While he didn’t walk away with his second trophy from Oscars this weekend, Christian Bale‘s reputation as a hard-working actor who goes the extra mile to inhabit the characters he plays remains unshaken. From dramatic weight less or weight gain, to deep research, to even learning to play the drums for one scene in “The Big Short,” Bale is meticulous in his approach. And this process went all the way back to his breakout film role, “American Psycho,” and chatting with Vulture last fall, the actor says some of the Wall Street guys he met in preparing for his role were, well, psycho.
“Someone introduced me to this group of young guys, and I spent quite a lot of time with them. I went on the trading floor, and to offices, and then we went out for the evenings, and I have no idea where we went, I couldn’t tell you, but it was disturbing,” he said. “That was a lesson to me in how much people want you to be the character that you are playing. All I had to do was sit back and be quiet, and people will blur the lines between character and person. And hearing and witnessing this complete misunderstanding of the book. Seeing that firsthand, sitting until the early hours in the morning partying with people who believed I was that character. [Laughs]”
It seems the Wall Street bros wanted to impress upon Bale they could be just as savage as they thought he wanted them to be, and in a sense, they delivered.
“I didn’t encourage anything, I just stayed quiet and let it all reveal itself in front of me. And it was fascinating. And it was nauseating. But very entertaining,” he said.
Bale is very respectful of the real-life people he portrays, meeting with them, and letting them know he will explore who they are, warts and all, on the big screen. And some, like the real life Dickie from “The Fighter,” he remains friends with. But would Bale ever hang with those Wall Street dudes again? “God, no. No way. Those were some of the most dangerous people I have ever come across in my life.”