US Magazine (December 1998)

SPOTLIGHT CHRISTIAN BALE

When a sultry woman hits up Christian Bale for a light – and possibly more – at an L.A.pool hall, he simply flicks his Bic and resumes our conversation. And he’s single yet. “I like my privacy,” the 24-year-old actor confesses. Perhaps that’s why Bale has chosen a table at the back – and why he has mainly eschewed commercial Hollywood films for heady fair like 1996’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’.

Bale stays true to form with this month’s ‘Velvet Goldmine’, a groove on the ’70s glam rock scene starring Ewan McGregor. Playing a journalist long intrigued by a David Bowie-esque star, Bale goes on a real gender-bender, enduring hip-huggers and simulating sex with McGregor. “That was surprisingly easy,” says Bale with a wink. “Part of the enjoyment of acting is doing what you would never normally do.”

Born, he says, “on the pig’s snout” of Wales and reared in the small town of Bournemouth, England, Bale caught the showbiz bug at age 6 from his mom, Jenny, who was a circus dancer. “I’d be in a caravan with these beautiful women who would walk around naked except for fishnets and peacock headdresses,” he marvels. “I just loved it.” At 9, he nabbed a Pac-Man cereal commercial; three years later, Steven Spielberg plucked him to star in ‘Empire of the Sun’. Though Bale hasn’t been in any blockbusters, his Internet popularity rivals even Leonardo DiCaprio’s. As his Web fans know, he digs Steve McQueen and techno bands. What they may not know, however, is that when Bale was 12 he fumbled a pass at Drew Barrymore. “She was advanced and I wasn’t,” he says. “I tried to kiss her, and she ran.”

 By John Griffiths.