“The Fighter” features one of Christian Bale’s best performances to date, an uncanny portrayal of real-life boxer Dicky Eklund. Dicky had an instant in the spotlight after being the first to knock down Sugar Ray Leonard, and a long period in the shadows battling drug addiction.
Bale, 36, dropped from 180 pounds to 137, thinned his hair and adopted a vowel-flattening “Baaston” accent to play the ravaged welterweight, but the real power of his performance is its emotional punch. His work is generating huge Oscar buzz. In a recent phone interview, he discussed the role and his lifelong acting career.
The Welsh actor made his screen breakthrough at 12 in Steven Spielberg’s dark WWII epic “Empire of the Sun” as a British schoolboy separated from his parents during the Japanese occupation of China. After forgettable juvenile roles came a series of period costume dramas that seemed to type Bale as another vanilla Brit fated to play a series of fancy-dressed gents.Continue Reading