“But guys, you’re going to die!”: Christian Bale Claims His $10M Box-Office Failure That Made Him Eat Maggots Was His Greatest Work Despite Working With Christopher Nolan

Christian Bale Claims His $10M Box-Office Failure That Made Him Eat Maggots Was His Greatest Work Despite Working With Christopher Nolan
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As a highly esteemed professional actor, Christian Bale has time and again committed to roles that are uniquely challenging, extraordinary, and simply mind-blowing. Fans of his filmography are left in utter disbelief when they take into consideration the American Psycho alum’s range—the man can do almost anything! Bale has been in the industry for decades now, having begun his acting journey when he was a child.

Christian Bale is renowned for his roles of Batman and Patrick Bateman
Christian Bale is renowned for his awe-inspiring acting capabilities

Read also: Matt Damon’s Mom Convinced Him To Reject 2006 Christian Bale War Drama To Star In A Major $65M Box Office Bomb That Nearly Tanked His Career

With decades worth of experiences to account for, starting from the plethora of drastically different films he is offered to the array of transformations he has had to go through for every role, it is only fair for the actor to state his opinions on which movie brought him the most satisfaction and joy as an actor.


You’d be in total shock to know the answer given by him—and no, it isn’t the uber-acclaimed Christopher Nolan-spearheaded endeavor, The Dark Knight trilogy, which is considered to be one of Bale’s finest works. Instead, it is Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn, a film that was critically celebrated but tanked at the box office.

Christian Bale Enjoyed Working On Werner Herzog’s Box Office Bomb

Rescue Dawn (2006)
Rescue Dawn (2006)

Rescue Dawn, which is essentially a based-on-a-true-story war drama about German-American aviator Lieutenant Dieter Dengler, did not manage to fare well at the box office. The film was intended as a big-screen adaptation of German director Werner Herzog’s 1997 documentary titled, Little Dieter Needs To Fly. Despite not being dubbed a commercial success, many critics and audiences have expressed their support for the 2006 endeavor.

The war drama, which was initially turned down by Matt Damon upon his mother, Nancy Carlsson-Paige’s advice, subsequently ended up featuring Christian Bale in the physically strenuous and challenging lead role. Undeterred by obstacles that come with embodying such a serious role, the actor recalls having the utmost fun during the shooting of the Herzog film.


In an interview with The Talks, he stated the following:

“I can’t help but immediately think of various experiences with Werner Herzog on Rescue Dawn. With us, Werner included, doing things that everyone was looking at saying, “But guys, you’re going to die! What are you doing? You’re going to really catch a wild snake and maybe get bitten by it!” Those are great times.”

Christian Bale
Christian Bale’s fascination for dangerous roles

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The Vice star emphasized the monumental excitement he felt upon getting to be a part of such an unbelievable experience. The dangers attached to such initiatives, whether physical or mental, are rather gratifying and thrilling to Christian Bale, who claims to like situations where things can be made a “little bit more extreme.”


Furthermore, the actor would be left to suffer from boredom if he didn’t get to work with people who push for such scenarios and agree with his thought process on the matter.

Therefore, despite being an indispensable part of large-scale endeavors such as Christopher Nolan’s highly-celebrated superhero trilogy or much more recently, the MCU, the actor is particularly appreciative of having worked on a small-budget film like Rescue Dawn. 

Christian Bale’s Preference For Smaller Indie Films

In the interview, Bale affirmed that movies often take place in environments that are dishearteningly uninspiring or stale. They tend to be restrictive as they seem to be contained within the studio lot. To him, getting further away from the studio setting is the better alternative. It pushes actors like him to think of the role or the film as a “mission” or an “adventure.” 

Christian Bale
Bale’s hesitation with bigger films

The following reflects Bale’s opinions:

“The further away from the location you get the more you stop making the movie as an answer to other movies. You don’t think of it in a comparison, you’re just doing your own thing, you’re on your own adventure, you’re on your own mission. That’s when I really feel like you start getting into some good, nice, dangerous situations.”

When asked about whether or not doing smaller indie films tend to be more enjoyable due to the aforementioned factors, the actor stated that the problem with bigger movies is the amount of investment involved in cinematic initiatives of such a grand scale. The participation of more people raises the stakes. Bale states that there’s indecision and hesitation because “many more people are involved in what will eventually come out on the screen.”

In the case of small-scale films, the people who are constantly worried about investments tend to be lesser in number. This directly correlates to the influence those people may exert when it comes to pushing the smaller films in a specific direction.


The actor concluded his opinion on the matter by stating, “I feel that with the bigger movies you have to generally sit back and assess it more.”

Rescue Dawn (2006)
Rescue Dawn (2006)

Read also: “I can really nail this character”: Christian Bale Had to Beg Christopher Nolan for $109M Thriller After Believing Director Didn’t Trust Him Beyond Batman

Irrespective of the hurdles that may come in the way of a film’s production, whether it be a small or a big one, the actor has almost always relied on his emotions when it comes to choosing an endeavor. Bale does not consider himself a “movie star”, deeming it nonsensical. He does not enjoy being the center of attention. What he enjoys and admires is the art of acting. This is exactly why he evaluates the “bigger roles” to be just like “other acting jobs.”


The actor’s interest primarily lies in the embodiment of different characters which allows him to put himself in other people’s shoes. This remains a testimony to Christian Bale’s versatility, flexibility, and undeniable love for the craft; the man simply does it all.

Rescue Dawn is available for streaming on Prime Video.

Source: The Talks


Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Articles Published: 659

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.