Christian Bale famously goes all in when it comes to the roles he takes and his commitment to them. Nearly 14 years ago, the actor dropped a shocking number of pounds to play factory worker Trevor Reznik in The Machinist before starring in Batman Begins, where he added on an impressive amount of muscle to take on the role of the crimefighter. These wild swings in weight are just a matter of course for the actor, but he has some surprising views about the effect the dramatic weight loss had on him.
Part of Bale’s reasoning behind his physical transformations lie in his dedication to diving deep into his acting. In a 2018 interview with the Guardian, Bale admitted that he relies on physically transforming himself as a way to get into character. “It’s helpful not to look like yourself. If I look in the mirror and go, ‘Ah, that doesn’t look like me,’ that’s helpful.” Other actors are able to throw themselves into roles immediately, but Bale struggled to do the same. “I find I start laughing because I’m too aware that it’s still me. So I try to get as distant as possible. Otherwise, I can’t do it.” Thus, the severe metamorphosis.
Christian Bale’s most extreme transformation
For The Machinist, Bale lost an astonishing 60 pounds to play the protagonist, a factory worker suffering from such severe insomnia that both his weight and his mental health begin to suffer. In order to lose that much weight in a relatively short period of time, Bale fasted in an extreme manner.
Surprisingly, he found himself becoming calmer and more “Zen-like” the more weight he lost. “It’s an amazing experience doing that,” he said. “When you’re so skinny that you can hardly walk up a flight of stairs…you’re, like, this being of pure thought. It’s like you’ve abandoned your body.” It can not be stressed enough how unhealthy that is, even when one employs doctors and nutritionists during the process like Bale did.
The total Zen was only temporary
Even with only “two hours sleep,” nothing could “rile” the American Hustle star. There was “no roller coaster of emotions,” Bale explained. The “Zen-like state” didn’t last long after the actor began eating again, however. “As soon as you start putting the food back in your stomach, the roller coaster comes back.” That’s probably for the best. Such extreme fasting is seriously dangerous for one’s health and should never be attempted without consulting a doctor.
Tabloids sometimes target Bale with false rumors, including some about his relationships with his co-stars. Last December, the Globe claimed Matt Damon and Bale hated each other after their time together on the Ford v Ferrari set. A source alleged that the two had very different acting styles, with Damon cracking jokes on set while Bale silently fumed that his costar wasn’t taking the job seriously. Gossip Cop doubted the truth of this story, so we asked a joint spokesperson for both Damon and Bale. They assured us the tabloid’s report was “nonsense.” The publication was just creating a feud out of nothing.