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Chloe Sevigny Says Working With Christian Bale Was ‘Challenging’

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Chloe Sevigny, Christian Bale.
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Chloë Sevigny struggled to connect with Christian Bale while filming American Psycho due to his Method acting process.

“I was trying to respect his process, which I found challenging because I’m very gregarious and silly and goofy, unbeknownst to the general public,” Sevigny, 49, told her American Psycho costar Josh Lucas during a Friday, June 7, Vanity Fair interview. “When people take themselves so seriously, I kind of shut down, even though I take my work very seriously and I love acting and whatnot.”

Bale, 50, starred as Patrick Bateman, an investment banker with a double life as a serial killer, in the 2000 satirical psychological horror film. Sevigny played his secretary, Jean, while Lucas, 52, played his colleague Craig McDermott.

Sevigny admitted that she was “really intimidated” by Bale and his process while making the movie.

Why Chloe Sevigny Found Working With Christian Bale on ‘American Psycho’ So ‘Challenging’
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“I wanted a little more generosity to make myself feel more at ease, which is my own ego. It was a really challenging dynamic for me, but I don’t think that I thought he was bad,” she explained. “I was just kind of confused, like, ‘Why aren’t you being social?’ I wasn’t even that aware of what the Method thing was. I never had any formal training; I think I was just kind of ‘fake it until you make it.’ But the whole Method thing, I was like, ‘What even is this approach?’”

Lucas, meanwhile, shared that he initially thought Bale was a bad actor.

“I don’t know if you felt this way, but I actually truly remember thinking that Christian Bale was terrible,” he said. “I remember the first scene I did with him, I watched him and he seemed so false — and I now realize that it was this just f—king brilliant choice that he was making.”

Lucas went on to praise Bale for being “at such a completely different level” with his acting choices.

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Related: Celebrities Who Use Method Acting for Roles

Getting in character. Many well-known Hollywood stars use method acting to get into character and to better bring authentic portrayals to the screen. As Nicole Kidman prepared to play the intimidating Masha in Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers adaptation, which premiered in August 2021, she only spoke with Masha’s thick Russian accent and wouldn’t be addressed by her (…)

“He was capable of having these crazy layers going on in what he was doing. I thought it was bogus acting at the time, but was exactly the opposite,” he said.

While Bale’s process didn’t make things easy for Sevigny on American Psycho, she acknowledged that it’s “interesting” to see a fellow child actor adopt the Method acting approach.

Why Chloe Sevigny Found Working With Christian Bale on ‘American Psycho’ So ‘Challenging’
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“It’s kind of surprising that Christian would be emotionally invested the way he is, because he was a child actor,” she said. “It’s not like he studied in college and then became this Method-y, (Marlon) Brando-y kind of thing. He found this journey from being a child actor to then an adult actor that I think is a really interesting trajectory, and I’m curious about that.”

Lucas added that he has more respect for Bale than some “bad Method actors” whom he finds “really, really terrible” to work with.

“(Bale’s) not paying attention to f—king anything else but what he’s doing,” he said. “I have nothing but admiration for that, because a lot of Method actors are actually kind of distracting with the fact that their process is more important than anything or anybody else.”

Bale reacted to his Method actor label during a July 2022 interview with Sharp magazine.

“I’ve never studied Method acting whatsoever. I just turn up each day and try to figure out how to get through the day and not have people notice how bloody awful I am,” he said. “I’m amazed that I still get hired every time that I do. But people do tend to say I’m a Method actor. All right, I’ll take their word for it. But I don’t really know strictly what that is, as I’ve never studied it.”

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