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.)

christianbale_careerchoices120A Star Is Born

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.

christianbale_careerchoices120Out of the Furnace

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?)


  • PFS says:

    I'm gonna go with Noah on this one. Bale+Aronofsky sounds like match made in intense heaven.

  • orlando says:

    You forgwet to mention that Bale would be playing the villian in Oldboy, which is very interesting. I'd definitely say that's the best bet. If it succeeds, he can be memorable (it's a highly vicious role and he could do wonders with it) and if it flops, he's not carryng the entire weight of the movie in his shoulders.
    Noah sounds very risky, I wouldn't do it if I were him unless the script was truly great. The Mann project seems interesting but a little been there done that.
    So Oldboy it is!

  • orlando says:

    Also, the Eastwood film isn't as bad as it sounds. This is Clint Eastwood after all, so at least the script must be good and his carreer wouldn't be hurt that much if it flopped (it's an Eastwood film after all).
    So, I'd say:
    1. Oldboy
    2. A Star is Born
    3. Michael Mann Project
    4. Noah?
    5. Ex-con (this is the silliest of the bunch).

  • blizzard bound says:

    I think Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee are both too pedantic for Bale. In similar ways Aronofsky is all kinds of obvious.
    If I were Bale, I'd go with the Scott Cooper project, as Cooper seems to understand nuance, just as Bale delivers complexity.

  • Interesting -- in the initial Variety story, his role wasn't identified. I updated the post with a notation. Thanks!

  • AS says:

    Stay away from the Eastwood film & Oldboy at all costs. Gold is the one to choose. I'd love to see Bale re-team with Michael Mann.

  • casting couch says:

    By Paul Ha(ck)ggis? No thanks.

  • John says:

    The production budget for The Fountain was around $35 million, not $130 million. It was originally budgeted around $70 million when it was set to star Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, and after that version fell apart the script was re-worked into what was eventually filmed. That doesn't necessarily make for you not liking the movie, but you can't criticize the director for working on a scale he never has.

  • AS says:

    Paul Haggis is a hack? As a director - Crash, In the Valley of Elah, both very good films. As a writer - Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Casino Royale, Letters from Iwo Jima, also very good films. Not sure why you're referring to him as a "hack." Don't see anything dull or unoriginal there. I think that's says more about your taste than anything else.
    P.S. Why is my comment highlighted in gold?

  • Chasmosaur says:

    None of the Above.
    Besides, if you want to re-pair him with a former director, there's only ONE obvious choice:
    Kenny Ortega.
    Christian Bale was timeless in Newsies. (After all, if it wasn't a timeless role, could it have been so seamlessly updated to a Lady Gaga tune? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N7H-i7nczY )
    I'm sure Bale would be fabulous in the Dirty Dancing remake. I can just hear "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" in either his native Welsh accent or the Batman growl...

  • mad says:

    Oldboy would be great ESPECIALLY if he is playing the villain. American Psycho proved this.
    Gold would be a bit of a departure but a much needed one from all of the intense roles. He needs a break and risks being typecast to only play heavy roles...I guess that wouldn't be a bad thing. I'm sure it would get psychologically wearing though.
    So anyway, listen to ME, Christian! Oldboy or Gold.

  • Tommy Marx says:

    Because you are loved. Or at least you were loved until you praised Crash, a movie that is so clumsy it makes the original Dr. Doolittle worthy of a Best Picture Oscar. Seriously, Crash was a very good film in what universe?

  • Tommy Marx says:

    I don't care what movie he does next as long as it's one where he speaks like a normal human being. I'm tired of the barely discernible growl. He sounds less convincing (and understandable) than a gay Republican insisting he only cruises Craigslist prostitutes to assure himself he can overcome temptation.

  • AS says:

    Well, we'll agree to disagree on Crash. It may not be "great" but I don't think it's "clumsy."

  • Jen Yamato says:

    I don't even care if you might be posting that sarcastically. I'm down for a Bale-Ortega reunion.

  • cerreno says:

    NONE!!!! Christian Bale will always be a psycho to me... Only reason I watched Batman Begins, becuz I was curious... Watched The Dark Knight cuz of Heath Ledger's performance... Watching DKR cuz of Anne Hathaway... He must go back to wales and hit his family...

  • William says:

    I think he should be.... The David Fincher's Captain Nemo !

  • Tommy Marx says:

    I didn't say I'd agree, LOL. The movie might have worked, but there were so many coincidences that it failed. The would-be killer of a child purchased the wrong bullets so the child (who thought she was protected) wasn't hurt. The woman who was groped by a cop is later saved by the same cop. And so on and so on. By the end, it felt like the writer was more interested in showing how clever he was (look ma, I have two black guys talking about how all black guys are viewed as potential car thieves, than I reveal that they're car thieves) then he was in writing a true reflection of racial hypocrisy and hatred in LA.

  • Morgan says:

    Right on brother!

  • Jesse says:

    I'm with you on this one. He would be great in films like this...IMO.

  • Dexman says:

    He makes more money than you. Right?
    LMFAO at you brother! What about 'the Machinist' or 'The Fighter'...He steals each and every one of his scenes in this 2 movies just like he did in American Psycho. Or maybe you haven't watched them yet...well, you should try.

  • Morgan says:

    That is soooooo funny...Hahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...WELL NOT REALLY. Why don't you go jump off an effin' building.

  • Morgan says:

    yeah man! totally agree with you here, cerreno should watch the movies you suggested. I'm sure he'd be rocked by the one and only "Dick Ecklund"...

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