Christian Bale is known for his drastic transformations to play various roles throughout is career. In 2015 the Washington Post declared Bale the "King of Hollywood yo-yo dieting" because of his extreme weight changes, such as from his emaciated role in The Machinist to a buff version of Batman in The Dark Knight. Once again, he decided to pack on the pounds to play Dick Cheney in the upcoming biography Backseat.
Does Bale need to gain weight every time when the role requires him to play a heavy-set character? Or lose a dangerous amount when playing a sickly or emaciated character? With the advancements in CGI and technology, it's possible he's doing more harm than good with his extreme method prep. Now is the time for him to end this acting technique before he causes harm to his body.
Christian Bale's Weight Could Harm Him
We are now living in a time where one-third of U.S. adults suffer from obesity, roughly 30 million people in the U.S. having eating disorders, and social media is causing concerns about fat shaming. These issues have caused various health problems, mental and physical, for those who suffer from these disorders. Those who have problems maintaining a healthy body weight may experience various health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Some people even experience depression because of the weight gain. As we get older, it becomes even harder to lose the weight. In an interview with NPR, Linda Van Horn, a registered dietitian and professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, talks about the difficulties of keeping the pounds off when we age:
The older we get the fewer calories we need. If a person who is 60 is eating the same number of calories they ate when they were 20, they will be considerably heavier.
#ChristianBale may be an expert at changing his weight, but he can't beat Father Time. Although Bale has yet to admit to any specific health issues, he needs be concerned about how this weight will affect his mind and body now that he is getting older. If he wants to continue acting in his golden years, he may have to start thinking about the roles he chooses in the future. We know that he's aware of the issues since he passed on playing the role of Enzo Ferrari in a Michael Mann-directed biopic because he couldn't gain the weight in time.
He's An Actor, So Act
Christian Bale falls into the category of actors that prep for movies by trying to "become" their characters as much as possible—you know, "method actors." Examples of this class include Daniel Day-Lewis not breaking character and only answering to "Mr. President" while on the set of Lincoln, and Jared Leto getting into the maniacal mindset of the Joker by sending his Suicide Squad co-stars off-the-wall gifts that included rats, bullets and condoms.
All of these tactics are part of the actors' tool box to help them create and enhance the characters they are set to play. Yet, Bale has already won an Oscar for playing the paunchy Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle. It should make sense that he already knows what it is like to carry around all that extra weight, as well as what it's like to starve oneself and be emaciated. If part of method acting is bringing forth your experiences and feelings to a character, then it should be easy for Bale to remember the physicality of what it's like from his other roles. Why should he put himself through that punishment again of gaining all that weight when he can rely on his previous roles and use other methods to play a heavy-set character—or an emaciated one?
Trade In The Pies For CGI
For Bale's role as Dick Cheney, in an interview with Variety on the red carpet, he was asked how he put on all the weight and he replied, "Eating a lot of pies."
Sure this sounds like fun, but as stated earlier, this could lead to serious health issues. Why doesn't Bale take advantage of some of the special effects and makeup used in other Hollywood movies? We've already seen how Hollywood can use CGI to create a scrawny Chris Evans when he played a pre-Super Soldier serum Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, a drastic change compared to the muscled-up Chris Evans when came out of the chamber after the Project: Rebirth experiment. Evans didn't have to drop a ton weight only to put it back on for the role. Instead, CGI demonstrated how actors don't have go through such a grueling process of changing their weight.
Although CGI may be expensive, directors don't have to rely solely on this technology. One way they can cut costs is with the use of a fat suit and makeup. Christian Bale's The Dark Night co-star, Gary Oldman, used a fat suit to play the part of Winston Churchill in the movie Darkest Hour. The combination of the fat suit and prosthetics worked so well that Oldman is almost unrecognizable in the role. You can't even tell it's Oldman underneath the suit:
We know that Christian Bale is an incredible actor. He's proved that he is dedicated to bringing his various characters to life, even without the need to change his body weight. Losing weight or gaining weight, it doesn't matter anymore, we will always be entertained by his best ability: his acting. If he wishes to continue to entertain us in future movies, now is the time for him take care of himself before he has to leave Hollywood due to health issues.
Who else believes it is time for Christian Bale to stop with extreme weight changes? Let us know in the comments below.