Transforming Himself For Roles Has Been Actor Christian Bale’s Calling Card

Oscar winner Christian Bale is known for physically disappearing into his roles and has gained and lost roughly 300 pounds over the course of his career. He doesn’t always transform for a role, but when he does, he’s unrecognizable. In 2000, the 48-year-old Welsh actor played homicidal yuppie Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, which required him to hit the gym and develop a set of 6-pack abs that would make any bodybuilder jealous. On the flip side, the only shape Bale thought of when playing former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney in the 2018 movie Vice was round. For the role, Bale had to put on 40 pounds and endure hours in the makeup chair getting extra padding. For the 2004 thriller The Machinist, Bale admitted that if he were any thinner, he wouldn’t exist. Achieving a 63-pound weight loss — a third of his body weight — left Bale’s ribs protruding, his eyes sunken, and his emotions dulled. He reached his goal by starving himself with a diet of black coffee, an apple, and one can of tuna a day, plus vitamins and mineral supplements. To play the role of Irving Rosenfeld in the 2013 film American Hustle, Bale once again packed on the pounds, going from a svelte 185 pounds up to 228 pounds by chowing down on bacon-egg-and-bagel sandwiches, cheeseburgers, donuts, and “whatever I could get my hands on.” Bale’s dedication has never waned, whether’s he’s bulking up, slimming down, or just plain old disappearing into a role, as the best actors tend to do.

American Psycho

The Machinist

As Dick Cheney in Vice

American Hustle