Christian Bale has had plenty of standout roles throughout the years, from Laurie in Little Women and Batman to, uh, Dick Cheney. One that has particularly stood the test of time is his starring turn as American Psycho’s ‘80s serial killer Patrick Bateman. Who could forget his little dance to “Hip To Be Square” before axe murdering Jared Leto?
In a new interview with GQ, the Welsh-born actor looks back on the making of the 2000 film, which emphasized the comedy in Bret Easton Ellis’ novel and brought Bale’s potential as a leading man to a new level. However, he wasn’t the first choice for the role. Billy Crudup was attached at one point, as well as a post-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio, who would have commanded a $20 million paycheck on a movie that otherwise had a $6 million dollar budget. Bale? Not so much.
“...I remember one time sitting in the makeup trailer and the makeup artists were laughing at me because I was getting paid less than any of them,” Bale recalls, after describing his paycheck as “the absolute minimum” amidst fears that his house would get repossessed.
The DiCaprio casting came from studio Lionsgate, but director Mary Harron thought that a recognizable star would be distracting in the film, as much as he would guarantee an audience. She fought for Bale’s inclusion, even though her own job was at risk.
“Nobody wanted me to do it except the director,” he tells GQ. “So they said they would only make it if they could pay me that amount. I was prepping for it when other people were playing the part. I was still prepping for it. And, you know, it moved on. I lost my mind. But I won it back.”
Of course, the risks paid off all around, and American Psycho has endured as a pop culture fixture. Bale was seen earlier this year in Thor: Love And Thunder and stars in forthcoming releases Amsterdam and The Pale Blue Eye.