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#1
Old 12-08-2010, 01:58 PM
Evil Abed
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Default Christian Bale:"Real respect for the incredible heart-pounding fitness it takes"

Q&A: Christian Bale is Micky Ward's brother in 'The Fighter'


By Bob Velin, USA TODAY
The Fighter, the inspirational true story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his older half-brother, Dicky Eklund, opens Friday in select cities. It opens in theaters everywhere Dec. 17.

The story centers around Ward—best known for his career-ending trilogy of fights with the late Arturo Gatti— overcoming great odds and his dysfunctional family on the blue-collar streets of Lowell, Mass., to become a professional boxer and his relationship with Dicky, himself a former fighter known as "The Pride of Lowell," who sinks into addiction to crack cocaine.

British actor Christian Bale has been getting serious Oscar buzz for his portrayal of Dicky. Mark Wahlberg, a New Englander and also a producer for the film, plays Ward and took his own punches during the fight scenes.

USA TODAY's Bob Velin talked to Bale recently about his role:

Q: What did you see in the role that made you want to take the part of Dicky Eklund?

A: Oh man, how could you not? There's not many guys comin' on like him before, and the whole story, the reliance of the two brothers upon each other, there's no way I was passing on that.

Q: How well did ou get to know Dicky?

A: Very well. We're still in touch. I went out to Lowell and hung out with him on the streets. And he took me around to all his haunts. And then he came out to L.A., and he was out here for three, four weeks, just sparring each day, hanging out, telling stories, shooting the (bull), getting to know each other real well.

Q: What is he like these days?

A: Dicky's always bouncing back. He's gone right over the edge, and he's come back laughing. And he loves people. Dicky's always wanting to tell a joke, have a laugh. And genetically, he's a marvel, somebody who can keep on going despite all the years of abuse he gave to his body.

Q: Did Dicky train you to box?

A: Yeah. I've done martial arts and stuff, but I didn't tell anybody. I approach each thing behaving as if I know nothing. I started right from scratch. Because I wasn't just learning how to box, I was learning how to box Dicky-style. That involved changing my body to become like Dicky so it was appropriate, and starting from scratch, which I enjoy.

Q: It's been said you lost about 30 pounds for the role. True?

A: I had to because I look nothing like a welterweight. I couldn't get down to (that) weight without being incredibly unhealthy and probably unable to move too much. But I had to try to get the look of Dicky's body type and the way he moves, but not go too far because yes, I had to play the crackhead, but I also had to play the guy who gets clean after jail.

Q: Were all those quirks true, like Dicky jumping out of the upstairs window every time his mother came to the house?

A: Absolutely all true, and actually, that house, that window, he really did jump out of. That was the great thing. We'd go around Lowell with Dicky, and he'd be, 'Here's the actual crack house, let's go knock on the door.' We'd knock on the door, there would be a family living there, but they let us in, we walked around, he told me the stories, and a lot of times we ended up filming it in those actual places.

Q: How much did you get to know Dicky before you were comfortable with the role?

A: It's always a crapshoot of well, does he really want to help me out, does he like me, is he gonna say, 'I want nothing to do with him'? It's kind of a slow burn. I'm looking at the guy, chatting with him and thinking, 'Aw man, I'm not going to be able to pull this off.' But slowly, day by day ... it's like, you stick a frog in cold water and then start boiling him, he doesn't realize he's getting cooked. Eventually you're cooked and it's happening.

Q: Micky's sisters were also a fascinating part of the movie. Were they as catty, and almost vindictive, as they were portrayed?

A: Intimidating beyond belief. For all the testosterone on the set, estrogen was well-represented, too. Definitely held its own. Some of the sisters were around and occasionally threatening the actresses when they didn't like their portrayals. Oh yeah, it was a fun set.

Q: Had you worked with Mark Wahlberg before this?

A: No, I never worked with him. This movie wouldn't have gotten made without him. It's something he's been pursuing for many, many years. Every movie needs that one source that just keeps you steaming forward, like a locomotive, to get it made. I think he's done some absolutely fantastic work in it, and it's a very personal project for him.

Q: Are you a boxing fan?

A: Kind of an amateur one. I got to see Manny Pacquiao spar at Freddie Roach's gym, beforehand. And, man, immense appreciation for that. And also with Micky and Dicky. And of course, they would let me hit, hit, hit (while we were) sparring. And suddenly they started jabbing back, hitting back, and I realized I got no place in this ring. Real respect for the incredible heart-pounding fitness it takes, but beyond that, the mental discipline it takes.

Q: Did you see Micky's amazing trilogy with Arturo Gatti?

A: I did afterwards, yeah. Tragically, Gatti died (just before) filming, and it cut up Micky a great deal. They were very close. But man, did I see those fights. I had DVDs of every single one of Micky's and Dicky's fights. It shows just how different the brothers are. How Micky can go in there and just take a punch. And Dicky, he can give a punch. But then you try to punch him back, and he's like a cat; he just disappears.
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#2
Old 12-08-2010, 02:12 PM
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Perfect story. Can't wait to watch this movie.
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:38 PM
Bierstadt
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Bale is the hardest working actor in the business. Deserves every cent he gets paid.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:00 PM
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I can't wait to see this movie!
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:06 PM
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bale is a better actor than wahlberg, but this is wahlberg's pet project.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:15 PM
Evil Abed
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Originally Posted by Pullcounter View Post
bale is a better actor than wahlberg, but this is wahlberg's pet project.
And Bale is looking at a Oscar.

Kinda of ironic.
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