Fair warning: you’re not going to learn anything about “The Dark Knight Rises” in this story or interview with Christian Bale. It’s not that Bale wouldn’t answer such questions, but when you’re sitting down to discuss his already acclaimed performance in David O. Russell’s “The Fighter,” there really isn’t time.
Based on a true story, “The Fighter” finds Bale playing Dicky Eklund, a former boxer who battled his own addictions to crack cocaine while trying to train his brother, Micky Ward, to a championship title fight. The picture features another physical transformation by Bale, who made waves when he went skin and bones for “The Machinist” a few years back, and has been known to bulk up for his role as Batman in Chris Nolan’s “Dark Knight” series.
I’ve interviewed Bale a number of times over the yeras, but this has to have been the most animated and happy I’ve ever seen him. I can’t imagine it’s that he’s grown more accustomed to the press (usually the opposite occurs), but instead, it appeared to be his own genuine excitement over the very positive reaction to “The Fighter.” Along with Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech,” Bale is currently a frontrunner to win the Oscar for best supporting actor and has already received that honor from the National Board of Review. And he’s not the only “Fighter” star getting awards attention. Amy Adams might just make another showing at the Oscars herself.
A two-time best supporting actress nominee for “Junebug” and “Doubt,” Adams gives one of her best and subtlest performances as Charlene, Ward’s girlfriend who tries to help him escape the negative influence of Dicky and Ward’s mother (Melissa Leo). A lot of awards heat has been on Leo’s over-the-top turn, but I’m convinced critics will give stronger notices for Adams when national reviews begin to appear later this week.
My very energetic sit down with Bale is embedded at the top of this post. The always charming Adams can be found in the video below. They are well worth checking out.
“The Fighter” opens in limited release on Dec. 10. It expands nationwide on Dec. 17.
Follow Gregory Ellwood and Awards Campaign on Twitter @HitFixGregory