Christian Bale is famous for undergoing extreme physical transformations on the big screen, and such is the case with the actor’s latest role as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s “Vice” (watch the trailer here). Bale has gotten his weight dangerously close to 100 pounds and well over 200 pounds for roles. Click through the gallery for a brief history of Bale’s shocking transformations.
In order to tackle the role of the muscular serial killer Patrick Bateman, Bale went on an all-lean protein diet. “It was my most restrictive diet [for a film],” the actor told Train Magazine during a 2017 retrospective interview. “There were no cheat meals. No sugars, good fats, and low carbs.” Bale said getting lean for “Psycho” was tougher than bulking up for “Batman Begins.”
Bale worked on losing weight for four months prior to production beginning on Brad Anderson’s psychological thriller. The actor shed just over 60 pounds for the movie and got his total weight down to 120 pounds. Harrison Cheung’s biography on Bale says the actor consumed only “water, an apple, and one cup of coffee per day” to get ready for the role. The actor told Men’s Journal he also chain smoked cigarettes and drank whiskey to lose weight.
Bale only had six months in between “The Machinist” and the start of production on Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight to bulk up for his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The actor ended up putting on 100 pounds of muscle. “I would do splits — every day focusing on a different muscle group,” Bale told Train Magazine. “I would do three sets of 10 to eight, depending on what I was working on.”
Bale plays pilot Dieter Dengler in Werner Herzog’s “Rescue Dawn.” The actor lost weight before production and filmed the movie with Herzog in reverse chronological order, gaining the weight back throughout the shoot. His character is shot down and captured by villagers during the Vietnam War. Bale told Collider during the film’s release that he didn’t lose as much weight as it seemed and credited the makeup team for making him appear more emaciated.
“Batman relies on speed and strategy,” Bale told Train Magazine about his approach for bulking up for Christopher Nolan. “Diet-wise I would eat smaller meals every two or three hours. Each meal I would aim for a balance of lean proteins, carbs and good, healthy fat. Pretty much every meal would have that mix. I’d also try to eat a lot of vegetables, drink good old H2O and more low-calorie fruits.”
Bale showed off another extreme weight loss as drug-addicted boxing trainer Dicky Eklund in David O. Russell’s “The Fighter.” The actor told the Latino Review (via HuffPo) he relied mostly on running to lose the weight for the movie. “I was just running like crazy,” Bale said. “I could just run for hours on end and I felt really healthy.” The actor famously joked he did a lot of cocaine to help lose weight as well.
“The Dark Knight Rises” got Bale back into shape for his final outting as Bruce Wayne/Batman for Christopher Nolan, but he didn’t have to go as crazy in his workouts since the film’s plot centered around an older, more physically-weary Wayne. As Bale told MTV, the “Rises” version of the character is “just not the same Batman that we’ve been accustomed to seeing before” given his “weakened” state.
“American Hustle” required Bale to pack on the pounds once again in order to play con artist Irving Rosenfeld. The actor got his weight up over 200 pounds for the role, telling People his diet consisted of “doughnuts, a whole lot of cheeseburgers, and whatever I could get my hands on” for two months.
Going from “American Hustle” to playing Moses in Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” required Bale to get back in shape fast. Health Fitness Revolution broke down Bale’s regiment in December 2014, reporting the actor relied on cardio exercises like swimming and running, as well as power-lifting activities such as “jump squats, power cleans, explosive bench press, and high pulls.”
“I’ve just been eating a lot of pies,” Bale told Variety about gaining weight to play Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s “Vice.” The movie tracks Cheney’s rise into one of the most prominent vice presidents in United States history. The actor hasn’t revealed just how much weight he put on to play Cheney, but he looks to be in the same ballpark as his “American Hustle” role.