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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 October, 2004, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Concern at Bale film weight loss
Christian Bale in The Machinist
Christian Bale stars in the dark thriller
Actor Christian Bale has come under fire from health experts after losing a third of his body weight for his latest film role.

Bale lost 63lb (28.5kg) for the dark thriller The Machinist, now being shown at film festivals across the US.

West Wales-born Bale said he went from 184 lbs to 121 lbs (83 kg to 55kg) for the lead role as a man whose health deteriorates because he cannot sleep.

His next role will see him take up Bruce Wayne's cape in Batman Begins.

Bale's dramatic weight loss makes him the latest in a line of actors to change their bodies for a role, including Robert De Niro, who famously gained 60lb for Raging Bull.

Charlize Theron put on 42lb (19kg) for her Oscar-winning role as Aileen Carol Wuornos in Monster, while Renée Zellweger also gained weight to play Bridget Jones.

His health could suffer should he ever try this again
Lynn Grefe, National Eating Disorder Association

Former pop star Donnie Wahlberg lost 43lb (19.5kg)to play Vincent Grey in The Sixth Sense.

Bale said he lost the weight by reducing his food intake and doing exercise, but without gaining muscle fat.

"It was 63lb that I ended up losing," he said.

"I started off at 184lb when I first stepped onto the scales the day that I started doing the diet, and I got down to 121.

"It just became a kind of an obsession - I was also intrigued to see how far I could take it.

"I was told, if I got to 140/145lb that's still fine.

"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."

Christian Bale
Bale has now regained the weight after the film

Lynn Grefe, from the National Eating Disorder Association in the US said the scale of the loss was "scary".

"I think the fact he lost such a tremendous amount of weight is terribly unhealthy," she said.

"I question what people will do for the sake of art. His health could suffer should he ever try this again."

Bale said he had not been worried about the possible health implications at the time.

"I think it is that kind of stupid sense of invulnerability you get on occasions and also the factor because I was doing it for a character," he said.

"I am not going to do it twice, because I am sure that really would start to become not only dangerous but stupid at that point."

Actor Bale lands Batman role
12 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Theron attends Monster premiere
31 Mar 04  |  Entertainment
Berlin judges split actress prize
14 Feb 04  |  Entertainment
Bridget Jones sequel piracy fears
02 Sep 04  |  Entertainment


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