Calgary Sun (January 20th, 2004)


Park City, Utah – The most shocking on-screen transformation in years comes from the future Batman Christian Bale, who stars in the spooky The Machinist.

At the film’s premiere, audiences were gasping in horror at the sight of Bale, who shed 63 lbs. to portray Trevor Reznik, an emaciated, insomniac who may be going insane. In many scenes, the American Psycho actor is shirtless, letting the shadowy cinematography pick up every nook, curve and cranny of his skin-stretched-over-skeleton physique. The result is so startling, it had audience members wondering if Bale’s appearance had been altered using digital effects.

“We didn’t have any money for digital effects,” says Bale, bulked back up for his Caped Crusader gig. “That was all me. Or wasn’t all me, as the case may be.”

Bale, who also altered his body to play the buff serial killer in Psycho, says he enjoys the challenge: “It’s masochistic, I suppose. But I enjoy the thought of the guitarist who, while learning to play, cuts up his fingers. It’s like that. I enjoy it. Actually my wife quite enjoyed Trevor. She was a little sorry when I started to come back.”

Still, his devotion only goes so far. “I’d only do it for a movie like American Psycho or The Machinist. I wouldn’t do it for everything. I love The Machinist. “

Bale says he signed on after meeting with director Brad Anderson. “I read the script, then I met Brad, who’d made a film called Session 9, which I think is just fantastic.”

Anderson, who couldn’t attend the premiere because his wife just had a baby, wrote in a letter read prior to the screening that cast and crew were “constantly awed” by Bale’s discipline and devotion.

“When you’re that skinny, you don’t have any energy. I was exhausted walking down the street,” Bale says. “I just basically sat in my caravan and smoked and didn’t say much of anything except my lines.”

Bale begins the next Batman movie, co-starring Michael Caine and Katie Holmes, next month.

By Kevin Williamson.