Christian Bale has decided to bow out of an upcoming role, in which he would star as Enzo Ferrari in a biopic of the same title, according to the Hollywood Reporter. One of the stars of The Big Short, which Bale is nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his appearance, cites issues with an unhealthy weight gain it would require for him to play the legendary car maker. The film, being directed by Michael Mann, is scheduled to begin shooting in the spring, but Mann is determined to recast the part in order for the movie to remain on schedule.
Christian Bale is no stranger to weight fluctuations in order to secure major roles, which makes this bit of news a tad surprising. He lost significant weight for his role as Dicky Ecklund in The Fighter, which earned him his first Academy Award nomination and victory. And although it did not earn him an Oscar nod, Bale received the most notoriety for shedding 63 pounds in order to play the emaciated insomniac Trevor Reznik in The Machinist. It was that film that earned him a run as Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy, based on the condition that he'd bulk back up.
Christian Bale, amazingly, gained 100 pounds in six months to adequately play Gotham's hero in 2005's Batman Begins. Consider The Fighter (30-lb weight loss) was released in 2010, and the third and final chapter of Nolan's Batman trilogy came out in 2012, you can just imagine the changes his body went through. But Bale, a method actor, is committed to the craft. He and The Fighter director, David O'Russell, reunited for American Hustle, which was released in 2013, this time forcing Bale to gain 43 pounds. Bale played conman Irving Rosenfeld in the film, again receiving an Oscar nomination, this time for an actor in a leading role.
Deadspin argues that despite Christian Bale's departure, Mann should not have any trouble finding a replacement due to the profile of the director himself, the subject matter, and the attractiveness of the role. In his career, Mann has directed The Last of the Mohicans -- ironically starring Day-Lewis -- Heat, and Ali, among others. He's been nominated for an Oscar on four separate occasions and does have two Emmy awards to his credit. Mann began crafting Enzo Ferrari 15 years ago with Sydney Pollack, who passed away in 2008. Bale and Mann have worked together before, collaborating on 2009's Public Enemies that also starred Johnny Depp and took home an ASCAP Award for Top Box Office film.
So, fans won't get to see Christian Bale play the role of Enzo Ferrari, but they will get to see Robert DeNiro tackle the role in another biopic with the same subject matter, simply called Ferrari, according to the Guardian. DeNiro and Mann had hoped to make the movie in the 1990s, but that never materialized. Of course, they did collaborate on Heat alongside Al Pacino. DeNiro is very familiar with weight fluctuation himself, gaining 60 pounds to play Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. Clint Eastwood is rumored to direct the DeNiro version.
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