Which Movie Should Christian Bale Make Next?
According to Variety, Christian Bale's got a big decision coming up once he completes filming on Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises: What to do next? With no fewer than five juicy options to pick from -- each with a notable director and vastly different material -- Bale might need a little help choosing. So let's help him out!
(I vote for Newsies 2: Still Carrying the Banner, a gritty period sequel that picks up 20 years later, with paperboy Jack Kelly now a full-grown paper man. Then again, Newsies is such a well-contained classic in itself, perhaps it doesn't need a sequel.)
Ahem. Onward to the five potential next projects Bale has to choose from once he's done donning Batman's suit. (Not listed: another possible team-up with Terrence Malick that was reported as rumor last week.)
Clint Eastwood is attached to direct and Beyonce Knowles is set for the lead role previously played by Janet Gaynor, Barbra Streisand and (definitively) Judy Garland; Bale could conceivably step into the character of Beyonce's alcoholic star in decline husband, though it's yet to be confirmed that that's the role he'd play. General objections to this project aside, it doesn't seem the best move for Bale for a few reasons. First, it'd probably be Beyonce's show, and she already covered a lot of the same ground with her plotline in Dreamgirls. And then there's the nagging fact that a contemporary update of the classic Hollywood tale sounds so very Glitter. Bale's the kind of actor who deserves meatier stuff than serving as a foil to a pop star-turned-actress, even if James Mason killed in the role (and earned an Oscar nod) in George Cukor's 1954 rendition.
Bale could also re-team with his Public Enemies director Michael Mann on Gold, a contemporary thriller about gold prospectors that has a script by Paul Haggis. Mann most recently produced the upcoming Texas Killing Fields and is executive producing HBO's Luck, which debuts in September. With a reference like Treasure of the Sierra Madre bandied about among precious little other details on Gold, it's reasonable to think Bale anchoring an ensemble of ruthless modern-day speculators is a good idea.
Filmmaker Scott Cooper directed Jeff Bridges to an Oscar in Crazy Heart (which earned another Oscar for Best Song and a Best Supporting Actress nod for Maggie Gyllenhaal) in his directorial debut. His next project, Out of the Furnace (formerly The Low Dweller) could make for an intense vehicle for Bale in the role of an ex-con out to avenge the death of his brother.
Then again, no role out there may match the intensity (and all-out violence) in Oldboy, Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-wook's 2003 Korean cult film. The synopsis, from Relativity Media, tells the story of a man "who is kidnapped and imprisoned on his daughter's birthday. For fifteen years, he is held captive, and, upon his release, must begin his journey to find the reason for his imprisonment. He soon finds out that his kidnapper has plans for him more tortuous than his solitary confinement." Anyone familiar with the original knows exactly how far and how twisted the tale goes, but suffice to say few A-listers out there could pull the role off with the visceral power that Bale brings to the screen. This project has my vote, but it's another psychologically demanding role; is Bale -- known for his extreme methods of preparation -- up for such a taxing role on the heels of his Batman obligations? [Update: Variety now notes that Bale would play the villain in Oldboy.]
Teaming up with director Darren Aronofsky on Aronofsky's ambitious $130M Biblical retelling would be risky, for sure; remember what happened the last time the Black Swan director went full bore with a budget that big? (I'll just say it: The Fountain.) And yet, there's a strangely compelling pull in the idea of seeing Bale as a bearded, driven Noah, gathering the world's creatures into a ginormous boat in a full-scale fantasy end-of-the-world epic that Aronofsky's been obsessing about all his life.
In light of the choices above, which project would you like to see Bale take on next? Chime in below. (Write-in answers welcome, if you have other films in mind. Like Swing Kids 2: Swing Harder, perhaps?)