Christian Bale’s performance makes American Psycho one of the best movies ever made. He’s just so threatening, and captures Patrick Bateman’s pretentiousness perfectly. It was a struggle to get made with him in the role, to the point he took the smallest paycheck possible.
“Nobody wanted me to do it except the director. So they said they would only make it if they could pay me that amount,” Bale told GQ. “I was prepping for it when other people were playing the part. I was still prepping for it. And, you know, it moved on. I lost my mind. But I won it back.”
Getting paid so little had ramifications on Bale’s personal life. “The first thing was that I’d taken so long trying to do it, and they had paid me the absolute minimum they were legally allowed to pay me,” he recalls, “and I had a house that I was sharing with my dad and my sister and that was getting repossessed. So the first thing was: ‘Holy crap. I’ve got to get a bit of money’.”
To put in context how little he made, it was a running joke among some of the crew. “I remember one time sitting in the makeup trailer and the makeup artists were laughing at me because I was getting paid less than any of them,” he states. “And so that was my motivation after that. Was just: ‘I got to get enough that the house doesn’t get repossessed’.”
Surprising in more ways than one, considering the success the thriller movie was critically and commercially. It was the film that truly made Bale a star, pushing him to become one of the biggest actors of his generation. He’s since been in Batman movies, Marvel movies, drama movies, Oscar winners, the whole lot.
To this day, his motivation remains the same. “It’s how I’ve supported people since I was 12, 13-years-old. So it’s always been there, that element to it,” he says. “There was never a moment where it was like, ‘I think I’d like to take four years off’. No. That just isn’t gonna happen. That’s not possible.”
You can currently see Bale in Thor: Love and Thunder on Disney Plus, and in Amsterdam, in theatres now.