It goes without saying that some actors take things a bit too far when it comes to fitting the role for which they’ve been selected. On an average day Christian Bale looks like a pretty healthy guy and it’s been seen that he’s usually in decent shape if he has nothing coming up and needs to just take it easy. But when it comes time for a role he goes completely gung-ho and will either drop weight or gain it in a big way to create the type of character that you can believe since obviously it’s all too real. The Machinist, which Kevin Burwick of MovieWeb mentions a couple of times, was an extreme that he went to and achieved by eating just an apple and a can of tuna a day. Imagine that kind of diet, the moment that the apple was gone, hopefully down to the seeds if not close, and the tuna can was licked clean, that’s your daily meal. For Rescue Dawn he might have been given a little more since he wasn’t quite as emaciated, but it was still a frightening thing to look at. Thankfully it would seem that he’s going to stop the whole body morphing routine and will hopefully be counting on body suits or CGI from here on out. After all, being in his 40s at this point his body is likely already thanking him for making this decision.
He’s not the first or only person to do this honestly since others such as Edward Norton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Matthew McConaughey, and several others have undergone severe transformations that might have shortened their lifespans by a few years possibly considering how far they went with it. The only other actor I can think of that’s gone this nuts with a role and been so completely convincing was Daniel Day-Lewis, and since he’s retired it’s easy to think that he too is done with the method acting since he would insist upon living out his role as the people he was playing might have. At the very least Bale has gone back to living his life in a healthy and non-crazy manner, as much as possible, once the role is over. But considering that he’s had to fluctuate in weight from one role to another without a lot of time in-between you can just imagine how hard it is on his body to adjust in that manner. After all the human body wasn’t meant to blow up and deflate like a balloon on command. The moment a person starts playing the yo-yo game with their weight is the moment that their body runs the very real risk of going into shock if they’re not being carefully monitored.
Thankfully this was the case since it’s too obvious that on a movie set there have to be teams of people looking out for the welfare of the cash cows that are their star actors. Bale has had guidance when it comes to losing and gaining weight, but it still makes one think that most people, doctors especially, would cringe when realizing what he was trying to do. Why a person wouldn’t think that a state of the art body suit or CGI might not be okay is reasonable enough. People have actually shamed actors for using suits and CGI already has enough critics to make it less than appealing at times, but one thing that people should recognize is that even if a person can tell that either is being used, it creates a much safer experience for the actor and doesn’t force them to go this nuts when it comes to fitting into a role. Bale has been one of those that has gone completely around the bend when it comes to fitting into his character, as The Machinist, The Fighter, the Batman movies, his time as Dick Cheney, and American Hustle have all been good examples of when he’s taken things to an extreme that most people couldn’t even fathom. Just thinking about that kind of rapid weight loss is painful since it would mean not eating, exercising or not depending upon how the character is supposed to look, and possibly eating excessively if the character is supposed to be heavier. In short, it’s a lot of extra work for the body to deal with, and the type that might actually prove harmful if it’s taken to the kind of extremes that can produce these kind of results.
It’s great to hear that he’s done doing this, but the hope is that he’ll stay done and start relying on other methods to get into character or perhaps start taking roles that are made for men his size and therefore don’t require that much work to achieve. He’s still too young to lose to a heart attack to be honest, and had he kept going in such a manner it could have happened.