Christian Bale Claims His Pay For American Psycho Was Less Than The Film’s Make-Up Artists

Speaking to GQ, Bale explained how he was paid an embarrassingly low sum for the part. In fact, it was the absolute legal minimum Lions Gate could get away with paying him. As the actor recalled, “I remember one time sitting in the makeup trailer and the makeup artists were laughing at me because I was getting paid less than any of them.”

After losing out on some of the biggest stars of the day — DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Johnny Depp were all connected to the project at various points — the financiers seemingly didn’t think Bale was worth all that much. It’s true that, at the time, he had little to no recognition among the public, with arguably his biggest role thus far being as a child actor in Steven Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun.” As such, according to Bale, “Nobody wanted me to do it except the director. So they said they would only make it if they could pay me that amount.”

Luckily, “American Psycho” would prove to be Bale’s breakout role, with the actor garnering widespread praise for his darkly humorous take on Bateman. He was seemingly the only one who shared Harron’s view of the infamous psychopath as a kind of blank, vacuous vortex of humanity. Bateman wasn’t a person, he was a collection of received ideas and quotes pilfered from 1980s yuppie and commercial culture, and was so outrageously over the top that the absurdity couldn’t help but play as funny. 

Bale’s recognition of that inherent humor clearly wasn’t enough to interest the film’s financial backers in paying him a fair wage or even hiring him at all. But just like the novel and movie, that’s just yet another searing indictment of the American psychos of the financial world.

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