Christian Bale: The Director’s Dream Actor
Christian Bale is widely regarded as a friggin’ awesome actor. He reliably delivers incredibly varied performances (romantic lead, murderous sociopath, gravel-voiced action hero, etc.), and brings intense energy to any scene. To a director, he’s the strongest and eagerest color on your palette–just waiting to be challenged.
If the script calls for him to lose over 60 lbs, no problem! He needs to shoot back up to 190lbs? No big deal! You want him to stand on top of a 120-story building? Where’s the elevator? (Actually, there was a stunt double available for this, but Bale wanted to do it.)
But how can you get an equally powerful and believable performance out of your actors?
Aside from paying them millions (and even still, that’s no guarantee), there are ways to get amazing performances from each of your actors. It starts with talented folks. But your energy is the one thing that can bring them up from good to superb.
Spend more time and energy on their characters than they do. Don’t expect miracles. Actors can only do so much with what they’re given. If you give them a mediocre script that hasn’t undergone criticism and rewriting, prepare yourself for an unbelievable portrayal of your material.
Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
Schedule test readings, rehearsals and screen tests. This is important for your actor and you to not only work with you, but also with the other actors involved. This interaction will allow both you and them to bounce ideas around, refine the role, and ultimately make everyone’s delivery more natural on-screen.
Minimize the crew needed for highly emotional scenes. Give your talent the on-set environment that they need to perform. Having hair and make-up, craft services and 3 PAs milling about is not a good move when you have heightened emotions being thrown around.
It’s Not Just Money
It’s not just money that motivates people. What matters most to your talent is usually how invested you are in them and the project. As an actor, they will need to rely on you to have the vision and support for them to do thier job well.
That being said, if you are requiring drastic weight loss, dangerous stunt work, or other above-and-beyond requests, be ready to pony up a big check too. Or just hire Christian Bale.
:::::::::::: Ready?! Set?! Shoot!!