Want something impressive? Watch Batman.
Want something even more impressive? Going from 121 pounds on a diet of coffee, water and an apple a day to about 228 pounds eating doughnuts, cheeseburgers and everything else in sight … all for the sake of a movie. If that doesn’t show passion and dedication, I don’t know what does.
Yes, Christian Bale is the actor I’m referring to. I recently watched “American Hustle” and had to do a double take when my brother mentioned that Bale was the actor playing Irving, the brilliant, smooth-talking con artist with a protruding potbelly and painfully obvious toupee. I was used to the strong and lean Bruce Wayne, Mr. Superhero, but after doing some research, this was only the tip of his many transformations.
Back in 2004, Bale was sipping on his coffee to play an insomniac in “The Machinist,” having a frame that would work very well for a walking skeleton at any Halloween party as well as give me the heebie jeebies if he came up to me in real life. Moral of the story: Don’t try going without sleep for over a year. Actually, make that no more than about two days. Not healthy!
After this, Bale was on a weight roller coaster. He went back and forth between gym rat to bulk up and then cardio bunny to lean out, playing everything from Batman, to robot fighter, to crack-addicted boxer. Talk about mental strength! He was constantly gaining and losing muscle, averaging about 40 pounds at a time.
Then 2013 brought on the real challenge: First Bale played a haggard steel worker in “Out of the Furnace,” forced to shed hard won muscle to obtain a gaunt look, and then “American Hustle” came around, meaning hello food!
Obviously, Bale became a pro at transforming his body, and it really made me reflect on how awesome God truly designed us. To be able to shed weight or bulk up that quickly (of course, with extreme dedication) shows just how in-tuned our bodies are to the stimulus we give to them, as well as what is possible with a good work ethic.
What I pondered the most, though, was simply how people revere and respect Bale no matter what physique he has. Emaciated, brawny, lean, pot-bellied ... You name it, he did it, but no matter what form he has, he will always be Christian Bale. He will always be awesome, epic, one-of-a-kind. He will always nail his role, whatever may be asked of him.
Can I say that same thing? That no matter what I look like I will blow people away with my confidence, sincerity and self-control? That no matter what is asked of me I will follow through 110 percent? That no matter how much people try to deter me, I will forge on and meet my goals?
It’s truly inspiring how Bale pulled off all of those roles just by choosing to commit to what he loved and embracing himself in every part. It made me realize that we all have a part to play, but a lot of the times, we complain about our shortfalls and try to find out what we should be or look like to make ourselves happy, often trying to emulate someone else. But if we are trying to squeeze into another role, then who is playing our part?
If Batman decided it was more fun to play the Joker then who would have saved Gotham? The director had a clear plan for each character to make the movie what it was.
One of my favorite quotes from “American Hustle” was by Irving’s partner-in-crime and lover, Sydney, talking about him: “He wasn’t necessarily in good shape, and he had this comb over that was rather elaborate. He had this air about him. And he had this confidence that drew me to him. He was who he was. He didn’t care.”
God is the director here. He wrote the script and casted us just perfectly. All we have to do is embrace our character He gave us, work to be our best self, and maybe later when people look back on our lives they will think ... “Wow, they were a star.”
Danae Ross is a sophomore at Illinois Valley Community College. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.