Christian Bale is known for his blazing intensity in such films as the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy and ‘American Psycho,’ but he had to change up his character for Scott Cooper’s Rust Belt drama ‘Out of the Furnace.’
The Rust Belt town of Braddock just outside of Pittsburgh is the sort of blue-collar enclave where factories once gave residents the promise of lifelong jobs at good union wages — the kind of place where resilience and character were more highly valued than possessions or status.
It’s that world that Braddock native Russell Baze has watched slip away in ”Out of the Furnace,” the searing new drama from writer-director Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart”) opening in theaters Wednesday. As played by Christian Bale, Russell is motivated by love and loyalty — a good man beset on all sides by turmoil. He is ceaselessly confronted by tragedy, yet he marshals his emotional reserves, even in the face of heartbreak.
“There’s a stillness to the character, a stillness that’s he’s had to have his entire life,” Bale said in a recent interview. “He’s had to put a hold on his impulses in order to be the patriarch of the family and to take on those responsibilities without going and screaming his head off. There’s no whining or complaining or wishing that it’s going to change. That’s stoicism, isn’t it?”
Bale, by contrast, is largely recognized for his relentless intensity, his determination to follow his creative impulses down wild and unpredictable paths, his willingness to radically reshape his body to conform to each new role. He also has a reputation, owing mostly to one unfortunate and well documented on-set outburst, as a temperamental leading man, quick to anger with little patience for Hollywood glad-handing.Continue Reading