Holy film location, Batman! Christian Bale heading to Malta

The ‘Dark Knight’ star is said to be shooting historical drama in Malta

The Oscar nominated actor of The Fighter, American Hustle and most recently the Biblical bonanza Exodus: Gods and Kings will be shooting a film in Malta in the coming months.
The Oscar nominated actor of The Fighter, American Hustle and most recently the Biblical bonanza Exodus: Gods and Kings will be shooting a film in Malta in the coming months.

He’s taken the knife to hapless homeless victims and equally compromised women in American Psycho, flirted with anorexia in a Method Acting frenzy for The Machinist and even donned The Dark Knight’s cape and cowl for the billion-dollar raking Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan. 

But one thing the Welsh-born actor Christian Bale hasn’t done is visit Malta to ply his trade. All that is set to change as sources have told MaltaToday that the Oscar nominated actor of The Fighter, American Hustle and most recently the Biblical bonanza Exodus: Gods and Kings will be shooting a film in Malta in the coming months. 

Glancing at the actor’s Internet Movie Database page, the likeliest title would appear to be the historical drama The Promise, given the projects cultural milieu and the already-announced locations – Portugal and Spain. 

The film, directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda, In the Name of the Father) also stars acclaimed character actor Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina, Drive) and up-and-coming French actress Charlotte Le Bon (Mood Indigo, The Walk), however it remains to be confirmed whether the two will be accompanying Bale on the Malta shoot. If so, it would mark Isaac’s second trip to Malta, as the Guatemala-born actor also starred in Agora, filmed in Malta in 2008. 

Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise follows a love triangle between Michael (Isaac), a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana (Le Bon), and Chris (Bale) – a renowned American journalist based in Paris.

Christian Bale will be going on to make The Promise after having worked on an as-yet untitled film by Terrence Malick – the actor starred in the American auteur’s most recent foray, The Knight of Cups, and also appeared in his take on the Pocahontas story in The New World (2005) – and this will be followed by recession drama The Big Short. After that, Bale will once again court a multi-generational audience as he supplies the voice – and presumably motion-capture choreography – to Rudyard Kipling’s iconic friendly black panther Bagheera, for Jungle Book: Origins, a new take on the beloved story directed by Gollum himself, Andy Serkis. 

Christian Bale

Though he’s now best known for portraying Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Batman trilogy – Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Christian Bale’s acting career stretches all the way back to the mid-eighties when he notably scored a breakthrough role in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun (1987) at the tender age of 13.

The young actor continued to secure decent roles in middle-brow fare throughout the 90s, such as literary adaptations The Portrait of a Lady and The Secret Agent (both 1996) and the star-studded Shakespeare adaptation Midsummer Night’s Dream, where he played Demetrius alongside a cast including Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci and Calista Flockhart. Brit glam rock extravaganza Velvet Goldmine followed two years later, but Bale cemented his cult credentials with his blistering take on American Psycho (2000) – Mary Harron’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s bloody satire of 1980s yuppie culture. Bale offered a superlative take on Patrick Bateman (the titular ‘psycho’), channeling both Bateman’s brutality and vanity – he looks great in an overpriced suit but equally at ease slaughtering unsuspecting human prey for his amusement.

He played another rich jerk in Shaft (2000) a non-starter reboot of the blaxploitation classic, which pitted Bale against Samuel L. Jackson, but Bale’s first taste of blockbuster attention came with Reign of Fire (2002), a futuristic dragon-hunting slice of sci-fi schlock in which he shared billing with Matthew McConaughey and Gerard Butler. He would take a centre-stage role in another genre piece, Equilibrium (2002) – a high-concept dystopian actioner that suffered unflattering comparisons to the Matrix trilogy. For the role of emaciated factory worker Trevor Reznik in low-budget horror thriller The Machinist (2004), Bale notoriously slimmed down to shocking effect, a move which led many to compare Bale’s ‘method acting’ efforts to that of Robert de Niro’s in Raging Bull.  

Following the first two Batman films, Bale once again collaborated with director Christopher Nolan on The Prestige (2006), a critically acclaimed story of Victorian-era magicians that drew favourable comparisons to the work of Alfred Hitchcock. 

Though his reputation suffered something of a setback in 2008 and 2009 – when word got out of a domestic assault dispute involving his mother and sister, as well as an infamous on-set rant while filming Terminator: Salvation (2009) – Bale star appears to be shimmering brightly to this day, as he appeared in David O. Russell’s Oscar-courting dramas The Fighter (2010) and American Hustle (2013), and has collaborated with celebrated auteur Terrence Malick on this year’s Knight of Cups and an as-yet untitled upcoming project, after having appeared in Malick’s The New World in 2005. 

Compiled by Teodor Reljic