How Christian Bale’s Combover Inspired the Opening of ‘American Hustle’

Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams in 'American Hustle'
Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams in 'American Hustle'

For anyone heading to theaters to see "American Hustle" this weekend, here's a fun fact to keep in mind: The film's memorable opening scene, in which we meet con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) in the midst of an elaborate procedure for covering his bald spot, was not supposed to be in the movie. How did it happen? According to Bale, he and director David O. Russell decided to put his character's hair prep on film because of its ability to draw a crowd.

"I can't honestly remember if it was written in the script, I don't think it was," Bale told Yahoo Movies. But we had been doing it for weeks, every morning getting ready to go to work, and we [had] people who would just come and sit and watch my hair get ready because it was entertaining. And so we went, 'Well, let's stick it on film!'"

Watch the cast of 'American Hustle' discuss their '70s hair and clothes:

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Even better, they "invented" their own method for covering Rosenfeld's bald head, one that involved the gluing of a fake patch of hair onto Bale's head, followed by the arranging of his remaining hair over the fake hair, finished with lots and lots of hairspray.

"We invented that thing with the glue and the false hair on top," he said. "We have no idea if anyone actually ever does that but if they want to steal it and it's good for them ... go for it."

The "Fighter" Oscar winner and current Golden Globe nominee for his performance in "Hustle" admitted that he developed an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into arranging a perfect combover, but isn't sold on the idea for himself.

"It takes a lot of work, and who do they think they're kidding? That's the great thing and that's what I love about the contradiction with the character, he is this consummate con artist and who does he think he's kidding with that hair? He's kidding nobody." Bale continued, "My advice [for men with bald spots] would probably be to just confess and get rid of that combover ... But I think it's very charming seeing the guys with the combovers, so all the best to them."

Christian Bale in 'American Hustle'
Christian Bale in 'American Hustle'

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As for working with Jennifer Lawrence, who plays his wife Rosalyn, Bale said she was the perfect actress for the job, though admitted he initially thought she was too young for the part.

"But in realizing the toxicity of the relationship … it was very clear from that first day that this works, this is great, no one is going to be questioning [it]," he explained. "[It wasn't] the terrible Hollywood cliche where you just get an actor who says 'I want a much younger actress to play my wife,' nothing like that. This is all about how toxic their relationship is, how it doesn't work, how it shouldn't be in existence."

"American Hustle" is out in theaters now.