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Christian Bale's Weight Loss for The Machinist: This Dedicated Actor Lost a Whopping 63 Pounds to Play the Lead in This Movie

In mentioning the name, Christian Bale, most immediately associate him with Batman Begins, which was released in the summer of 2005 to the joy of avid Batman fans. However, there are a few that also recognize that name with the darker suspense-filled movie, The Machinist.

When The Machinist was first being talked about after its release in festivals around the country, the talk amidst all movie-goers was Christian Bale's dramatic weight loss. Standing 6' exactly (according to IMDb.com) and normally weighing in at 185 pounds, it was a shock to view his body withering away in this role.

He lost a staggering 63 pounds for the role. Much to my surprise, it wasn't at the advice of director, Brad Anderson. Anderson is quoted as saying he never requested Bale lose as much weight as he did. I was completely shocked by this because if this wasn't at the request or demand of the director, then why in the world would you care to lose that much meat off of your bones?!

In reading an article about this topic, Christian Bale answers questions about his mind-boggling weight loss for his role as Trevor Reznik (no relation to the lead singer of Nine Inch Nails). Bale states that he never thought, at the time, that his dramatic weight loss would pose any health threat to his body. He is quoted as saying, "I had what could be called a kind of stupid feeling of invincibility, like, 'Oh I can do it. I can manage it.' "

Thank God he did because if he didn't fill the shoes of Batman, I don't know what I would've done. His weight loss wasn't part of a specific diet or elimination of certain foods. In fact, it was the elimination of almost all foods and a lot of exercise. His exercise did not involve any type of weight lifting. He only want to lose the fat and keep from bulking up at the same time. His goal for the movie was to look like as if he had not slept for a year. I'm sure I can vouch for everyone who's seen the movie that he definitely achieved this goal.

Bale received little assistance in the way of medical attention except for one visit when initially beginning his weight loss. He was given information as to what types of things his body would lose, such as vitamins and minerals and that he should take supplements for a number of those things. After that, Bale states that he was his own guide and kept going with his weight loss. As long as he still felt okay, he would continue to loss the fat. His own physical feeling was his gauge. He was told by many people working for The Machinist that if he got his weight down to 140 - 145 that that would be okay too.

However, because Bale saw that he was able to handle his weight loss without much problem, that he would go ahead and lose another 20 pounds, bringing him down to the weight we see in the movie at 121 - 122. Bale is documented as stating, "But I was intrigued by a perverse nature of mine just to see if I can go beyond what I've been told is actually safe and OK, and see if I could push the limits." It is said that Bale wanted to lost another 20 pounds even after reaching 121! I'm almost positive that in profile view of his body, it would disappear before all movie-goers eyes.

Christian Bale has said that his severe weight loss did create a change in his mood and emotions. He felt very "serene and calm" for the majority of the filming for The Machinist. It didn't seem to create much problem for him until he began to bulk up for the role of Batman in Batman Begins. He gained a shocking 100 pounds within the span of five months! He was definitely was adding a lot of stress on his body and his heart.

He has that he feels good now and that he would never go as far as he did for The Machinist again because at some point, it becomes stupid and more of a joke. Bale has stated that he doesn't want to be "that guy" that loses weight for all his movie roles and because of that, he'll make sure to steer clear of anything that asks him to lose a third of his body weight.

Because of Christian Bale's highly publicized weight loss for The Machinist, he has been compared to the likes of Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull (who gained about 60 pounds) and Charlize Theron for lead role in Monster. Even though it is a great way to gain recognition as a professional and dedicated actor, you have to wonder - was it worth it to lose that much weight for this particular role?

After watching The Machinist, I would have to say I'm not quite sure. The movie is by no means on the scale of Batman Begins in terms of its soaring popularity but The Machinist is its own movie and Christian Bale felt moved enough to lose weight because of his belief in what this movie is and could become. If any are interested in watching The Machinist, I won't give anything away. I will say this though, it is a darker movie that can be a bit slow paced at times.

I'm very tempted to say that if Fight Club and Memento combined forces, The Machinist would be born except it would be born without a superb ending like the previously mentioned. In any event, it contains great acting by everyone in it. It is a bit disturbing at times only because looking at Bale can be a bit painful. It's almost as if you're waiting for a bone to stop within the thin stretch of skin barely covering his bones.

You have to hand it to him, though. He's extremely dedicated and will follow through on what he feels is important for his movies and his acting career. Can't say I have anything to complain about.

Published by Jessica Elliott

When I'm not designing away at work, I enjoy reading, watching movies and guilty pleasure T.V., adding to my etsy.com shop and spending time with my husband -- my inspiration for everything!  View profile


  • Christian Bale lost weight by eliminating almost all foods and exercising without bulking up.
  • The Machinist was released in 2004.
  • After The Machinist finished filming, Bale gained 100 pounds in five months for the role of Batman.
Christian Bale lost a third of his body weight for his role as Trevor Reznick in The Machinist which left him at 121 and 6'. He lost a staggering 63 pounds!

11 Comments

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  • Peter Lamborn 10/14/2013

    This movie really caught me by surprise. I had a feeling of anxiety all the way through, after a few minutes of viewing. I came here to ask about Bale's weight loss and was surprised at the number of inquiries about that. I wish the movie had done better in theaters...looks as if the public just doesn't like movies with anything but happy endings.

    And by the way, I commend heinesight for correcting steve's grammar. I'm so sick of seeing the results of dumbed down education that I'm ready to punch someone.

  • Donna 10/13/2013

    This movie or any other movie is not worth looking like your next to death, I hope he doesn't do it ever again.

  • Heinesight 5/29/2013

    "Typo's" is a typo, moron. It's "typos."

  • Harmonica 3/29/2013

    great job Christian Bale!

  • steve 1/28/2013

    There are a lot of typo's

  • piyuushS 1/24/2013

    we

  • SandraM 8/13/2012

    Just watched 'The Machinist' today. Was shocked at the emaciated body of Christian Bale. He is one of my favourite actors. Was concerned that he had become anorexic. I found the movie to be much better than I thought it might be. I have suffered lifelong insomnia, and I tend to get more 'punchdrunk' from lack of sleep. No weight loss, though.

    Thanks for explaining about his weight loss, was really curious. Enjoyed the movie and the twist was great.

  • Amira 6/24/2012

    I really admire actors who are willing to go to lengths such as these to get into their roles--to completely embody the character. It's really amazing, which is why Bale is one of my favorite actors

  • Robert 4/28/2012

    I'm aware this was a while ago, but I couldn't pass by without noting that the majority of those who commented are genuine idiots. Michelle, you read nothing, if you did you'd have seen "no relation to the lead singer of Nine Inch Nails"

    Bale is an outstanding actor. I only wish more put as much effort as he does into his roles & his craft.

  • Joseph 4/11/2012

    The writer only mentions NIN because there were thoughts that "The Machinist" was about Trent Reznor.

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