When Christian Bale first found himself working alongside fellow actor Johnny Depp, he confided that he didn’t get to really know his co-worker.
Rather, Bale preferred to keep a certain amount of distance from the star.
Christian Bale and Johnny Depp starred in ‘Public Enemies’
The Depp film Public Enemies was based on real-life notorious bank robber John Dillinger who was known for his crimes during the Great Depression era. Johnny Depp found himself portraying Dillinger in the Michael Mann-directed feature. Bale would star alongside him as FBI agent Melvin Purvis
Bale chose to star in the project due to its fascinating story, and to further branch out his career. He was also starring in Terminator Salvation at the time, and felt Public Enemies would allow him to expand his filmography.
“For me it’s less important that following the Terminator that I quickly get Public Enemies out there. I’m just not as strategic as that. But for my own personal satisfaction I need to vary it up. I couldn’t for instance follow up Terminator by doing another Terminator straight away,” Bale once told GamesRadar.
As is usually the case for Bale’s roles, the movie saw the Oscar-winner apply complete dedication to Public Enemies. But it’s a method that also set up a barrier between him and his co-star.
Christian Bale only talked to Johnny Depp when they were filming
Although Bale and Depp spent quite a bit of time on set, any personal interaction between them was limited. Bale confided that he still knew very little about Depp. But when asked about Depp, the method actor had nothing but admiration for the Edward Scissorhands star and his work.
“He does his own thing. He makes very interesting choices and makes a real variety of movies. I find that interesting. I think naturally he found Dillinger to be a fascinating character and I think he did a superb job with it,” Bale once told Collider.
Since they were playing rivals in Public Enemies, Bale believed the distance between them worked for the narrative.
“But the nature of the way that we worked together was very similar to the way of the story. Purvis only that one time caught up with him. Pretty much I only caught up with Johnny that one time. If I was working he wasn’t,” he continued.
However, Bale admitted that he preferred keeping his interaction with Depp as professional as possible. Something that Depp didn’t seem to mind.
“I didn’t want to talk unless it was while we were doing a scene, I enjoy it that way,” Bale once said according to Wales Online. “Johnny seemed happy to do it that way, too, so I guess the answer is no, we really didn’t get to know each other better between takes.”
Christian Bale often isolates himself in films
Bale’s distance from Depp wasn’t an uncommon occurrence. The actor typically maintains some kind of distance from other actors on set for the sake of his work.
“I often meet these incredible people, but I isolate myself,” he told IndieWire. “Because if I get to know people too much, I find I just don’t believe what I’m doing in the scene.”
It was one of the reasons why Bale tried cutting himself off from Chris Rock. The two met each other in the David O. Russell comedy Amsterdam. But when Bale personally engaged with Rock, the comic couldn’t help make Bale laugh. Which posed a problem for Bale’s work. Even though at first Bale was enthusiastic about meeting the comedian.
“But Chris is so bloody funny and I found that I couldn’t act, because I was just becoming Christian laughing at Chris Rock,” Bale said. “So I had to go to him, I went ‘mate, I love talking to you, and we have mutual friends, but I can’t do it anymore. Because David didn’t ask me to make this film so he could just watch me giggle. He wants me to be Burt, and I’m forgetting how to be Burt.’”
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