Best known for American Psycho and Batman, and for swearing quite a lot on set, it can only be the rising Hollywood star and Oscar winning actor that is Christian Bale.
Born in Wales in 1974, Christian Bale was raised in the UK, Portugal and the US. Thanks to his mother, who was a circus performer, he was introduced to the world of performing at an early age and soon developed a taste for ballet and music.
Having appeared in early television commercials for fabric softener and computer games, he made his stage debut opposite Rowan Atkinson in the West End play, ‘The Nerd’.
However, his big break came in 1987 when he was cast in Steven Spielberg’s epic ‘Empire Of The Sun’. His performance as James Graham saw him walk away with the first ever ‘Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor’ award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. This honour and the sudden rush of attention didn’t have a completely positive affect on Bale, and he put his acting career on the back burner until Kenneth Branagh offered him a role in Henry V in 1989.
Over the next few years, Bale appeared in ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Newsies’, which was unfortunate enough to be nominated for the ‘Worst Picture’ award at the 1992 Golden Raspberry Awards.
In 1994, Winona Ryder approached Bale to offer him a part in an adaptation of ‘Little Women’. The film was well received and Bale’s career was once again back on track. 1998 saw Bale appear in ‘Velvet Goldmine’, ‘All the Little Animals’ and the following year he appeared alongside an all star cast as Demetrius in ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’.
‘American Psycho’ in 2000 saw Bale play Patrick Bateman in the film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial novel. The demanding role led Bale to undergo a rigorous exercise regime and, although some critics were horrified at the film’s content, it became a cult hit.
Eager to step away from typecasting after playing ‘bad’ in the 2000 version of ‘Shaft’, Bale’s next film role was in the Nicolas Cage classic ‘Captain Corelli's Mandolin’. While continuing to land the big roles, 2002 saw a run of unsuccessful films for the young actor. ‘Laurel Canyon’ and ‘Equilibrium’ failed to draw moviegoers to the box office and may have been the reason for Bale taking a year long sabbatical.
A return to form in 2004’s ‘The Machinist’ once again saw the critics praising his talents, and in the eagerly anticipated 'Batman Begins' in 2005 he landed the lead role. Bale had long been destined to star in the Batman series and came close to playing Robin in ‘Batman Forever’, only to be pipped to the post by Chris O'Donnell. The film was a worldwide smash and Bale reprised the role once more in 2008 when he starred in the sequel, ‘The Dark Knight’.
Known for his physical commitment to roles, the star once again trained in the Keysi Fighting Method, which he had initially learnt for the first Batman film. At the time of filming, he said: “We’ve gone a bit further [this time] with Keysi. I’m actually learning how to do it more realistically than ever before.” Bale's third Batman movie, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, was released in July 2012.
While his Hollywood star continues to rise, Bale has attempted to keep his private life as far from the spotlight as possible. He married Winona Ryder’s personal assistant, Sibi Blazic, in 2000 and the couple had a baby girl in 2005.
He hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in 2009 when an audio recording of the star’s outburst while filming ‘Terminator Salvation’ hit the internet. In the recording, Bale is heard accusing Shane Hurlbut, director of photography for the film, of ruining his concentration by walking onto the set while a scene was being filmed.
Bale apologised for the incident during an interview with US radio station KROQ, and described his actions as “inexcusable”.
The actor recently won an Oscar for his performance in ‘The Fighter’, for which he had already won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
Outside of his movie making, Bale is a keen supporter of conservation and animal welfare groups such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund.