Christian Bale rose to stardom with his 2000 movie, American Psycho. Before his role in the Mary Harron-directed film, Bale had begun his career as a teenage star and later mostly appeared in ensemble films. Bale nearly missed out on his role as Patrick Bateman in the film, as Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role despite Harron’s insistence on casting the Dark Knight actor. However, when DiCaprio left the project, the role landed back to Bale.
The Machinist actor’s other release in 2000 was the Samuel L. Jackson-led film, Shaft. Bale played the villainous character, Walter Wade, Jr., a wealthy real estate heir who committed a heinous crime and used his influence to throw away the case. Bale later revealed that he was frustrated while working on Shaft.
Christian Bale Was Frustrated With Shaft For This One Reason
Christian Bale’s Shaft received a warm reception from the audience in theaters and went on to gross $107 million at the box office. However, the Ford v. Ferrari actor was a little dissatisfied working on this film. During an interview with EW in 2000, Bale opened up about his frustration in doing ensemble films like Shaft. The Batman Begins actor was asked how he felt about his breakthrough role in American Psycho. Bale responded to EW:
“It is an important role for me. Rather than being just a part in a film, essentially BEING the film meant an awful lot to me. I’m really enjoying that. Frankly, I found it a little bit frustrating doing ‘Shaft’ because I’m back to being one part in a very big film.”
After his successful performance as a sole leading actor, it was obvious that the Thor: Love and Thunder actor didn’t want to step back into supporting roles. However, his commitment to Shaft preceded the release of American Psycho, and the American Hustle actor fulfilled his obligation to act in the film despite his newfound star status.
About his Shaft role, Bale shared that he was the “bad” bad guy in the film among all the other antagonists. He even shared that his final scene in the film took place on the steps of a courthouse, suggesting that his character couldn’t ultimately evade justice. Some of the Vice actor’s scenes were edited out from the film in favor of other actors, including a fight scene, which highlighted Bale’s issue with ensemble films.
Christian Bale Counted on American Psycho Role, Rejecting Other Roles
Christian Bale was on cloud nine after Mary Harron suggested him for the American Psycho role. However, his excitement was short-lived when the shocking news came that he and director Mary Harron had been replaced by Leonardo DiCaprio and Oliver Stone. However, Bale still carried hope that the role might come back to him. The Amsterdam actor even refused to take up any other roles in the meantime. The Prestige actor shared with EW:
“Everybody around me was like, forget it! You’re getting fixated on this. And I wouldn’t. With any other script that came in, I’d say, ‘Well look, I quite like it but no, because ‘American Psycho’ might come up. I’m not risking it.’ I just refused to admit that it wouldn’t happen.”
Eventually, both DiCaprio and Stone left the project due to creative differences. Harron was hired back as the director, who this time made sure that Bale was cast as the notorious Patrick Bateman. American Psycho grossed $34 million against a $7 million budget and was praised for its theme and Bale’s performance. The film gained a cult following over the years.
Shaft is now available for streaming on Paramount Plus, while American Psycho is now available for streaming on Peacock Premium.