Christian Bale‘s new film, Hostiles, written and directed by Scott Cooper, touches on themes that hit close to home for the actor and his adopted country.
The film’s stars, including Bale, Rosamund Pike, and Wes Studi, stopped by BUILD Series NYC to discuss their new movie, which, although it is set in 1852, has relevance in the era of President Trump. Hostiles follows Bale’s character, Capt. Joseph J. Blocker, who takes a Cheyenne war chief (Studi) and his family back to their native land. The cast discussed how Hostiles reflects today’s political climate.
“We didn’t realize how relevant this would come to be,” Bale exclaimed. “It started to be [relevant] during the filming, and then became very much so after filming, when you started to see the comfort with which Americans were starting to express their hatred for other Americans, for other people different from them. Seeing that division becoming acceptable to some people.”
Dehumanization is a large part of the story, and Bale sees the current press tour as a “wonderful opportunity” to remind people that “we’ve been here before.”
“Division is not the way to go. Hatred of the other is not the way to go,” he said. “America is built on inclusion. I’m English, as you can hear it, but it’s my adopted country, and I love it to bits. Clearly, the direction we’re going in right now is a very, very troubling one.”
Studi also chimed in on the topic of art imitating life now. “As a person of color, I think I’ve lived with this the larger part of my life, and the unfortunate thing now is, since November , things have sort of turned back to where all of that is much more acceptable,” he added. “Over the years, it seemed like we really made some strides in society, to at least hide that part of our societal personality.”
Bale later added, “I think the whole thing that Wes was talking about since November is people try to kind of put it into a ‘red state, blue state’ thing, and I think that’s really the wrong message. I think it’s really disingenuous. Our culture will be so much richer the day that we stop saying, ‘Hey, it’s all white dudes who are running things,’ whether that be Hollywood or whether that be Washington.”
The hope Bale has for the future is evident, and he added that the inclusivity in the United States is “the reason I moved here.”
“It’s the reason my kids have American accents, is because it is that. It’s a country of inclusion and invitation,” he added.
To add another layer of irony in Bale’s life right now, the actor also recently wrapped playing Dick Cheney in another film. The actor said it was “very interesting” to step into that role, given current politics. “Endless conversations, research … it was fascinating,” he said. “We can talk about that next year.”
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