Moviehole (July 13th, 2002)

INTERVIEW: CHRISTIAN BALE

He has been voted as one of today’s Best Actors and for anyone that has seen Christian Bale in action, they can’t argue with that. He hit the big time after Steven Spielberg plucked him from nowhere to star in 1987’s Empire of the Sun and more recently thrilled audiences with his memorable performances in such films as Shaft, Metroland, Velvet Goldmine and American Psycho, in which he was sensational as Patrick Bateman. I had the chance to speak to this gifted actor, from the set of his latest film, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

Clint: First of all, thanks for doing this Christian I’m a major fan of “American Psycho”, were you pleased with the finished result?

Christian: Yes and no. I think we (Mary Harron and I) made the film we wanted to. Unfortunately, in the US, there was all this silly business about the ratings so the US theatrical release was snipped over a couple sex scenes. The video release will at least have the film intact.

Clint: Had you read the book prior to doing the film and do you think it’s similar?

Christian: No, I based my decision to do the film based on Mary Harron’s and Guinevere Turner’s script. They distilled the humour from the book and created a script with a distinct point of view. I read the book afterward and was very impressed at Mary’s and Guin’s ability to take the book and condense its humourous essence.

Clint: Was there anything missing from the version we got to see that was filmed?

Christian: There are a number of scenes that didn’t make the theatrical cut which I presume were trimmed to keep the film under 2 hours

Clint: Can we expect any future adventures for Patrick Bateman? maybe a sequel?

Christian: I don’t expect to do a sequel. I’ve heard that Bret Easton Ellis is interested in writing one so you’d have to ask him.

Clint: You character in “Shaft” is also a bit of a nasty. Which of the two films did you like better?

Christian: Very different experiences. Shaft was a major studio production. I got to spend four months in New York and work with Samuel L. Jackson! American Psycho was personally very important to me because it was my personal project and I fought to get the film made with me as the star. But it was a low budget film shot in the wonderful city of Toronto.

Clint: I hear you are good friend with fellow Aussie (like me) Toni Collette?

Christian: Yes, Toni and I are good friends. We previously worked together in the film “Velvet Goldmine”.

Clint: I recall your first big film was “Empire of the Sun” how did you get the part?

Christian: I auditioned with 4000 other actors for the role of James Graham. One day, I was invited to meet Spielberg so they flew me and my dad to Los Angeles(we were living in England at the time). I read for him and they told me I got the part.

Clint: Tell me a bit about “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”.

Christian: It’s based on the book by Louise des Bernieres and is set during WWII on a Greek island which is being occupied by the Italian army. I play a local fisherman, Mandras. My fiancée is played by Penelope Cruz. When Mandras decides to join the Greek resistance, my fiancée falls in love with the Italian captain played by Nicolas Cage. It’s being directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love). Wonderful island of Cephallonia. Also stars another good friend, John Hurt, who plays my fiancée’s dad, as well as Greek legend, Irene Pappas who plays my mum.

Clint: Finally Christian, what’s your favourite line from “American Psycho”?

Christian: “Don’t just look at it, eat it!” Also, I rather enjoy the reactions to the business card scene!

 By Clint Morris.