This past Saturday night at the Aero Theater on Montana there was a Christian Bale marathon showing, 3:10 to Yuma, Iâ€™m Not There, Batman Begins, American Psycho, and a surprise appearance (for anyone who could stay awake) from the Machinist. After the first film 3:10 to Yuma was a Q&A with Christian Bale and Director James Mangold. They also, also gave us dinner and plenty coffee. The entire event was $18! How could life get any better?
The Q&A was one of the most interesting Iâ€™ve even seen. From first glance Mangold looked honest, vibrant and fun. He talked with confidence and intelligence. His words of wisdom to wanna-be film makers was â€œkeep it simpleâ€ there is nothing like telling a good story. I could write an entire piece on him, but I will save that for another day, and discuss what everyone probably wants to know about, Bale.
Even with his evasive demeanor, which was a little off putting at first, Bale blew me away. He had his baseball cap pulled down over his eyes and appeared to have no clue of how to hold a microphone. I couldnâ€™t help but think, heâ€™s Christian Bale, where is this awkward man in front of me coming from? Hell! Baleâ€™s a manâ€™s man, ladies man, man about town. Yet when he walked onto the stage, he made a small joke about being afraid only 3 people would show up, and I believed him for some unknown reason. There had to be more to Bale than this quiet, soft spoken, half-faced man in front of me. Then they announced the movies being played, and when the host said American Psycho everyone got a bit too excited and Bale responded by saying, â€œYouâ€™re all sick fucks,â€ and he won me over.
Yet, while warmly answering questions he kept his distance, he appeared to not want to give too much away. When questioned about American Psycho he said he â€œcouldnâ€™t understand why everyone was getting their knickers in a twistâ€ he personally thought it was hilarious, one of the funniest scripts he has ever read. When asked if the rumors were true that he is going to be in the upcoming Terminator film he responded that itâ€™s â€œtrue that itâ€™s rumoredâ€¦[let's] talk about what Iâ€™ve done, not the future.â€ Every time someone asked him about how he prepared for a role, he responded with a vague answer, saying he didnâ€™t know how to put it to words and simply moved on. Although he did warm up a little when someone asked him his favorite film and he responded by saying with a smile â€œBeverly Hills Ninjaâ€¦even better when youâ€™re stoned.â€
He appeared to be very honest. When asked about how he approached his role in Batman Begins and if he had always wanted to play the role, he surprisingly said â€œA lot of people love them [Batman Films] Iâ€™m just not one of those people.â€ He wanted to find something new in them. Someone asked about his Welsh accent and he responded that he was not Welsh, he was only their for a year and a half before he was old enough to even remember. Whenever people say they can hear Welsh in his voice, he thinks to himself, theyâ€™re crazy, there is none, â€œIâ€™m Englishâ€ (yet he did the entire Q&A in an American accent???).
He said he really didnâ€™t care where people thought he was from. It appeared to me that Bale was fixated on the idea that people not see him as a person in real life, but as a character in films. He wanted the freedom to change and not be trapped by the real world version himself. I came to the conclusion that he is not a movie star, heâ€™s an actor. He would not directly answer (although he really did) whether or not he had eaten the snake in Rescue Dawn (he didnâ€™t) because he thought that knowing would take away from the film. He continued to stress the point that part of watching a film is believing what you see, and knowing too much takes away from that. Enjoy the film, and enjoy believing.
Overall I was very impressed by Bale. He seemed to have an almost obsessive quality, one of which Iâ€™m guessing allows him to lose excessive amounts of weight in the Machinist and Rescue Dawn. It is hard to ever know who Christian Bale really is because he is such a chameleon from role to role. He has no desire to change this either. He is an actor truly dedicated to acting. The way he spoke about his career made me believe he loves acting, not fame, and he has done an amazing job of rising to his level and remaining pretty much unknown.
He walked on that stage completely willing to make a fool out of himself. His appearance in life really did not matter because it is able to change at a moments notice, just like he does from role to role. Yet simultaneously he was one of the most honest and open people I have ever seen. He lives in the moment and is not afraid to take risks. In Balesâ€™s own words, â€œThe opportunity to embarrass yourself is a great thrill.â€ He is completely willing to throw himself at anything and fail, which is why he never does.