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Christian Bale Did Not Method Act During ‘Pale Blue Eye,’ Says Co-Star Harry Melling: ‘No Staying in Character’

"We’d turn up, not really talk about the scene, and just start playing it," the "Harry Potter" alum said of working alongside Oscar winner Bale on the Netflix film.

The Pale Blue Eye, Christian Bale

Christian Bale in “The Pale Blue Eye”


Christian Bale did not exhibit Method acting techniques during Netflix period piece “The Pale Blue Eye,” according to co-star Harry Melling.

The “Harry Potter” and “Queen’s Gambit” alum recalled working alongside Academy Award winner Bale for the mystery-thriller. Bale plays a former detective who is forced out of retirement to investigate a series of hangings alongside Edgar Allan Poe (Melling). The film is based on the novel by Louis Bayard and helmed by Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart”), with Bale also producing.

“My experience working on it was that we’d turn up, not really talk about the scene, and just start playing it,” Melling told The Independent of working with Bale, citing the fact that he “doesn’t really know” what constitutes Method acting. “There was no staying in character, but I guess you’re always held within some form of character just because you’re wearing the clothes and you’re in that environment as that person.”

Melling added, “I think Method acting sometimes gets a branding that’s unhelpful.”

The star also called Bale “one of the most generous performers I’ve ever worked with.”

Bale previously told The Hollywood Reporter that because he “never studied properly” professional acting, each role presents a new challenge.

“On every single film, I think to myself, ‘Oh God, what have I done? How did I get myself into this again? They’re going to realize that I’ve got no idea what I’m doing,'” Bale said. “But I think that’s why I’m still interested in doing it because I don’t really have any technique. People always say, ‘Oh, he’s a Method actor,’ but I’m not a Method actor because that takes studying. I just do whatever I feel like I’ve got to do on the day.”

The “Dark Knight” actor also said during a GQ cover story earlier this year that it would be have “been a pitiful attempt” to channel Method acting techniques in a superhero film.

The “Amsterdam” star continued, “I like the insanity of the job itself. I guess it’s the idea of what people think an actor is that’s embarrassing. I mean, how many useful jobs are there, really, in life, where you’re helping other people? Am I just creating more stupid background noise? But the acting itself, I enjoy how ridiculous it is. I love something that you can just go too far with. People are fucking fascinating. I love people, I love watching people, and I get to watch them in a way that would otherwise be perceived as verging on extremely bizarre.”

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