Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer “Jenny” (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. Maybe it’s all in the genes, the artistic talent, or in his role model, his dad’s saying: ‘life should never be boring.’
Christian Bale made it his own way and reached fame by perseverance, talent, and determination, and it’s not like life has been easy on him.
‘I had spent weeks staring at the wall in my house out of depression because of things that had gone wrong and the choices I had made. When I read The Machinist (2004), I just went, “Wow! This is perfect.” I was having dreams about the character and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I felt like this one was going to save my arse, and pull me out of the depressed state I had got into.’
Even though he was really into each and every character he played, Christian Bale confirms: ‘I don’t think I’m like any of the characters I’ve played. They’re all really far from who I am.’ That’s what makes him an actor by all means. He definitely draws a line between himself and the character he plays, as he does for his fellow actors. Unlike most of the actors and performers, he definitely knows that a role is a role and he sets the bar… high. ‘I don’t want to know about the lives of other actors and I don’t want people to know too much about me. If we don’t know about the private lives of other actors, that leaves us as clean slates when it comes to playing characters. That’s the point, they can create these other characters and I can believe them. I think if you’re a good enough actor, that’s the way to longevity in the film business. Keep everybody guessing.’
Even though it all seems all set up for him, Christian Bale confides in destiny and in life’s working in mysterious ways. He trusts instability. For him, that’s the only rule: ‘I’m accustomed to not having any map for my life. I’d be reaching for an Uzi if I knew what was going to happen every day. If anybody tells me I shouldn’t jump, of course all I want to do is jump and show it can be done,’ he states. ‘Life is not stable. There is a great strength that comes from not being shocked or scared by upheavals,’ he also adds.
How did it all start?
His first acting job was a cereal commercial in 1983; amazingly, the next year, he debuted on the West End stage in “The Nerd”. A role in the 1986 NBC mini-seriesAnastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986) caught Steven Spielberg’s eye, leading to Bale’s well-documented role in Empire of the Sun (1987). For the range of emotions he displayed as the star of the war epic, he earned a special award by the National Board of Review for Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor.
By the end of 1999, with the internet revolution, he became popular among the online celebrities. He kicked off 2000 with a lead role in American Psycho (2000), directorMary Harron’s adaptation of the controversial Bret Easton Ellis novel. Later on, he starred in the remake Shaft (2000), Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), the balmy Laurel Canyon (2002), and Reign of Fire (2002), a dragons-and-magic commercial misfire that has its share of defenders.
Two more cult films followed: Equilibrium (2002) and The Machinist (2004), the latter of which gained attention mainly due to Bale’s physical transformation – he dropped a reported 60+ pounds for the role of a lathe operator with a secret that causes him to suffer from insomnia for over a year.
Batman Begins (2005) was his next success, and it was the first chapter in Christopher Nolan’s definitive trilogy that proved a dark-themed narrative could resonate with audiences worldwide.
Anticipation for The Dark Knight (2008) was spun into unexpected heights with the tragic passing of Heath Ledger, whose performance as The Joker became the highlight of the sequel. 2009 and 2010 witnessed his successful movies as well and he also capped his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).