He is best known for his turn as American psycho Patrick Bateman, Grammaton Cleric John Preston, and the masked vigilante Batman. Bale is also known for his versatility as an actor, including mimicking accents, harsh regimens of shedding and gaining weight (particularly for The Machinist and Batman Begins), and generally inhabiting the characters he plays. Before he found success in playing Batman, he was heavily involved in independent film.
Christian Bale was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, the youngest of four children, to English parents, the businessman David Bale and circus performer Jenny James. Bale spent his childhood in several countries including the United Kingdom, Portugal, and the United States. David Bale was the driving force behind Christian Bale's entry into acting, and his resignation from his job as a commercial pilot allowed him to fulfill a desire to travel the world and manage his son's burgeoning career.The Bale family left Wales in 1976, when Christian Bale was two years of age. Having a mother who made her living at a circus was an interesting experience for him; he recalled receiving his first kiss from an acrobat named Barta. As a child, he trained in ballet and on the guitar. His sister Louise's work in theatre also influenced his decision to become an actor.
Bale's first foray into acting was a Lenor commercial in 1982, when he was 8. He appeared in a Pac-Man cereal commercial playing a child rock star a year later. In 1984, he made his stage debut in the West End play The Nerd, opposite Rowan Atkinson.
He made his film debut as Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia in the made-for-television film Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna in 1986, which was followed by leading roles in the miniseries Heart of the Country and the fantasy adventure Mio in the Land of Faraway, in which he appeared for the first time with Christopher Lee.
Sure enough, Bale played an assortment of diverse characters from 2001 onwards. His first role after "American Psycho" was in the John Madden adaptation of the best-selling novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which was a significant departure from the novel. Bale played Mandras, a Greek fisherman who vied with Nicolas Cage's title character for the affections of the desirable Pelagia (Penelope Cruz). The Mandras of the novel was a more developed character with his own subplot; Bale's Mandras was relegated to a supporting character, and his subplot was eliminated, much of the camera being devoted to Corelli and Pelagia. Captain Corelli's Mandolin was Bale's second time working with John Hurt, after All the Little Animals.
Like his father, Bale is known as a conservationist and an animal lover, and is a supporter of conservation and animal welfare groups like Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. Bale gained the famous feminist activist Gloria Steinem as a stepmother through his father's marriage to her on September 3, 2000, before his death in 2003.
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