|An almost unrecognisable Bale in American Hustle|
Ever since his first starring role at the age of 13 in Steven
Spielberg’s epic Empire of the Sun, Christian Bale has had a
reputation for being “difficult.”
The British-born actor made it plain early in his career that he
hated giving interviews and often sat through entire sessions without
answering any questions. Although he later softened his stance and
endured the process, his behaviour both on and off the set attracted
Just after the second of his Batman films, The Dark Knight, was released he was arrested in London for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister. The charges were dropped but soon afterwards he launched a profanity-laced tirade at a cinematographer on the set of Terminator Salvation for allegedly crossing his line of sight during a scene. After a recording of the rant was released on the Internet, he issued a public apology.
But the Christian Bale who strolled into a suite at the London Hotel in New York was neither difficult nor badly behaved. Both then and when we talked later that evening in the trendy Monkey Bar nightclub on 54th Street he was friendly and affable and at one point even burst into a football supporters' song.
Bale, 39, who has been nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as the pot-bellied con man Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle, has been married for 14 years to Sandra, a former model, and they have an eight-year-old daughter Emmeline.
“I’m at the bouncy castle phase of my life and that is what I love more than anything,” he laughs. “No doubt that will change when my daughter gets bored with it, but whatever she is into, so am I.”
Emmeline, he says, found his bald, pot-bellied look funny: “She would slap my big old gut and bald head and tease me. She had lots of fun and found it amusing."
Born in South Wales, Bale grew up in Portugal and various towns around England before settling in Bournemouth. He still has an English accent with a hint of a Welsh lilt, but when he returns to his homeland nowadays it is because he is making a movie. He was recently at Pinewood Studios filming Exodus for Ridley Scott and didn’t have time to see any football matches although he still follows the fortunes of Bournemouth, a team he knows by their nickname the Cherries. “It’s not a name that makes you rally behind them and go Whoa, Cherries!” he laughs and briefly bursts into a chorus of a Bournemouth supporters’ song. “But I’m still a bit of a football fan and I’ll get goose bumps when the English football team play in the World Cup.”