Over the years, Christian Bale has portrayed a gamut of characters in multiple genres that have showcased his vast acting talent. From playing one of DC’s celebrated superheroes Batman, to impressing audiences with his performance as the homicidal investment banker in American Psycho, Bale has proved that no role is too challenging for him.
American Psycho in particular, saw The Dark Knight star tap into an unhinged side with his character Patrick Bateman. Speaking of playing a maniacal and unscrupulous killer with no moral compass, Bale revealed that he approached the character and his shocking traits by never visualizing him as someone relatable or real.
Christian Bale On How He Mastered His Role In American Psycho
In 2000, Christian Bale played Patrick Bateman, an investment banker by day and a psychotic killer by night, in Mary Harron’s American Psycho. The Oscar winner’s unhinged and manic performance in the film won him praise from audiences and critics. While Bale’s acting prowess made him seem at ease in the role, there were many aspects of the film and the character that could have looked contrived.
In an in-depth chat with Interview Magazine, The Fighter star was asked about how he managed to portray Patrick Bateman and his various fantasies without feeling self-conscious about certain over-the-top traits of the character. In reference to a s*x scene with two prostitutes in which he was seen flexing his arms in front of a video camera, Bale elaborated on his approach and said,
“I never viewed Patrick Bateman as a real character. It wasn’t going to work unless I made myself look absurd. There were so many times in that movie where I had to take that leap, and by the time I did that scene it really didn’t feel like much of a leap at all. It felt very much like just another day on the set of American Psycho.”
The actor’s complete commitment to embracing the exaggerated aspects of his role, enabled him to deliver a powerful performance that is still talked about today.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Loss Was Christian Bale’s Gain
With his brilliant performance, Christian Bale ensured that there is no other actor who could have played Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Interestingly, the British star was not the first choice for this role. The story goes that the film was actually offered to Leonardo DiCaprio. The studio was so keen on the Titanic star doing this film, that they ousted the director Mary Harron, who wanted to cast Bale, from the project.
The Departed star though, turned down the part due to differences with the new director. The studio then reinstated Mary Harron as the director for American Psycho, and she subsequently went back to Bale for the protagonist’s role. The Batman Begins star also acknowledged Leonardo DiCaprio’s talent and expressed his gratitude for letting go of American Psycho, which proved to be one of Bale’s memorable hits at the box office.