THE STAR OF DISNEY’S NEWSIES IS HOT NEWS!
Name: Christian Bale
Birthday: January 30, 1974
Hometown: Bournemouth, England
Graduate of: Bournemouth School for Boys
Physical stats: Brown hair, brown eyes, 5’11”
First Professional job: A play called Nerd
Pets: 3 dogs and 3 cats
Fave food: Indian
Fave movie: Rumblefish
Fave actors: Gary Oldman, Barbara Hershey
“I felt he jumped right off the screen,” says Newsies (and TV’s Dirty Dancing) director Kenny Ortega. “He was real and simple and beautiful.” And who wouldn’t agree? Eighteen-year-old Christian Bale has something everybody’s talking about. Call it charisma, cachet or that plain old “star quality,” but whatever it is, it comes across loud and clear – and we love it!
Christian comes from England and prior to landing the lead in the recent film Newsies, he played a young hero in Henry V. He made his film debut a few years back in Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, in which he played a privileged schoolboy named Jim. Because he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Jim ends up in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Referring back to that memorable movie, Christian laughs: “Everybody thinks I’m a spoiled little English public school boy who’s still about 4’11”!”
Hardly! Now tall and way-handsome, Christian can command the screen, even when he’s kicking up his heels and belting out a tune, as he does in Newsies – a very unexpected venture. “The first time I was told about (the film), I said there’s no way I’ll be in it,” Christian confesses. As an actor only accustomed to acting, he was “very worried” about the dancing and singing he would have to do. But the film’s director helped him to overcome his resistance to musicals, and the next thing Christian knew, he was on a rigorous rehearsal schedule that included singing, dancing, martial arts and dialect study! The end result? According to co-choreographer Peggy Holmes, Christian “takes something that my look staid and conservative on someone else and just breathes life into the movement.”
For his next venture, this fresh British babe (who still resides in England) won’t exactly be doing another light-hearted musical, but he will give a go at a new accent. He spent the spring in Prague, Czechoslovakia, shooting Swing Kids, the story of a group of young Germans on the eve of World War II, and for this flick Christian plays an eager Nazi convert.
When Newsies producer Michael Finnell says, “Christian’s magnetism immediately comes across,” you’d better believe it! If you’ve seen for yourself, you already know. If you haven’t, check it out! Advice for the future: Keep tabs on this guy – He’s headed for the top!