Christian Bale Became a Creepy Real Life Stalker to Get Into a Role

Christian Bale Became a Creepy Real Life Stalker to Get Into a Role
Image credit: Legion-Media

What does it take for an actor to get ready for a role in a movie?

Some read, watch, and listen to anything that is relevant and might help them understand the character's motivation and reasoning behind their actions. If the character is based on a real person, it makes sense to watch the person move and talk in order to later portray them as closely as possible.

This is what Christian Bale did to inhabit his character for Amsterdam, a film by David O. Russell about a trio of friends who witness a murder in New York City in 1933.

In his interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Batman actor admitted that he went into full stalker mode to copy the characteristics of a stranger to play the film's Burt Berendsen.

"I remember one time talking on the phone to David and I saw this amazingly interesting guy walking down the street," Bale recalls. "I just became a weirdo stalker following him and studying him. So he's a big influence, whoever he is out there. I don't know his name. He'll never know, either."

Bale revealed that it was not only this stranger on the street, but also "certain hand gestures" of his son. There was another character that influenced Bale's Berendsen.

He recalled a project about an art dealer – "a gentleman who had an injury to his face" and who "certainly came back and influenced [Burt]."

Dark Knight is a good example of what it really takes to prepare for a role. Sometimes you can die in the process. That happened to Heath Ledger when he was preparing to play the Joker. The role ultimately killed him. Back in 2007, he spoke with Empire to reveal what the process was like.

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He revealed that he locked himself in a room in a London hotel and spent time "reading all the comic books" he could that were relevant to the script. Then he would close his eyes and meditate. He also had a diary and did some experiments with voices and laughter. T

he preparation landed Ledger in "the realm of a psychopath — someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts", the Joker actor admitted. And according to his father, who read all of the hard-to-read diary entries, Heath Ledger got too deep into his character. It is fair to say that the Joker took Ledger's life when the actor, already suffering from insomnia and physically and mentally drained, accidentally overdosed on a mixture of painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills.