Totaldvd.net (July 2003)

BEYOND THE BALE

We spoke to the man who plays Reign of Fire’s mighty Quinn, Christian Bale.

What was it like crossing between the two sides of Quinn’s character? Which do you prefer?

I like playing all of it – as long as you’re not just playing one thing the whole time, a character is always interesting to play, and that was something that was really essential for this movie. So often with movies of this type you do get two-dimensional type of characters who are bland, and hold no real interest whatsoever for me personally as a viewer, and so that was a mistake that we really didn’t want to make with this movie. Like any real person, there are so many different facets, and I hope that there’s a lot more to Quinn than just being reflective or angry – there’s a lot more to him than just that.

What’s it like fighting against something that you can’t really see?

Well, go in a dark room, turn all the lights off, and get some archenemy in there and try swinging… It’s actually very very easy – it’s the most basic trick of acting, which is using your imagination – that’s it. If you can’t do that then you shouldn’t be acting at all. We also had all the imagery from the artist who created the dragon, so that we could have a really vivid picture in our mind’s eye when we were playing those scenes.

How did you prepare – are there any books on killing dragons?

It was really just preparation in my head. There weren’t many skills that Quinn had that I didn’t have myself – nothing that I had to acquire in that fashion. It was really just developing the character so that he would be engaging enough to compete with the Van Zan character, because he’s such a loud, eccentric, and rock star sort of a character – I didn’t want Quinn to disappear in comparison. So it was really just working on the character to make sure that didn’t happen.

Quinn has a lot of issues. What drives him?

Purely survival instinct, refusing to quit, keeping an anger, and a fight within, so that he never gives up, because giving up means death in this world.

The set looked fantastic – what was it like going around the castle?

Incredible. Woolfe, the production designer did a fantastic job with it. It always seems like a shame to me when you get these incredible sets built, and then they all have to be torn down at the end of the movie – they are real pieces of art that they create, and it makes it so much easier for the actor when you have such incredible sets.

Did you enjoy filming on location in Ireland?

I had a great time filming. I thought that 20 weeks was going to be hell – I thought we would really hate each other by the end of it, but not a day went by that I didn’t really enjoy myself. I was constantly waiting for there to be some huge argument, and it just never happened at all on this set – everybody really enjoyed making it.

Did you find the role physically demanding?

It was physically demanding, but I really enjoy that. I find that I really enjoy that action work. I think it’s because I don’t view it as being ‘not an acting job’. I think a lot of actors get a little bit snobbish about doing scenes and they think it’s not proper acting. I think it is proper acting – there are so many different ways you can create a fight sequence or a great action sequence and I want to do as much as possible myself.