Calgary Sun (July 17th, 2002)

BATMAN OUT ON BALE?

Christian Bale thought he had his hands full battling dragons in the futuristic thriller Reign of Fire. If all the planets align in his favour, Bale could soon be tangling with Superman. The buzz in Hollywood is that Bale is the front runner to play Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman in the new Warner Bros. epic Batman vs. Superman. For his part, Bale is playing coy and won’t even confirm he’s taken meetings.

“I have nothing definite coming up at the moment. No contracts have been signed,” is his mantra.

Batman vs. Superman would put Bale in his third fantasy world in a row.

In Reign of Fire, Bale, 28, and Matthew McConaughay battle an infestation of dragons that are threatening mankind.

Just weeks before flying to Ireland to film his dragon battles last year, Bale completed Equilibrium in which he plays a futuristic cop whose job it is to make certain there are no passions in his sterile new society.

“Equilibrium tips its hat to books (and movies) like Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World but it’s very much an action thriller.

“Because my character is such a bully, I really bulked up for the role. Since there was a food crisis in the future in Reign of Fire, I thought I’d better skinny down.”

The moment he arrived in Ireland and met McConaughey, Bale did a complete about-face.

“Matthew was in full warrior mode. The story requires my character to fight him so I had to look as though I could do that physically.”

In a month, Bale was on his way to looking like the fitness-obsessed serial killer he played in American Psycho.

“Before I prepared for American Psycho I’d never gone to a gym. It’s not something that interests me. I have to be motivated to work out and movie roles have been my motivation recently.”

Bale has been acting professionally since he was 10. His first job was playing opposite comic Rowan Atkinson in the British stage version of the hit American play The Nerd.

Two years later, Bale was starring in Steven Spielberg’s Second World War epic Empire of the Sun.

“My parents weren’t actors, but my family is not untheatrical,” says Bale adding his love of performing just skipped a generation.

“One of my granddads was in vaudeville.

“He was a stand-up comic and a magician. The other granddad doubled for John Wayne in Duke’s two African films. That happened by accident.

“At the time Wayne was filming Hatari! (in 1961), granddad was a White Hunter which is what they called safari guides. He was hired as an advisor for the film then someone realized he was the same height and build as Wayne.”

An ardent animal lover, Bale numbers, as part of his household in Britain, several cats and dogs he has rescued.

Bale and his wife of two years, producer Sibi Blazic, live “wherever the work is and right now that means L.A. Because of the whole quarantine process we can’t take the animals with us so other family members are minding them in England.”

By Louis B. Hobson.