Here’s How Christian Bale Lost Around 70 Pounds to Fit Into the Race Cars in ‘Ford v Ferrari’

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Christian Bale is no stranger to making physical transformations. After gaining weight and muscle for roles like The Dark Knight and American Hustle, Bale needed to do a different type of physical change for his racing drama Ford v Ferrari. This time around, he needed to drop a bunch of weight to just fit into the small racing cars used in the movie.

When Ford v Ferrari started filming, Bale had recently come off of filming his movie Vice, where he gained over 40 pounds to transform into former Vice President Dick Cheney. In Ford v Ferrari, Bale plays British driver Ken Miles, a man who is used to fitting into the tight spaces of high-speed race cars.

“I had to get in the car,” Bale told Variety at the Ford v Ferrari premiere. “I could not bloody – these things are not made for comfort, these cars. They’re tight. So, I couldn’t bloody get in them. That would have been a whole different film. These cars are not made for large men.”

Here’s a look at Bale’s change in the two films:

Ford v Ferrari / Twentieth Century Fox / Greig Fraser / Annapurna Pictures
Ford v Ferrari / Twentieth Century Fox / Greig Fraser / Annapurna Pictures

Bale earned an Academy Award nomination for his role in Vice, but with just a few months between finishing filming that movie and Ford v Ferrari, Bale took some drastic measures to make sure he could get it done. Men’s Journal spoke with Bale’s co-star Matt Damon earlier this year, and the actor revealed just how Bale got things done.

“[Christian] was coming off Vice, and from the time we decided to do the movie to the time we started shooting, he dropped 70 pounds,” Damon told Men’s Journal. “The first day on the set, I asked him: ‘How did you do that?’ I’ve lost weight and gained weight for parts, and there are lots of theories on how to do it. And he just looked at me and said: ‘I didn’t eat.’ That guy is cut from a different cloth. He has a monk-like discipline that’s just really impressive to see.”

At the Ford v Ferrari premiere, Bale spoke a bit more about what it took to get into character for the film: “He was an easy character to channel intensity into, but a great deal of fun as well,” Bale said. “He was a guy who really enjoyed his life. He loved what he did. That’s why he was so passionate and despised the bureaucrats who would come along and spoil all the fun, basically. He just thought there was no room for them in racing.”

Ford v Ferrari will be released on November 15.