Heart of the Country and the fantasy adventure Mio in the Land of Faraway, in which he appeared with Christopher Lee and Nick Pickard.
His performance as Jim Graham in Empire of the Sun earned him widespread critical praise and the first ever "Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor" award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. The attention the press and his schoolmates lavished upon him after this took a toll on Bale, and he contemplated giving up acting until Kenneth Branagh approached him and persuaded him to appear in Henry V in 1989. In 1990, he played the role of Jim Hawkins opposite Charlton Heston (as Long John Silver) in Treasure Island, an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic book.
After a year's hiatus, Bale returned in 2004 to play Trevor Reznik, the title character in the psychological thriller The Machinist. Bale gained attention for his devotion to the role and for the lengths to which he went to achieve Reznik's emaciated, skeletal appearance. He went without proper rest for prolonged periods, and placed himself on a crash diet of generally coffee and apples, which reduced his weight by 63 pounds (4 st 4 lb or 27 kg) in a matter of months.
By the end of filming Bale weighed only 121 pounds (8 st 9 lb or 55 kg), a transformation he described as "very calming mentally" which drew comparisons to Robert De Niro's alternate weight-gaining regimen for his role as Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film Raging Bull. Bale claimed that he had not worked for a period of time before he was cast in the film. "[...I] just hadn't found scripts that I'd really been interested in. So I was really dying for something to arrive. Then when this one did, I just didn't want to put it down. I finished it and, upon the kind of revelation that you get at the end, I immediately wanted to go back and re-visit it, to take a look at what clues I could have gotten throughout". The Machinist was a low-budget production, costing roughly US$5 million to produce, and was given only a limited US release. It was well received, with the review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 77% of the critics' reviews tallied were positive.
It was reported that Bale had previously auditioned for the role of Robin in Batman Forever (1995) and later Batman and Robin (1997), but lost out to Chris O'Donnell. However, this rumour was later dispelled by Bale himself in a magazine interview in 2008. In 2004, after completing filming for The Machinist, Bale won the lead role of Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, are boot of the Batman film series. Bale beat out Jake Gyllenhaal, his closest competitor for the role.
Still fresh off The Machinist, it became necessary for Bale to bulk up to match Batman's muscular physique. He was given a deadline of six months to do this. Bale recalled it as far from a simple accomplishment: "...when it actually came to building muscle, I was useless. I couldn't do one push up the first day. All of the muscles were gone, so I had a real tough time rebuilding all of that." With the help of apersonal trainer, Bale succeeded in meeting the deadline, gaining a total of 100 lb (45 kg) in six months. He went from about 130 lbs to 230 lbs. He discovered that he had actually gained more weight than the director desired, and dropped his weight to 190 lbs by the time filming began.
Bale had initial concerns about playing Batman, as he felt more ridiculous than intimidating in the Batsuit. He dealt with this by depicting Batman as a savage beast. To attain a deeper understanding of the character, Bale read various Batman comic books. He explained his interpretation of the young boy: "Batman is his hidden, demonic rage-filled side. The creature Batman creates is an absolutely sincere creature and one that he has to control but does so in a very haphazard way. He's capable of enacting violence — and to kill — so he's constantly having to rein himself in." For Bale, the most gruelling part about playing Batman was the suit. "You stick it on, you get hot, you sweat and you get a headache in the mask ... But I'm not going to bitch about it because I get to play Batman", he said. When promoting the film in interviews and public events, Bale retained an American accent to avoid confusion.
Batman Begins was released in the U.S. on 15 June 2005 and was a U.S. and international triumph for Warner Bros., costing approximately US$135 million to produce and taking in over US$370 million in returns worldwide. Bale's performance was well received by critics and fans alike, earning him the Saturn Award for Best Actor and the Best Hero award at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards.
Bale reprised the role of Batman in the sequel The Dark Knight. He trained in the Keysi Fighting Method, and performed many of his own stunts. The Dark Knight was released in the U.S. on 18 July 2008 and stormed through the box office, with a record-breaking $158.4 million in the U.S. in its first weekend. It broke the $300 million barrier in 10 days, the $400 million mark in 18 days and the $500 million mark in 43 days, three new U.S. box office records set by the film. The film went on to gross over $1 billion at the box office worldwide, making it the fourth-highest grossing movie worldwide ever at that time, before adjusting for inflation.
He reprised the role again for the second sequel and final installment of the series, The Dark Knight Rises, released on 20 July 2012, which made Bale the longest-lasting actor to portray Batman on film to date. Following the shooting at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, he visited survivors in an Aurora, Colorado hospital. The film garnered further critical praise and financial achievement, earning more than $1 billion worldwide. Currently, the film is the tenth highest-grossing film worldwide unadjusted for inflation and the third highest-grossing film released in 2012, as well as the most financially successful movie in which Bale has starred.
On 29 January 2000, Bale married Sandra "Sibi" Blažić (born 1970), a former model, make-up artist, and personal assistant to actress Winona Ryder; the couple have a daughter born in 2005 and a son born in August 2014. Since 1992, the Bales have resided in Los Angeles, California.