The Hollywood Reporter (February 2012)

BERLIN 2012: CHRISTIAN BALE WON’T COMPARE BATMAN TO SHOOTING THE FLOWERS OF WAR IN CHINA

BERLIN – Christian Bale refused to be drawn on any comparisons to be made between working on Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War Berlin entry with his role of Batman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight.

Said Bale: “I don’t compare any two roles at all. I leave it to you [the gathered press] to decide that.”
Bale also noted he has been “involved in a franchise for some time, which I very much enjoyed” and that working with Nolan had also been a good experience.
“But I love to try something different,” Bale said. “I had a fantastic time in China with my fellow filmmakers. I think I would have been envious of anyone else who had taken the role if I hadn’t, so I am happy I did it.”
Bale said that while he had shot some footage in China as a child actor in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of The Sun back in 1987, and that he had done some filming for The Dark Knight in Hong Kong, this was like going to China for the first time with Zhang’s film.
“It feels like a whole different lifetime when I worked with Steven,” noting it was filled with regrets for him.
But the Batman star also reminded everyone of just how challenged he likes to feel when he makes movies. Bale said he simply couldn’t resist working on a Chinese-language movie when asked by Zhang and that the novelty of working “on an entirely Chinese-language movie” was something he couldn’t turn down.
At one point during the news conference for the movie, Bale failed to digest one of the myriad questions thrown in his direction. “There’s a gentleman who looks like Max von Sydow just there who distracted me,” he said, laughing.
One of his Chinese co-stars, Ni Ni, who makes her big screen debut alongside Bale, praised “the big Hollywood star.” Said Ni Ni: “I was quite intimidated when I was to work with this actor. But he is a friendly man and has a very honest kind of smile. He was very nice and down to earth and he helped me a lot.”
Bale said that despite the language barrier between himself and the filmmaker, the pair came up with a surprisingly effective way of communicating without having to resort to language and translators.
But it was a change of scene and pace and the lure of Zhang, a fllmmaker whose work Bale claims to have long-admired, that saw him sign up for it. “I think everybody needs to create different rhythms in their lives and not be predictable to yourself,” Bale said when asked how he choses his roles.