When Christopher Nolan first approached Christian Bale about the role, the actor was in a particularly unique physical state, having slimmed down considerably in order to portray the emaciated insomniac of director Brad Anderson’s “The Machinist.” While Nolan was, of course, familiar with Bale’s work, he still wanted to make sure the actor knew what he had in mind for Bruce Wayne. Bale recalled Nolan telling him about his dilemma in a “Making of ‘Batman Begins'” featurette:
“He did call me and say, ‘Well, you know, how do you look right now? You know? How am I going to seriously be able to suggest to Warner Bros. that you could play Batman ever if you’re that skinny?'”
After making “The Machinist,” Bale set to work on a training regimen that would allow him to bulk up his body considerably, thanks to Nolan having “impressed upon him the idea that for Bruce Wayne to really fill that suit he was going to have to be very, very large,” the director said.
Bale pushed his calorie intake while lifting weights, enough to bring his weight up to 220 pounds. Clearly, Bale’s bulking up had gone a little too far, and Nolan had to find a way to “gently suggest” that the actor slim down again. As Bale remembered the incident:
“I just listened to what he said about, ‘Get as big as you possibly can,’ so that’s what I did, you know? But I was kind of like a bear, I wasn’t really, like, a martial arts guy. All lean and ripped and everything like that. I could see the look on Chris’ face, you know? He looked to me and it was like, ‘Oh Christ, what has this guy done?'”
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