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Join Date: Dec 2009
Re: Characterization of the Knight - Nolan and Bale's Bruce Wayne/Batman - Part 2
Very nice Bale interview. LMFAO is his favorite right now.
End of the Knight for Bale
IT'S been almost a decade since Christian Bale, 38, first donned the mask and cape as Batman. Now he is doing it for the last time in The Dark Knight Rises.
"It's a bittersweet experience. There's an awful lot I've taken away from these three films. I've made some great friendships, particularly with (director) Chris Nolan," Bale says. "There are others whom I miss daily. Heath (Ledger), for instance. He's been an integral part."
The Welsh-born actor recalls the moment he first stepped into the career-defining role.
"Almost nine years ago when the franchise began, I was awestruck by playing such an iconic character," he says.
"Thinking about it now, when I shot the last scene of the last movie, I reflected on everything it meant to me throughout the years. It was incredibly meaningful."
Produced for a reported budget of $366 million, it's a safe bet Warner Bros will make a hefty profit considering the franchise's track record: Batman Begins, in 2005, grossed $US372 million, and The Dark Knight, in 2008, raked in almost $1 billion.
As the figurehead for such a financially viable enterprise, Bale's stock rose considerably.
"Until Batman, the financiers on many projects would tell directors or producers who wanted to cast me, 'Don't even mention Christian Bale to me'," he says.
"I'd often hear from directors who wanted me in a film, 'Look, I'm sorry, but the money people just won't let me cast you'.
"Who knows? Talk to me in a few years' time. I might be back in that same position.
"But in the interim I've gotten to make some wonderful films I'm very proud of."
Bale won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Fighter, in 2010. He also starred in Terminator Salvation the year earlier, when his reputation for being "difficult" became public knowledge owing to a profanity-laced tirade towards one of the crew.
In 2008, on the eve of The Dark Knight premiere in London, he was arrested for assault against his mother and sister, although charges were later dropped. The argument was reportedly caused by his family's financial situation.
"I'm sure everyone has moments when we feel like we should be ecstatically happy and we can't figure out the reason why we're not. Like, something is missing," he says.
"Life throws you curve balls, as it does to everyone. I'm no different."
It seems for now, Bale couldn't be more content. Living in Los Angeles since 1992, he maintains a regular lifestyle with his wife of 12 years, Sandra "Sibi" Blazic, 42, and their daughter, Emmeline, 7.
"I get no more joy than being with my daughter and my family," he says.
Now more candid about his private life, Bale talks about taking his family on location. "I believe in sticking together. I travel to wonderful places and I want my daughter to be a part of that. So, no, I'm not a Skype-Dad. And anyway, I'm bloody awful with technology. I would always balls-up Skype," he says with a laugh.
The Dark Knight Rises was shot in New York, Los Angeles, Glasgow, and Jodhpur.
The story picks up eight years after The Dark Knight. It binds the three films together as a cohesive unit, and offers an emotional roller-coaster for fans of the mythology.
While the movie is first and foremost entertainment, it includes some political and of-the-moment social undertones. In a stroke of serendipity, the storyline contained subject matter in common with what was happening in the world.
"We were shooting in November and Occupy Wall Street was happening two blocks away. It was uncanny that one of the themes of the movie had actually come to happen in society," says Bale.
"But it's in the eye of the beholder as to whether or not it needs to resonate more than just as entertainment."
Michael Caine returns as loyal butler Alfred, as do Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Morgan Freeman who reprises the role of Lucius Fox.
The newcomers include Anne Hathaway as a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners Catwoman, Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, Contagion) as a Wayne Enterprises board member, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer, Inception) as a good cop.
In the pivotal role as the menacing villain and Batman's nemesis Bane, British actor Tom Hardy (Warrior, Inception) was cast.
While Bane isn't as widely known as the Joker, he is a formidable threat.
"Tom really goes the distance, way beyond what most other actors would do. He's created a phenomenon and a villain that stands by itself," Bale says.
He sees the role of Hathaway's Catwoman/Selina Kyle as inspirational.
"I think Selina Kyle is a very positive influence on young girls. I believe it's important to have great female role models," he says. "It's funny. I never used to listen to female singers, though now I do an awful lot because I want (Emmeline) to know that she can do anything that a man can do."
Bale is the youngest of four children. His mother was a clown and a dancer in a circus, and his father, a trained pilot, worked sporadically. The family split up when he was a teenager and he lived an unsettling existence, moving over 15 times as a child. His childhood years as an actor, starting at 13 in Empire of the Sun, were fraught with unhappiness. He grew up quickly when he became the breadwinner of his family.
His daughter leads a very different existence.
"My dream for her is to have the freedom to choose whatever she wants to do," he says. And he's against her joining him in the business.
"In an amateur fashion, I'll support any passion she has, but I wouldn't want her to be acting professionally. If she chose this career, she'd have to have a hell of a life before her."
It might be all serious business at work, but he knows how to lighten up at home.
"My daughter has me dancing and singing to songs I would have never imagined. Nowadays, LMFAO is one of my favourites. It's rejuvenating," he says, laughing.
What does Emmeline think of having an action figure in her parent's image? "She understands it's not really me. She knows I'm pretending." He leans forward. "But I can't deny it's not a kick for her and her friends. They enjoy it when I do the voice and chase them around pretending to be Batman," he says, smiling broadly.
"And I enjoy it, too."