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Christian Bale Getty 1.jpg

Let's Pour One Out For Christian Bale's Metabolism

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Celebrity | August 16, 2018 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Celebrity | August 16, 2018 |

Christian Bale Getty 1.jpg

Look, Christian Bale is a great actor, that’s not really up for debate. He’s proven himself time and time again in an array of roles, starting from his adolescence and ending as recently as The Big Short. He’s got an Oscar on his shelf, a free pass to the Batcave and the right to sing Huey Lewis and the News as loud as he wants in public. However, I would also argue that there is no actor working today who is so heavily defined by his physical transformations as Christian Bale. Daniel Day-Lewis was famed for his own sturdy Method approach but he was discussed more in terms of inhabiting a character and not how many pounds he gained or shed for the part. Bale is contextualized almost exclusively by the numbers on the scale. That’s partly what makes him so interesting to talk about.

It’s nothing new for an actor to put on or lose weight in a dramatic fashion, nor is the concept of rewarding someone for it, but seldom do actors do this with the regularity of Bale. For one, it’s usually not recommended by doctors, unless their name is Nick Riviera. Yet Bale seemingly does this all the time.

He put on 100lb of muscle to play Batman and lost 53lb for The Machinist (he actually wanted to lose more but the crew warned against it). Then he packed it on again for American Hustle but not before he lost a bunch more for The Fighter, which won him his Oscar. Oh, and he lost it for Hostiles too. His next film is Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic, where he plays the title role. He was rumoured to have put on 100lb for that by ‘eating lots of pie’, and now he’s in James Mangold’s Ford vs Ferrari and he’s back to lean Bale.

True story: Bale was originally supposed to be in Michael Mann’s Enzo Ferrari movie but was worried the required weight gain would screw with his metabolism.


I get that this is a thing many actors find helps with their process. I get that it’s an issue of authenticity if you’re playing a real person and I imagine it’s hard to turn down the glowing accolades one gets for undergoing such a transformative process. But dear lord this poor man’s metabolism. Have you tried acting, dear?

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Kayleigh is a features writer and editor for Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter or listen to her podcast, The Hollywood Read.

Header Image Source: Getty Images.