Village Voice (September 28th, 2004)

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIER

I hit the road and headed to the Crobar party for The Machinist, for which Christian Bale not only didn’t add heels, he subtracted the weight of three female Friends stars. But as he pulled up in his Batmobile, Bale looked in the human range again and he even had extra poundage with him – namely stepmom Gloria Steinem, who I hear might write an op-ed piece about the movie for The New York Times. (I bet she likes it more than The People vs. Larry Flynt, which she excoriated in one of her last Times pieces.)

The freaky film has the skeletal Bale as a blue-collar worker who never sleeps, eats, or stops being paranoid. (“It’s not a popcorn movie,” he agreed with me, smiling.) Was his Ally McBeal diet plan sheer self-inflicted torture? “It was tricky,” Bale told me, “but it’s punishing to have to get into good shape for a movie as well. Losing the weight involved a great deal of restraint, and once you get there, it’s a calming place to be.” Wait a minute, you Hollywood hunk, starvation is fun? “You get used to that,” he swore. “It was something I chose to do – and I knew I was always able to go grab something.” And not his agent’s neck.

By Michael Musto.