ByRory O'Connor, writer at
Breathing movies. Humbly writing about them.
Rory O'Connor

There's been many an actor to have taken on drastic diets on the hunt for truth and glory. Where Bobby De Niro piled them on for Raging Bull, Macconaissance Matt, for Dallas Buyer Club, shed them off. Indeed, the shape-shifting actor is a Hollywood path well trodden. It tends to bring you Oscars and that sort of thing so, naturally, it's been a usual fixture over the years but has there ever been a more wildly transformative body as that of Christian Bale? Over his near thirty year career he's gone from sculpted demi-god to shrivelled wretch and pretty much everything in between.

From a young J.G. Ballard in Spielberg's Empire of the Sun... a blue haired glam rocker in Velvet Goldmine ten years later

He sculpted himself to menacing perfection...

... as a 180 pound American Psycho

He dropped a third of that weight 4 years later...

... to play Brad Anderson's shrivelled Machinist

Before Miyasaki's Howl, perhaps his greatest transformation to date

Then it was time to put on the mask...

... hit the gym...

... and become Christopher Nolan's Batman

Next he was a starving P.O.W. for Herzog's Rescue Dawn...

... an early Bob Dylan for Todd Haynes' I'm Not There...

...before donning the cape again as Nolan's Dark Knight

The Oscar finally came for David O Russell's The Fighter...

... with Bale trimming down to play the crack addicted Dicky Eklund

Then it was back to Gotham for one last fight

For American Hustle, the hair was fake...

... but the gut was very real

Then back normal once more for this year's Out of the Furnace

How does he do it? Who's your favorite physical chameleon? Let us know below.

Out of the Furnace is in stores now.


Favorite Bale performance?


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