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Christian Bale Has Played Heroes And Villains, But He Has A Clear Preference

Christian Bale has the distinction of playing one of comic book's most beloved superheroes, as well as an '80s pop music-loving, axe-swinging serial killer. Even beyond Bale's work in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy and Mary Harron's "American Psycho," the actor has aggressively avoided being pigeonholed, taking on hero and villain characters with seemingly equal ease. 

He portrayed Moses in 2014's "Exodus: Gods and Kings," but also a God-killing Marvel villain in 2022's "Thor: Love and Thunder." He was a murderer on the wrong side of Samuel L. Jackson's John Shaft in 2000's "Shaft," but he was also hero cop Melvin Purvis in 2009's "Public Enemies." He was Dick Cheney 2018's "Vice," but he was also John Connor, the savior of mankind in 2009's "Terminator Salvation." The list goes on and on. Add on to this the actor's knack for physically transforming himself for roles and you've got a thespian that can seemingly take on virtually any role. 

Considering the variety of dark and light roles that litter Bale's filmography, it would appear he has no preference between hero or villain. The actor revealed after decades of shifting between good guy and bad guy on the silver screen though, he does prefer one over the other. 

Christian Bale enjoys being the bad guy

According to Bale, playing the villain is an easier job than being the hero. 

"They not only have more fun, but they're easier to play. Because everybody is fascinated with bad guys, right? The minute the bad guy walks on the screen, no one's looking at the good guy anymore. All eyes go to the bad guy, so it's a much easier acting gig," the actor told Screen Rant.

The actor's comments came just as he was coming off playing MCU villain Gorr, a God-killing adversary who went toe-to-toe with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in "Thor: Love and Thunder." It marked Bale's return to comic book movies after stepping away from playing Batman in 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises." 

In a separate interview promoting that movie, Bale also said he preferred villains and explained playing the hero can be harder. As the hero, Bale explained, an actor has to do more to earn the audience's attention, giving Hemsworth the brunt of the work to do in the "Thor" sequel. 

"I consider that I had the far easier job in this film playing the villain than Chris had playing the hero. Villains already have everybody's attention from the get-go. Heroes, you've really got to earn it," the actor told The Washington Post