The Story Of Christian Bale's The Machinist Transformation Is Insane

15 May 2020
Health, Exercise, Workout, Transformation, Movie, The Machinist, Christian Bale, Calories, Hollywood, Body Transformation
Image: Paramount
Reckon you could live on 200 calories a day?

Christian Bale has rightly earned himself a reputation as Hollywood's undisputed king of transformations, in both style and substance. He's a man able to assume just about any role and embody anyone as accurately as possible, whether it be Bruce Wayne or Patrick Bateman, but over the years he's proven that no-one else is able to physically conform to a movie gig in such a spectacular way as he has.

Bale's ability to make himself near-unrecognisable from his former self has already gone down in Hollywood legend, with the actor taking himself from obesity to undernourishment and all manner of states in between countless times over the years. However it was in 2005 thriller The Machinist where his appearance was at its most shocking.

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The gaunt, puckered face and weird, almost distorted skeletal frame of Christian Bale's Trevor Reznik in The Machinist has gone down as one of his most memorable turns on the silver screen. It also shows Bale at his most method, as he shed over 25kg from his every-day stature in four months to play the insomniac industrial worker.

But the grim reality of how he got there is equally as dark.

"I came up with the absolutely brilliant method of just smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey to lose weight,” Bale told, reflecting on the role. Of course, this isn't the long and short of it, but it's pretty close. Bale has since expanded that his daily diet, dubbed the "Black Coffee Fast", consisted of black coffee, a solitary apple and a tin of tuna every day.

That equates to a daily intake of about 200 calories. And incredibly, the 54kg final weight Bale eventually reached reportedly wasn't enough for him. Bale wanted to cut down to a mere 45kg, however the film's producers stopped him for health reasons.

Needless to say, the now far-older Bale has announced that his days of fasting, gorging and intense training are essentially over., even though in just the past couple of years, he had to gain almost 30kg and lose it again to play Dick Cheney in Vice and race driver Ken Miles in Ford vs. Ferrari.

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Speaking to  magazine, Bale said at the start of 2019: "I've become a little bit more boring now, because I'm older and I feel like if I keep doing what I've done in the past I'm going to die. So, I'd prefer not to die." Prior to this, he'd told The Sunday Times Culture magazine: "I can't keep doing it. I really can't," stating that he was at a point where his mortality was " staring [him] in the face."

Fair enough.

Via GQ Australia