Well, not literally, unfortunately. But he’s shown up consistently in my life for the last twenty years. It’s not that I follow his career; it’s that his career follows me. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I actually sought out his movies. I never had to, because he kept fucking showing up every so often in things I loved.
- Age 12 — I became obsessed with Empire of the Sun. I read the book it was based on, I listened to the soundtrack constantly, I watched it over and over and over. It’d been out for two years already, but those were before the days that I regularly saw movies when they first came out.
- Age 14 — Newsies came out. Again with the soundtrack listening, of course. I didn’t even realize that he was the kid from Empire of the Sun. But I was a fourteen-year-old girl and he was a dreamy, singing, dancing eighteen-year-old (by the time the movie came out).
- Age 15 — Next he just happened to appear in Swing Kids. I’d always loved stories about World War II (demonstrated earlier by the Empire of the Sun kick). At that time, Dead Poets Society was my favorite movie, and Swing Kids also starred Robert Sean Leonard (yes, he did things before House).
- When I went away to college, I became obsessed with David Bowie. During that obsession, Velvet Goldmine came out (they couldn’t come right out and say it was about Bowie, but it was obvious to anyone who knew anything about him). And Christian’s in that one, too!
- And finally, the clincher: Batman. I’ve had a thing about Batman since seeing the Michael Keaton version in the theater the summer before I turned twelve. I have an extensive and sometimes bizarre collection of things emblazoned with batman and/or the bat symbol (household items, decorative items, clothes, etc.), and I’ve been collecting action figures (solely of Batman, and only ones with a specific “look”) since 1995. So why not? Why not have Christian Bale play Batman? It’s only natural. I should have known.
So what’ll be next? I don’t know, but it seems likely that it’ll be about something I already love.
It’s not like I’ve loved everything he’s ever done. No, that’s not true. I’d say I love everything he’s done, as in his performances are never bad. But he’s been in some real shit movies. Seriously. Still, I think that’s what’s made him so loved — he takes risks with things. He doesn’t stick to the same old schtick like so many other actors. And he’s good enough that he can just keep going if something doesn’t work. His choices can be hit or miss, but when they hit, they really fucking hit.
What I’d like to make known, though, is this: rather than him insisting on making movies on topics I have so much more than a passing interest in, using his career to virtually follow me around for what has now been the majority of my life — I would much prefer he used his body to actually follow me around. We’ll just leave it at that.