Christian Bale opened up about creating his "monstrous" new Marvel villain Gorr the God Butcher. The Batman Begins star plays the role in the upcoming MCU movie Thor: Love and Thunder opposite Chris Hemsworth.
Speaking about his relationship with the character at the movie's press conference, Bale says Chris had a "much tougher job" than him. "There's a great pleasure in playing a villain," he explains. "It's a lot easier to play a villain than it is to play a hero. Everyone is fascinated with bad guys, immediately."
Bale adds: "The beauty of it is that Taika [Waititi, Thor 4 director] can make it bloody hilarious – and then really moving as well in this story. I don't know if it's pushing it too much to say sympathy, but certainly, you sort of understand maybe why this guy is making awful decisions, and he is a monster and he is a butcher. But there is possibly a little understanding of why he came to be that way."
Speaking about developing his version of the Marvel bad guy, Bale says it all came together when he first saw himself in the final make-up look. "You don't really know exactly what you're doing with a character like that until you see it completely," he explains.
"It's in your imagination and we didn't have that long. You know, we talked about it during quarantine and in an abstract way, but then put it on and worked out, 'alright, this was a pious man with tattoos and he's cut those off and so we'd have all of those scars.' And that's when you really get to start playing with it and experiment as you film."
The result – as glimpsed in the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer – is terrifying. Bale’s iteration of Gorr also already has had some high praise from Thor himself as Hemsworth says he’s "favorite villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe."
"I love everyone I've worked with, but this was particularly special," Hemsworth explains. "There’s an empathetic quality there, there's a vulnerability. You kind of find yourself going, 'Ah, that's what he's doing is wrong, but I get the sense of the motivation behind it.'"
If you want to know more about Bale’s Gorr and the surprising influences he used for the role, check out our interview with him in the latest issue of Total Film.