Christian Bale's Favorite Movie Is Officially 'Beverly Hills Ninja'
Never let it be said that Batman doesn’t have a sense of humor. An Esquire interview with Christian Bale from all the way back in 2010 periodically pops up in our feed whenever Bale and Chris Farley happen to be trending at the same time. In the piece, Bale gave a surprising answer to the question of the Oscar-winning actor’s favorite film, choosing the 1997 masterpiece Beverly Hills Ninja as the top of the top. Bale told Esquire, “One time I sat down and watched it two nights in a row, and cried with laughter both times. The guy just was a phenomenon, and is missed dearly in my household.”
Through the years, Bale has been asked the same question countless times, and the answer has always remained the same – Chris Farley’s critically panned Kung Fu comedy Beverly Hills Ninja has yet to be unseated as Bale’s go-to favorite film. Patrick Bateman is officially a Farley fan, and he's really going to lose his mind when he finally rents the videotape for Tommy Boy.
When Yahoo! Entertainment asked Bale to name a favorite film in 2016, he elaborated on his choice slightly, saying, “The default answer for me is Beverly Hills Ninja … It’s an easy one to give because most people go, 'What? Oh, okay.’” Bale revealed that, despite appearing in some of the most successful and influential movies of the last three decades, “I don’t watch films that much.” The fact that Beverly Hills Ninja has earned multiple re-watches from the cinematic chameleon proves that this isn’t just a flippant joke answer meant to mess with journalists – Bale genuinely loves watching Farley kick ass to the tune of “Kung Fu Fighting.”
Bale’s extreme dedication to his roles and occasional on-set outbursts wouldn’t suggest that the English actor has an affinity for physical comedy, but Bale’s reverence for Farley flicks doesn’t come as a surprise to those who know where Bale’s eccentric acting methods come from. When Bale’s “monk-like discipline” to the art form came up in a GQ interview during the media campaign for Ford v Ferrari, Bale told the story of an early experience with another comedy icon which shaped Bale's approach to his work.
“One of first jobs ever was with Rowan Atkinson and I think I look at him as the template. He was playing... The Nerd, it was called, by Larry Shue. He would come out, we’d say hello, but he didn’t really socialise,” Bale told of his time with Mr. Bean. “And I would just watch him; I would see him becoming a character. I was mesmerised. And then he just stayed in character for the whole night. And it wasn’t until the whole thing was finished that he invited me to say hello and that I actually spoke to him for the first time. It dawned on me that was my learning phase. I went, ‘Oh, that’s how it’s done then, is it? OK, great.’”
The physical comedy DNA in Bale’s veins creates a hilarious context for his legendary performances in action films like The Dark Knight. When Batman chokeslams criminals in clown masks, just know that the brilliant mind behind the mask was inspired by Chris Farley flailing around hibachi spatulas and flinging himself from palm trees. “Why so serious?” indeed.