A reluctant movie megastar, the Wales-born Christian Bale got his big break at age 13 when he landed the role of a spoiled British boy who comes of age in a World War II internment camp in Steven Spielberg's 1987 gem Empire of the Sun
. His transformative performance was a harbinger of his chameleon-like work to come. However, Bale temporarily backed off from acting because he was uncomfortable with his newfound fame. In the 1990s, Bale reemerged with impressive supporting performances in a series of dramatic films (Little Women
, The Portrait of a Lady
), but 2000's American Psycho
was the movie that put him back on the Hollywood map. Bale became a cult heartthrob thanks in part to his disarming smile and newly chiseled physique. The buff actor spent the next few years reinventing himself for every role. He lost a shocking amount of weight to play an insomniac in 2004's The Machinist
before bulking back up the next year to take on the title role in the blockbuster Batman Begins
. Other solid roles followed in prestige pictures (The New World
, Rescue Dawn
) and interesting indies (Harsh Times
, I'm Not There
), and in the 2008 Caped Crusader hit sequel The Dark Knight
. In 2009 Bale rebooted another dormant film franchise when he took on the iconic role of John Connor in Terminator Salvation
. The movie was a disappointment, and a profanity-laced diatribe aimed at the film's cinematographer became an Internet sensation that briefly sullied Bale's reputation; he eventually apologized. (His reputation also took a hit the previous year when he was arrested over an incident involving his mother and sister, though, ultimately, no charges were brought.) Despite his A-list status, Bale continues to keep a low profile off-screen believing the less an audience knows about an actor's private life, the more believable he is on-screen. Certainly his intense nature serves his film work quite well.Christian Bale Fast Facts:
- At age 10 in 1984, made his London stage debut as Thor in The Nerd with Rowan Atkinson.
- Born in Wales, he split his childhood between London, California and Portugal.
- For his performance in 1987's Empire of the Sun, the 13-year-old Bale won Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor from the National Board of Review, an honor created specifically for his work in the film.
- Trained for 10 weeks to sing and dance in the 1992 musical Newsies.
- Became the stepson of Gloria Steinem, one of the pioneers of the feminist movement, when she married his father in 2000.
- Lost more than 60 pounds for 2004's The Machinist, dropping his weight to 120.
- Active in Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund.
- Christian Bale Relationships:
- Rex Bale - Great-uncle
- David Bale - Father
- Emmeline - Daughter
- Gloria Steinem - Stepmother
- Louise Bale - Sister
- Jane Bale - Mother
- Sharon Bale - Sister
- Sibi Blazic - Wife
- Erin Bale - Sister
- Christian Bale Awards:
- 2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture - Nominee
- 2014 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical - Nominee
- 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture - Nominee
- 2013 BAFTA Film Awards: Best Leading Actor - Nominee
- 2009 People's Choice Awards: Favorite Superhero - Winner
- 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role - Winner
- 2010 BAFTA Film Awards: Best Supporting Actor - Nominee
- 2010 Oscar: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role - Winner
- 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture - Winner
- 2013 Oscar: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role - Nominee
- 2009 People's Choice Awards: Favorite On Screen Match Up - Winner
- 2011 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Winner