Christian Bale Explains Why He Doesn't Consider Himself a 'Leading Man'

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Christian Bale has twice been nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars: for 2014's American Hustle and 2019's Vice. But, in a new interview, he's explained why he never considers himself a "leading man."
"It's just boring. You don't get the good parts," he told GQ. "Even if I play a lead, I pretend I'm playing like, you know, the fourth, fifth character down, because you get more freedom. I also don't really think about the overall effect that [a character’s] going to have. It's for me to play around, much like animals and children do. Have tunnel vision about what you're doing, not think about the effect you’re having."
Elsewhere in the interview to promote his new movie Amsterdam, out Friday (October 7), Bale spoke candidly about accepting parts that he presumes were first offered to Leonardo DiCaprio.
"Oh, dude. It's not just me," he said. "Look, to this day, any role that anybody gets, it's only because he's passed on it beforehand. It doesn't matter what anyone tells you. It doesn't matter how friendly you are with the directors. All those people that I've worked with multiple times, they all offered every one of those roles to him first. Right? I had one of those people actually tell me that. So, thank you, Leo, because literally, he gets to choose everything he does. And good for him, he's phenomenal."
In fairness, there's no denying Bale has picked up his share of iconic roles over the years – from the leads in American Psycho and Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, to his Oscar-winning performance as boxer Dicky Eklund in 2010's The Fighter. This year, he also played the baddie in Marvel superhero movie Thor: Love and Thunder.
Do you think of Christian Bale as a "leading man?"