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Christian Bale Flips One Of Movies’ Oldest Rules On Its Head (& He’s Right)

Christian Bale’s background in acting and his iconic performances challenge one of filmmaking’s entrenched rules and prove it wrong.


Christian Bale is one of the most accomplished actors of our time, known for his performances in iconic roles such as Batman in The Dark KnightIrving Rosenfeld in American crowdsand even real characters, including Dick Cheney in Shame. These films have shown that Bale is not only a versatile performer, but that his emotions are real and raw. What is less known about Bale, however, is his origins as a child actor, only 13 when he made his film debut as the lead role in Spielberg’s realm of the sun.

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A well-known and long-standing rule in the film industry discourages filmmakers from working with child actors and animals to reduce production difficulties, and yet Bale’s development from a young actor with little experience to the man he is today exemplifies the ability to moving performances by actors of all ages. Admittedly, for those unfamiliar with Bale’s work as a child actor, who saw him in the early moments of Empire of the sun can be shocking. In a recent interview detailing his iconic roles, Bale notes: “Animals and children are the best actors, you cannot compete with them. And the reason is they don’t give a **** about the consequences – and in many ways that was how I felt.Speaking of his own experience on set, Bale added:I had no idea how unique that experience was at the time” (Through GQ).

Related:

10 Historical Dramas To Watch If You Like Empire Of The Sun


Why the rule “Do not work with children and animals” does not apply?

Christian Bale isn’t the only example of a child actor who had success as an adult. Drew Barrymore made her name playing Gertie in Spielberg’s other iconic film, ET the alienwhile Michael B. Jordan, known for playing Adonis Creed and Kilmonger, was only 15 in the iconic TV series, The wire. While filmmakers may be discouraged by the extra considerations that come with working with children, these performances make it clear that makers are missing the point in accepting the rule as an absolute given.

How Christian Bale’s Empire Of The Sun Role Proves He’s Right

In an iconic scene at Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun – even if his character lost his entire family just to retrieve a toy plane – Bale delivers raw and powerful emotions when he cries out for his mother (No – it’s not a Bruce Wayne story). Later in the GQ interview, Bale noted that he didn’t feel as much pressure as you might expect at that age. Even without prior formal acting training, young Christian Bale was able to adapt to a story that was difficult and often quite intense, turning this long-held rule on its head.

Next: How Much Weight Christian Bale Has Gained And Lost For Movie Roles

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