Sunday, June 29, 2008
Christian Bale calls Batman co-star Heath Ledger a 'kindred spirit'
Actor Christian Bale is handsome, charming, and deliciously mysterious. Though he's acted since he was 12 — starring in films such as "Empire of the Sun," "American Psycho," "The Prestige," and "3:10 to Yuma" — he cherishes his privacy and is known to evade the press. Example: He's never publicly revealed the true name of his 3-year-old daughter. He and wife Sibi have been married since 2000. Christian's father, David Bale, an activist and adventurer, married Gloria Steinem the same year but died just three years later.
Bale is jumping in the Batmobile again in "The Dark Knight," the follow-up to his hugely successful "Batman Begins." And although he remains as guarded as Bruce Wayne, Bale spoke recently with passion about his work and his family.
Your co-star Heath Ledger, who plays The Joker, died tragically after the film wrapped. Do you mind talking about him?
"No, listen, I want to talk about Heath. When you miss somebody, you want to speak about him. He was a unique character, a very infectious character. He was a good man, and I was glad to have spent time with him. He was somebody who I'd been seeing on a daily basis for months. It takes a long time to accept that someone's gone, when all body and mind are telling you that this is somebody you will know for a great deal of time. He was something of a kindred spirit to myself."
It must be difficult.
"Much of it has to do with my respect for his daughter, whom he loved so dearly and whom he would talk about so often. For me, that is of incredible importance. I hope in a small way that "The Dark Knight" can be a celebration of his work. Not like the hideous circus after he died, which I felt was an invasion of a private life. This movie is not a personal home video. This is what he did. I hope people will embrace that in the correct fashion. "
Did you have heroes growing up?
"Not traditional idols — certainly not superheroes. I don't think I was particularly in need of that. I never had any fascination with Superman or Spider-Man or a Batman kind of character. If it happened at all, it was imagined characters that I had invented. My dad was a role model for me. He was a fascinating man. There was intrigue and entertainment growing up with him. He gave me an edict that I still pursue: 'Life should never be boring.'"
Your mother was a circus dancer for a while, and you never lived in one place very long while growing up. How did that shape you?
"Life is not stable. There is a great strength that comes from not being shocked or scared by upheavals. I wasn't always, but I am now grateful for that."
As a parent, do you long for your daughter to have more stability or to grow up with that same unexpectedness?
"I hope that it will be a choice. Standing on my father's shoulders, I find my life and work are unpredictable always. When it comes to being a father and my family, I'm absolutely predictable. Through the incredible position I've found myself in, I hope that with my daughter there will be a choice of stability or constant adventure."
Has being married and becoming a father made you less of a risk-taker?
"There's a very hard line you find in yourself when you become a parent, an absolute belief that cannot be questioned. It's something that you will kill and die for in a way that you never experienced before. I've always enjoyed the gray in life. This is an area of total black and white. This is something that is unquestionable."
How would you describe yourself as a dad? Silly sometimes?
"Absolutely. I'm a court jester. My wife and daughter come with me on location. It's the most ideal mix. These wonderful distractions actually make me better at what I do."
Any thoughts on the future?
"I'm accustomed to not having any kind of map for my life. I'd be reaching for an Uzi if I knew what was going to happen every day. If anybody tells me I shouldn't jump, of course all I want to do is jump and show it can be done."
Do you aspire to an easier approach to life?
"Eventually, but for now I like the fight. No matter the advice about taking it easy, I don't want to."
SOURCE: PARADE MAGAZINE
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