Christian Bale didn’t look like himself at the 2017 Telluride Film Festival in Colorado over the weekend. The 43-year-old actor was significantly heavier than usual with much more padding around his middle. We’ve seen this before from Bale, who notoriously alters his appearance for certain film roles.
The star is filming Backseat, a biopic about Dick Cheney, former vice president of the United States. While Bale wasn’t fully in character, you could see the steps he was taking to embody the role. In addition to piling on the pounds, Bale shaved his beard and bleached his eyebrows light blonde.
The movie is slated to start filming this month and will center on some of Cheney’s most notable moments, including applying for and receiving five deferments during the Vietnam War, landing a job as CEO of Halliburton and being VP.
It isn’t the first time Bale has drastically altered his weight for a role. He famously lost 62 pounds in 2004 to play an insomniac in The Machinist. The following year, he put the weight back on and bulked up an additional 30 pounds to play Batman. In 2010, he lost weight again for The Fighter (and won an Academy Award for the role). Three years later, he gained 40 pounds for American Hustle.
He told KABC-TV Los Angeles in 2013 that gaining weight for American Hustle wasn’t too challenging, but it did take a toll on his body: “It’s easy to start with … you’re just sitting on your butt and you’re eating lots of doughnuts and eating bread and everything like that. But you do it for two months and your body starts to rebel against you, it’s just saying, ‘No, please,’ and your back is aching and there’s also some problems with that. And then you’ve got to lose the weight at the end of it, you know? I wish it was simple.”
Bale was at the film festival to promote his new movie Hostiles. He plays Army Captain Joseph J. Blocker, who escorts a Cheyenne chief and his family through threatening territory in 1892.