I went on a road trip this past weekend, and the prospect of four hours in the car prompted my boyfriend to bring up a diversionary discussion topic he doesn't normally explore: my sexual interest in celebrities. Which is actually very limited, with two exceptions: Antonio Banderas (circa Desperado, not circa Spy Kids 3) and Christian Bale. Meeting and interviewing Christian Bale put me about as close as I get to fan-girly, and all my female friends were screamingly jealous. My boyfriend, however, was dubious, largely because of Bale's past roles. He asked whether I actually thought any of Bale's characters would really be any good in the sack.
And when I started thinking about it… Actually, no. Sure, smoldering intensity can be pretty sexy, but when that intensity doesn't make it to the bedroom (or worse, it does but it isn't actually aimed at the partner or the act), it just gets in the way. Thinking about it, it's entirely possible that sex symbol Christian Bale has never played a character who'd be worth the trouble of sleeping with. Here's my scorecard:
3:10 To Yuma: Unexpressive. Plays things close to the vest. Grim. Secretly defensive with too much to prove. Might open up in private and might consider decent cocksmanship another sign of his must-be-proven-constantly manliness, but also might consider foreplay a sign of weakness. Thumbs down.
The Prestige: Good with his hands, but way too obsessive, and not about sex. Even in bed, he'd be thinking about how to improve his palming technique, and not in that beneficial-to-you way. And he's only around half the time anyway.
The New World: See 3:10 To Yuma.
Batman Begins: Might fake it okay, since he's had a lot of practice for his secret identity, but you're always going to come in second to his dead parents, his martyr complex, his secret fear that any time wasted on foreplay is time that some lunatic is out killing up Gotham City, and his pondering over whether that smear of white clay at the scene of the crime could only have come from the Murder City lime-pits, or Joe Kerr's Pottery Outlet.
Harsh Times: Ugh. A sexist, shallow, self-satisfied, womanizing player. Not only would he be bang-bang-bang-gone, he'd call you a frigid bitch if you didn't like it. And then he'd steal your bottle of Jack on the way out the door.
The Machinist: No energy due to prolonged starvation and insomnia. Also, his ribs and hips would poke painful new holes in any partner.
Equilibrium: Chemically castrated, trained not to show emotion, judgmental of those who do, prone to romantic idealization from afar. Damaged goods; avoid avoid avoid.
Reign Of Fire: Too embarrassed about being in this movie to relax and open up emotionally.
American Psycho: Please. We get to SEE him have sex, and it's a degrading, painful, physically and mentally damaging affair for his partners, if not for all concerned. Might be worth it just to watch him kissing his own biceps, though.
Velvet Goldmine: Gay. Oh, you lucky gay men, you.
Newsies: Young, naïve, potentially fun. But he'd sing (and dance) about it later, with 25 of his closest male friends.
Empire Of The Sun: As David Spade once said, "In this country, we call that 'kiddie porn.'"
This admittedly leaves out some films I haven't seen yet (Rescue Dawn, I'm Not There, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Shaft, All The Little Animals, Swing Kids), as well as some I have seen but don't really remember him in. (Portrait Of A Lady, Laurel Canyon, Little Women, A Midsummer Night's Dream). Maybe there's a character in there somewhere with at least a middlin' interest in sex, instead of a laser-focused obsession with revenge, violence, magic, guilt, dragons, "papes," or other such ephemera. If so, I'd like to know about it. Gotta fuel the fantasy, after all.