Are we the only ones, or is it incredibly unsettling that Bale based his Patrick Bateman performance on the personality of Hollywood’s most powerful actor?..
American Psycho is a phenomenal piece of cinema, and in many ways, it owes its success to the acting genius of Christian Bale. The actor pulled off an increasingly unnerving, Uncanny Valley-ish performance of a grotesque psychopath going down the rabbit hole before the viewer’s eyes, and the latter can’t help but wonder…
Where did this brilliant performance come from?
Many actors draw their inspiration from real-life people, and Bale is no exception. A famous method actor, he’s known for immersing himself deeply into the character he’s portraying, and mending his and the character’s psyches together to truly understand the nature of the person he’s trying to embody.
American Psycho, however, was based on a novel and not on a real person, right? Sure, but as Christian Bale admitted, there was an actual person he studied to accurately portray Patrick Bateman — and as scary as it sounds, it was one of Hollywood’s most powerful actors who gave him all the inspiration he needed.
Tom Cruise is known for his magnetic charm and charisma, and the world positively knows him for these qualities. Bale was able to go layers deeper — and discovered something rather unsettling. Something that he took as the basis of his American Psycho character and perfected to show a properly insane on-screen sadist.
In Cruise’s public appearances, it was his “very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes” that caught Bale’s attention — as the actor himself put it. He thought it was a great basis for a psychopath character that wants to appear as something that he isn’t, so he drew inspiration from Cruise’s Letterman interview.
This Cruise-esque appearance was what captivated people around Patrick Bateman in American Psycho — both his on-screen circle and the audiences back at home. The study of the Mission: Impossible star allowed Christian Bale to create this brilliant and unmatched performance that has you on the edge of your seat.
American Psycho is a great movie, but…we can’t shake off the unease after the revelation that Patrick Bateman was largely based on Tom Cruise.