Christian Bale

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. The family lived in different ...

Born on January 30, 1974

Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

Height 1.83m / 6' 0"


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. The family lived in different countries throughout Bale's childhood, including England, Portugal, and the United States. Bale acknowledges the constant change was one of the influences on his career choice.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-series Anastasia: 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.Adjusting to fame and his difficulties with attention (he thought about quitting acting early on), Bale appeared in Kenneth Branagh's 1989 adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V (1989) and starred as Jim Hawkins in a TV movie version of Treasure Island (1990). Bale worked consistently through the 1990s, acting and singing in Newsies (1992), Swing Kids (1993), Little Women (1994), The Portrait of a Lady (1996), The Secret Agent (1996), Metroland (1997), Velvet Goldmine (1998), All the Little Animals (1998), and Le songe d'une nuit d'été (1999). Toward the end of the decade, with the rise of the Internet, Bale found himself becoming one of the most popular online celebrities around, though he, with a couple notable exceptions, maintained a private, tabloid-free mystique.Bale roared into the next decade with a lead role in American Psycho (2000), director Mary Harron's adaptation of the controversial Bret Easton Ellis novel. In the film, Bale played a murderous Wall Street executive obsessed with his own physicality - a trait for which Bale would become a specialist. Subsequently, the 10th Anniversary issue for "Entertainment Weekly" crowned Bale one of the "Top 8 Most Powerful Cult Figures" of the past decade, citing his cult status on the Internet. EW also called Bale one of the "Most Creative People in Entertainment", and "Premiere" lauded him as one of the "Hottest Leading Men Under 30".Bale was truly on the Hollywood radar at this time, and he turned in a range of performances 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.Bale's abilities to transform his body and to disappear into a character influenced the decision to cast him in Batman Begins (2005), the first chapter in Christopher Nolan's definitive trilogy that proved a dark-themed narrative could resonate with audiences worldwide. The film also resurrected a character that had been shelved by Warner Bros. after a series of demising returns, capped off by Batman and Robin's massive commercial and critical failure. A quiet, personal victory for Bale: he accepted the role after the passing of his father in late 2003, an event that caused him to question whether he would continue performing.Bale segued into two indie features in the wake of Batman's phenomenal success: The New World (2005) and Harsh Times (2005). He continued working with respected independent directors in 2006's Rescue Dawn (2006), Werner Herzog's feature version of his earlier, Emmy-nominated documentary, Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997). Leading up to the second Batman film, Bale starred in The Prestige (2006), the remake of 3:10 to Yuma (2007), and a reunion with director Todd Haynes in the experimental Bob Dylan biography, I'm Not There. (2007).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. Bale's graceful statements to the press reminded us of the days of the refined Hollywood star as the second installment exceeded the box-office performance of its predecessor.Bale's next role was the eyebrow-raising decision to take over the role of John Connor in the Schwarzenegger-less Terminator Salvation (2009), followed by a turn as federal agent Melvin Purvis in Michael Mann's Public Enemies (2009). Both films were hits but not the blockbusters they were expected to be.For all his acclaim and box-office triumphs, Bale would earn his first Oscar in 2011 in the wake of The Fighter (2010)'s critical and commercial success. Bale earned the Best Supporting Actor award for his portrayal of Dicky Eklund, brother to and trainer of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg. Bale again showed his ability to reshape his body with another gaunt, skeletal transformation.Bale then turned to another auteur, Yimou Zhang, for the epic Sacrifices of War (2011), in which Bale portrayed a priest trapped in the midst of the Rape of Nanking. Bale earned headlines for his attempt to visit with Chinese civil-rights activist Chen Guangcheng, which was blocked by the Chinese government.Bale capped his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012); in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado tragedy, Bale made a quiet pilgrimage to the state to visit with survivors of the attack that left theatergoers dead and injured. He also starred in the thriller Out of the Furnace (2013) with Crazy Heart (2009) writer/director Scott Cooper, and the drama-comedy American Hustle (2013), reuniting with David O. Russell.Bale will re-team with The New World (2005) director Terrence Malick for two upcoming projects: Knight of Cups (2015) and an as-yet-untitled drama.In his personal life, he devotes time to charities including Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Foundation. He lives with his wife, Sibi Blazic, and their daughter, Emmeline.Read More

Known For


Often portrays obsessive and detached or loner characters

Often gains or loses weight for particular roles such as gaining muscle for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Trilogy, losing weight for The Machinist (2004) and The Fighter (2010), as well as gaining fat for American Hustle (2013)

Remains in character almost constantly during the filming process even going so far as to conduct interviews using whatever accent he is using for that particular film.

Intense physical and mental commitment to his roles

Fluent American accent

Chameleon-like changes of appearance for different roles

Often stars in period films or plays historical figures

Frequently works with directors Christopher Nolan, Terrence Malick and David O. Russell


Hand-picked by director/writer Mary Harron and author Bret Easton Ellis to star in American Psycho (2000). Consequently, was noted by the media as the first star of American Psycho (2000), only to lose the role to Leonardo DiCaprio and then win it back again.

His first on-screen role was in 1983 at age 9 in a British commercial for Pac-Man cereal.

His grandfather doubled for John Wayne in two movies, in Africa.

Christian is active in many organizations, including Ark Trust, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Foundation, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the Redwings Sanctuary, and the Happy Child Mission, and a school for street kids in Rio De Janeiro.

A devoted animal lover, Christian has two dogs [Mojo and Ramone] and three cats [Miriam, Molly and Lilly], which are all strays that he found.

His father, David Bale, married feminist icon Gloria Steinem on September 3, 2000.

Bale was handpicked by Winona Ryder for the coveted role of Laurie (Theodore Laurence) in Little Women (1994).

He has an uncanny ear for accents.

He trained for 10 weeks in dancing and martial arts for the dance sequences in Newsies (1992) and Swing Kids (1993).

Is an excellent horseman and an avid reader.


[interview in Spin magazine, March 1996] An actor should never be larger than the film he's in.

[on his transformation into Patrick Bateman for American Psycho (2000)] The character is so vain and obsessed with his looks. While the psychology of the character was something that I could perform, you can't fake the physicality. Being English, I tend to enjoy going down to the pub far more than going to the gym, so it was very unnatural for me. I just had to convince myself that I loved it, which was the most difficult thing about playing this part. Working out is incredibly boring. I swear it's true that the bigger your muscles get, the fewer brain cells you have. I found I had to stop thinking when I was in the gym because if I thought about it, I'd realize how ridiculous it was that I was pumping iron when I could've been out having a drink and a cigarette and enjoying some lunch. I did three hours a day for six weeks with a personal trainer and some time before that. I ate an awful lot during training and then almost nothing during filming.

It's the actors who are prepared to make fools of themselves who are usually the ones who come to mean something to the audience.

I'd love to remain a secret and still work, but I also want people to see the movies I'm in and get a higher profile because of that. I like to think that as long as you continue choosing diverse roles, you can avoid becoming predictable.

I always like that. Whenever there's a project where everyone's going, "Oooooh, it's a bit dodgy", I always like it. If you actually look at it, there tends not to be anything risky at all. Why did I start acting in the first place? I didn't do it to be mediocre or to please everybody all the time.

[on his 63-pound weight loss for The Machinist (2004)] I had a stupid kind of feeling of invincibility, like, "I can do it, I can manage it." I really did feel like I hit this point of enlightenment.

I started my career without fans.

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.

[on the sudden fame that resulted after Empire of the Sun (1987)] I enjoyed making the film, but I was shocked when I received all the attention when I got home to Bournemouth. Girls were all over me, boys wanted to fight me, and I was being asked to open local fêtes when all I wanted to do was ride my BMX bike in the woods. I told my parents I wasn't interested in doing anything again because the attention ruined it.

[on dealing with the resulting media attention of Empire of the Sun (1987) at age 13] It was horrific. I was almost crying in interviews and running away during press conferences, pretending I was going to the bathroom and just disappearing.


American Psycho  American Psycho  $ 1,000,000
The Dark Knight Rises  The Dark Knight Rises  $ 15,000,000
Terminator Salvation  Terminator Salvation  $ 8,000,000 + % gross
Batman Begins  Batman Begins  $ 9,000,000
The Machinist  The Machinist  $ 250,000


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