Christian Bale says he's quit gaining and losing weight for movies over 'mortality' fears

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Christian Bale (Credit: PA)

Christian Bale has said that he’s calling it a day on gaining and losing huge amounts of weight for his movie roles.

The British actor has transformed himself on numerous occasions, most recently for new political comedy-drama Vice, in which he plays former US vice president Dick Cheney.

He told The Sunday Times: “I can’t keep doing it. I really can’t. My mortality is staring me in the face.”

Bale, who put on more than three stone to play Cheney, added that he felt a bit silly when he called up fellow actor Gary Oldman for advice after seeing that he’d transformed himself to play Winston Churchill in the biopic The Darkest Hour.

Vice (Credit: Annapurna)

But he discovered that Oldman hadn’t put on any weight at all.

“By this time I’m 20lb in. I said, ‘Wait – none?’ I felt like such a t*t, but I thought: ‘I’m on this road; I’m going to keep going’,” he went on.

“My son loved the tummy. He would just bounce up and down on that a lot and headbutt it and bounce off it and fall to the floor.”

While Bale put on his own weight, he also wore a fat suit and spent $3000 of the film’s budget on a ‘neck exercising machine’, so that he could develop a thicker neck for the role.

Producer Kevin Messick said: “Bale is so detailed. He had fly fishing [Cheney’s hobby] and movement coaches to get Cheney’s gait right, but the weirdest bill we got was for a $3,000 neck machine. He wanted to exercise the muscles to look more like Dick.”

Director Adam McKay added: “He thickened his entire neck in this crazy way. He is wearing a fat suit for parts of the film.

“He needed some of the weight for himself to feel the character, so he did put on weight, but we didn’t want him to go beyond a certain point for the early years. We also insisted he did it with a doctor.”

Bale famously lost a staggering 62lbs for the movie The Machinist in 2004, playing an incurable insomniac. He would eat a single apple a day and drink only water and sometimes whiskey.

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