You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bale weight loss not new

For 'The Fighter' he dropped 30 lbs.

Christian Bale wasn’t always a contender for “The Fighter.”

Over the years that star and producer Mark Wahlberg struggled to make the fact-based boxing film about unlikely champ Micky Ward, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were attached at various times to play Dicky Eklund, Ward’s half-brother, trainer and crackhead.

Yet watching Bale onscreen, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else so fully inhabiting the role. Physically transformed, thanks to a 30-pound weight loss and a fake set of decaying teeth, Bale’s Dicky is also an emotionally ravaged soul, a man haunted by the wasted promise of his own career in the ring but ultimately redeemed by his love for, and belief in, his younger brother.

Bale’s commitment to the film was complete, if not totally surprising. For “The Fighter,” the Welsh-born actor went straight to the source, learning to box by training with the real-life Dicky, a process that helped him to mimic the former pro boxer’s unique ring style and also allowed him to better understand his struggles.

“If it wasn’t for the crack he could have been a champion,” Bale recently told Esquire. “If there was a title for staying up all week partying, never sleeping, and then having a fight, he’d win that hands down. He’d be out drinking until eight hours before he stepped in the ring.”

Any concerns Bale had about having Dicky on set while he worked quickly melted away.

“I could never stand by quietly and watch an actor play me, but Dicky did,” Bale said, “and he really came to trust the portrayal I was giving of him.”

So much so that brother Micky has proclaimed of Bale’s performance, “I think he plays a better Dicky than Dicky.”

Just don’t dare tell Bale that his memorable turn seems likely to earn him his first Oscar nomination.

“Here’s the thing,” he said recently to Back Stage. “You should never talk about stuff like that because no matter what answer you give, you’re a cock. If you say you don’t care about any of that — well, why not? It’s flattering, it’s human. Or you can say, ‘I really want it.’ And who do you think you are? You just can’t talk about it either way.”

More from Eye on the Oscars: The Actor
The buck goes there
LEAD ACTOR
Leonard DiCaprio | Robert Duvall | Jesse Eisenberg | Colin Firth |James Franco | Ryan Gosling
Lead actors in the mix
SUPPORTING ACTOR
Andrew Garfield | Jeremy Renner | Geoffrey Rush | Mark Ruffalo | Christian Bale | Sam Rockwell
Supporting actors in the mix

More Film

  • 12th and Clairmount Movie Review

    Film Review: '12th and Clairmount'

    Christian Bale wasn’t always a contender for “The Fighter.” Over the years that star and producer Mark Wahlberg struggled to make the fact-based boxing film about unlikely champ Micky Ward, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were attached at various times to play Dicky Eklund, Ward’s half-brother, trainer and crackhead. Yet watching Bale onscreen, it’s […]

  • Sam Rockwell

    Film News Roundup: Palm Springs Festival Honors Sam Rockwell for 'Three Billboards'

    Christian Bale wasn’t always a contender for “The Fighter.” Over the years that star and producer Mark Wahlberg struggled to make the fact-based boxing film about unlikely champ Micky Ward, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were attached at various times to play Dicky Eklund, Ward’s half-brother, trainer and crackhead. Yet watching Bale onscreen, it’s […]

  • Project Runway

    Weinstein Co. Feeling Pressure to Find a Buyer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Christian Bale wasn’t always a contender for “The Fighter.” Over the years that star and producer Mark Wahlberg struggled to make the fact-based boxing film about unlikely champ Micky Ward, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were attached at various times to play Dicky Eklund, Ward’s half-brother, trainer and crackhead. Yet watching Bale onscreen, it’s […]

  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day review

    'Terminator' Writing Team Adds Billy Ray to Put Final Polish on Script

    Christian Bale wasn’t always a contender for “The Fighter.” Over the years that star and producer Mark Wahlberg struggled to make the fact-based boxing film about unlikely champ Micky Ward, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were attached at various times to play Dicky Eklund, Ward’s half-brother, trainer and crackhead. Yet watching Bale onscreen, it’s […]

  • Josh Hartnett, Margarita Levieva Starring in

    Josh Hartnett, Margarita Levieva Starring in Thriller 'Inherit the Viper'

    Christian Bale wasn’t always a contender for “The Fighter.” Over the years that star and producer Mark Wahlberg struggled to make the fact-based boxing film about unlikely champ Micky Ward, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were attached at various times to play Dicky Eklund, Ward’s half-brother, trainer and crackhead. Yet watching Bale onscreen, it’s […]

  • Mahershala Ali Burn

    Mahershala Ali to Star in, Executive Produce Crime Thriller 'Burn'

    Christian Bale wasn’t always a contender for “The Fighter.” Over the years that star and producer Mark Wahlberg struggled to make the fact-based boxing film about unlikely champ Micky Ward, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were attached at various times to play Dicky Eklund, Ward’s half-brother, trainer and crackhead. Yet watching Bale onscreen, it’s […]

  • Hermes holiday window

    Le Gentil Garcon Brings Classic Hollywood to Hermes for the Holidays

    Christian Bale wasn’t always a contender for “The Fighter.” Over the years that star and producer Mark Wahlberg struggled to make the fact-based boxing film about unlikely champ Micky Ward, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were attached at various times to play Dicky Eklund, Ward’s half-brother, trainer and crackhead. Yet watching Bale onscreen, it’s […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content