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The Anime Movie You Didn't Realize Starred Christian Bale

Few actors are as highly praised for their dedication to roles as Christian Bale. The British performer, who gained critical acclaim for his portrayal of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho and Bruce Wayne in the Dark Knight trilogy, is known for his committed Method acting. To prepare for his role as legendary racer Ken Miles in the 2019 film Ford v Ferrari, Bale underwent intense training, spending 49 hours on a racetrack within seven days. 

Christian Bale is also known for insane body transformations, shedding and gaining weight rapidly to suit his roles. In preparation for 2010's The Fighter, for example, he dropped 30 pounds to play the drug-addicted boxer Dicky Ecklund. Three years later, he gained more than 40 pounds to portray con artist Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle.

Clearly, Bale pays close attention to each and every aspect of his appearance on camera. So it may come as some surprise that the Oscar winner has a few voice acting roles under his belt, including one that might shock anime fans.

The Studio Ghibli movie starring Christian Bale

Before he was Batman — but after he was Bateman — Christian Bale was the voice of Howl, the deuteragonist of the 2004 animated Studio Ghibli film, Howl's Moving Castle. Like some of Bale's other roles, Howl is kind of a reclusive, charismatic bachelor. He's also a wizard, which explains why his castle can move in the first place.

However, this is a rare instance where Bale plays an affluent playboy who isn't the protagonist. The movie instead follows Sofie, a young girl who's transformed into an old woman by an evil witch. She travels to Howl's castle in the hopes of finding a cure. Along the way, the two become close and face challenges as their country becomes more embroiled in a bloody war.

Like many other Christian Bale films, Howl's Moving Castle is highly regarded by critics and fans alike. However, much of this success can be credited to the skilled work of Studio Ghibli's animators and writers. The studio had already made a name for itself via other films, especially those directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke both preceded Howl's Moving Castle, helping lend credibility and recognition to the film. And of course, it never hurts to have help from an actor like Christian Bale.