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Christian Bale was paid the legal minimum for American Psycho

American Psycho was a massive film for Christian Bale, but he reveals the thriller movie didn't pay him all that well, not that he was complaining.

Christian Bale in American Psycho

Hollywood paychecks can be funny. From the outside, it seems making a hit new movie guarantees you’re in the money, but that’s not always the case. Frequently, stars make relatively little to start with, and that’s what happened to Christian Bale on one of his most famous thriller movies.


Coming into ‘90s movie American Psycho, Bale had been in a number of films, but nothing had truly become big. He recalled to GQ that he received the smallest amount feasible for an actor in his position, and he happily took it.

“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 says. “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.'”

The budget on the horror movie was hardly massive, but there was some weight behind American Psycho, directed by Mary Harron. Bale remembers getting some ribbing for the pay gap on-set.

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“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 remembers. “And so that was my motivation after that. [It] was just: ‘I got to get enough that the house doesn’t get repossessed’.”

A fair reasoning, and now that he’s been a Batman actor, a Marvel villain, and starred in umpteen drama movies besides, he’s probably got some change to go around. Have a look at our Batman movies guide if this has you in the mood to revisit his time as the Dark Knight.