Sunday night’s Golden Globes ceremony was wildly unpredictable (and yet still, shockingly boring). Yet amid the requisite extended thank you speeches, however, Christian Bale, who took home the award for Best Actor in a Drama for his role as former Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice, thanked none other than Satan for inspiring his performance. “Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role,” he said, adding that he’s “cornering the market on charisma-free assholes.” (The last word was bleeped out on live television by NBC.) The shout-out was much memed by the Twittersphere, and much appreciated by the Church of Satan, who tweeted: “To us, Satan is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. As Mr. Bale’s own talent and skill won him the award, this is fitting. Hail Christian! Hail Satan!”
Bale’s acceptance speech had us thinking: what other Christian Bale roles were inspired by the devil himself? Below, a short, yet not all-encompassing list.
Patrick Bateman, American Psycho
Perhaps Bale’s most Satanic role, Patrick Bateman — the protagonist of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel American Psycho and its 2000 film adaptation — is an icon of American douchebaggery and a beloved antihero to finance bros the world over (though really mostly New York, specifically midtown). Bateman is absurdly wealthy, fit, and narcissistic, and also a serial killer, rapist, cannibal, and necrophile. “There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction.” he says in the film. “But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles our probably comparable…I simply am not there.” Bale has apparently been prepping to play for Dick Cheney for years.
Trevor Reznik, The Machinist
After an accident that causes his coworker to lose his left arm, Trevor Reznik, an insomniac machinist, enters a downward spiral of paranoia, sleeping with prostitutes and murdering his co-worker. In one particularly haunting scene, Trevor stares into a mirror, repeating the words, “I know who you are,” coming to terms with his loss of sanity. Bale, like the ever shape-shifting demon, lost a significant amount of weight to portray the emaciated machinist — a far cry from the weight he put on for Dick Cheney.
Walter Wade Jr., Shaft
The son of a wealthy real estate tycoon (see if you can spot a theme here), Walter Wade Jr. is investigated for a racially-motivated murder. He makes racist jokes in a bar, surrounded by a gaggle of cackling trust fund babies, prompting the man he insults (and subsequently murders) to cut holes in a napkin and place it on his head, resembling a KKK member. The visual is a clear indicator that Walter Wade Jr. is the devilish incarnation of white bigotry.
Bruce Wayne/Batman, Batman Begins; The Dark Knight
Batman may be a superhero, but he is also a bona fide asshole and his all-black color palette shares sartorially affinities with Satanists. And like Bateman, Cheney, and Satan, he has too much money, unresolved childhood trauma, delights in scaring people, suffers no legal consequences for his use of violence, and yet works for the government. When describing Batman’s dilemma in The Dark Knight, Bale told Newsday, “Can he quit and have an ordinary life? The kind of manic intensity someone has to have to maintain the passion and the anger that they felt as a child, takes an effort after a while, to keep doing that. At some point, you have to exorcise your demons.”
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