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04th Jan 2018

Christian Bale on what it felt like to lose so much weight for his role in The Machinist

Paul Moore

The actor lost a staggering 62 lbs for the role.

De Niro in Raging Bull. Tom Hardy in Bronson. Vincent D’Onofrio in Full Metal Jacket. Rob McElhenney in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Just some of the actors that cultivated mass in order for a role but none of them can compete with Christian Bale when it comes to transforming their bodies.

Well, maybe Mac but he put on 50lbs purely for a laugh. True story.

Since grabbing Hollywood’s attention in Steven Spielberg’s WW2 drama Empire of the Sun, Christian Bale has established himself as one of the most talented and driven actors around. The transformation that the Welsh actor undertook from his role in The Machinist to Batman Begins is the stuff of Hollywood legend.

After fasting on a diet of “water, an apple and one cup of coffee per day, with the occasional whiskey,” the actor lost 62 pounds and developed a skeletal frame that was required for his character.

As you may know, that film revolves a character named Trevor Reznik and his battles with insomnia and psychological problems. After a serious workplace accident involving a co-worker (Ironside), Reznik is fired and goes into a downward spiral of paranoia and delusion.

The impact was certainly felt on Bale’s own body as he lost a dramatic amount of weight.

Speaking with The Guardian to promote his new film Hostiles, Bale spoke candidly about the impact that such dramatic weight loss had on his psyche and physicality.

“It’s an amazing experience doing that. When you’re so skinny that you can hardly walk up a flight of stairs … you’re, like, this being of pure thought. It’s like you’ve abandoned your body. That’s the most Zen-like state I’ve ever been in my life. Two hours sleep, reading a book for 10 hours straight without stopping … unbelievable. You couldn’t rile me up. No rollercoaster of emotions. Alas, it doesn’t last. As soon as you start putting the food back in your stomach, the rollercoaster comes back.”

Bale has previously lost a considerable amount of weight to play a boxer-turned-drug addict in The Fighter. He won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role portraying Dicky Eklund in that film. He also packed on 43 pounds for his role in American Hustle.

 As for Bale’s next film, his transformation to play ex-Vice President Dick Cheney Dick Cheney is further proof of Bale’s commitment to his craft.