Moviehole (August 13th, 2002)

INTERVIEW: CHRISTIAN BALE

Christian Bale’s name has been branded about for quite a while now as the new 007 and the new Batman. Clint Morris talked to the star of “Reign of Fire” and gets to the bottom of those rumours plus talks about his no-show in “Rules of Attraction”.

What attracted you to the film Reign of Fire?

I wanted to try something different. I had never been offered a part like this before and I thought it would be interesting to do a big special effects movie.

Are adventure/action movies something you would like to do more of?

Yes, but I’ve always sought a variety of work. If another adventure/scifi/action movie was offered to me, I’d judge it on its merit. Would I want to see this movie?

How did you and Matthew McConaughey get along?

Very well. He’s a fascinating fellow. He often stayed in character – sometimes to great extremes. Everyone has heard about the infamous headbutting scene. Matthew and I have a fight scene and Matthew decided to headbutt me for real! It was a perfect example of how involved Matthew would be with his character.

Is this the first film you’ve done that you’ve had to act alongside special effects?

Yes, pretty much. There were a few special effects in ‘Empire of the Sun’ and ‘Velvet Goldmine’, but if you mean acting opposite CGI effects, yes, this was my first FX movie.

What’s your favourite moment from the film?

Well, there’s a certain scene that is a homage to ‘Star Wars’ that always gets great laughs. I can now say that I’ve finally fulfilled a lifelong dream to play Darth Vader!

How different was this to “Equilibrium”?

Very different. ‘Reign of Fire’ was a major studio film with a very large budget. ‘Equilibrium’ is a much smaller film budget-wise. The emotional scale is also steeper in ‘Equilbrium’ which is about a cop of the future who rediscovers his humanity.

Is there a sequel possibility to “Reign of Fire”?

Possibly. I told Scott Moutter, who plays my stepson in the movie, that he’s well-positioned to take the sequel from me because of the way the movie ends!

How much did “American Psycho” help your career? or did it?

It definitely helped. Before ‘American Psycho’, I was mostly offered costume dramas and I felt I was headed to Merchant Ivorydom. After ‘American Psycho’, I get more American roles, darker roles and physical roles. ‘American Psycho’ has become my calling card in many ways. I am forever in Mary Harron’s debt!

Why didn’t you cameo as Bateman for “Rules of Attraction”?

I’m very loyal to Mary Harron – she wrote and Directed ‘American Psycho’. I felt that her Bateman – our Bateman – was in his entirety in the first film. I’ve been offered a number of cameos as Bateman in other related films and I felt that it would be a disservice to take the character out of the context we had developed.

The net is abuzz that you’re about to be offered the parts of Batman and 007. Are you interested? And if it came down to a choice, which character would you play?

No, that’s Bateman, not Batman! Actually both characters would be a dream come true, wouldn’t it? James Bond is every British actor’s Holy Grail in many ways – the most recognized British character on the big screen. I’ve also been a big fan of Tim Burton’s Batman movies. His almost gothic approach brought a wonderful cinematic feel to an American hero. I’d love to do either part but I’d also worry about being typecast. James Bond in the new Millennium has so much potential – in the new movie XXX, the Bond character is skewered as being out of step for our times – Bond is in dire need of updating. And batman is a wonderful character – the duality between his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, and the dark knight could be a fascinating character study.

By Clint Morris.