Christian Bale stands as one of the most revered figures in Hollywood’s constellation of actors. Renowned for his audacious array of roles, this Academy Award winner’s career spans a wide spectrum. Many casual movie enthusiasts may still chiefly associate him with the portrayal of Batman in Christopher Nolan’s iconic The Dark Knight trilogy.
However, it’s worth noting that years prior to donning the famous cape and cowl, Bale portrayed Jesus of Nazareth in an obscure film. This particular role left such an indelible mark on the actor that he found himself grappling with recurring nightmares.
Even Christian Bale Fans Would Be Unaware Of This Film
A considerable number of his admirers might not even be aware of his participation in that role today. Back in 1999, Bale shared the screen with Star Wars actor Pernilla August in the TV movie Mary, Mother of Jesus. As the title implies, the film predominantly presents the narrative of Jesus from the perspective of his mother. Notably, at the time of its broadcast on NBC, Bale had not yet ascended to the status of a household name.
Curiously, Mary, Mother of Jesus marked Christian Bale’s concluding venture before stepping into what numerous fans perceive as his breakthrough character. In less than half a year, he transitioned from portraying Jesus of Nazareth to embodying Patrick Bateman in Mary Harron’s American Psycho. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly that centered on promoting the latter film, Bale shared his experiences, revealing that the role of Jesus left a more emotionally jarring impact on him compared to his portrayal of essentially a serial killer.
“I can’t say I felt queasy once making [American Psycho]… I slept really well. I played Jesus in this TV thing [NBC’s Mary, Mother of Jesus] after doing American Psycho. I had nightmares the whole time like I haven’t had since I was 10 years old. Sitting up in bed, sweating. Stigmata nightmares, those dreams where you think you’re awake. And then suddenly you realize you’re still asleep, and there was blood dripping from the ceiling and hitting my palms and things like that. And I was waking up going ‘Aaaaaahh!’ — rubbing my palms in the middle of the night, heart going. But Patrick Bateman? Nothing.”
Considering the violent essence of American Psycho, it might be unexpected for fans to learn that Bale’s reaction was markedly more intense when reflecting on his time working on Mary, Mother of Jesus.
Christian Bale Wasn’t The First Choice For American Psycho
Within the realm of cinema, legendary roles often become inseparable from the actors who breathe life into them. Yet, hidden away from the spotlight, the film industry’s course can be capricious, leading to actors being replaced due to diverse factors like shifts in the film’s trajectory or unanticipated hurdles. These less-publicized instances of actors being let go from roles add an enigmatic dimension to the fabric of “what might have been” in the cinematic universe.
In a twist of fate, the casting of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho took a surprising detour. The role was initially slated for Christian Bale, but an unforeseen twist led to his unexpected dismissal during the casting phase. Nevertheless, destiny had its own plans, and Bale later found his way back to the project, ultimately delivering a remarkable depiction of the iconic character.
American Psycho is available for streaming on Peacock.