Although he’s often referred to as one of the best actors of his generation, Christian Bale’s acting abilities didn’t make the best first impression on his in-laws.
Speaking to PEOPLE recently with his Ford v Ferrari costar Matt Damon about their family’s favorite films of theirs, Bale revealed that one of his in-laws’ very first experiences with his movies was watching one of his most complicated, violent and semi-naked performances.
“When I first got married [to wife Sibi], her grandma said, ‘So he’s an actor?’ ‘Yeah,’ she says. ‘Has he done anything? ‘Yeah, he did a film, it’s called American Psycho,’ ” he recalled. “So Sibi’s mom took her a copy of American Psycho.”
“Oh, no,” Damon said with a look of horror on his face. “Oh my God.”
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“Sibi’s mom hadn’t realized quite how many inappropriate moments there might be,” Bale remembered with a smile. “And so the first inappropriate moment started and she just pressed fast-forward. Sibi’s grandma didn’t realize that that was not part of the film. She just thought it was some stylistic thing that went by in very quick moments. And then [Sibi’s mom] realized that almost the entire film is inappropriate. They got through it in 15 minutes.”
In the 2000 thriller, Bale plays the intense, high strung, and mentally unhinged character Patrick Bateman. It wasn’t a box office success at the time of its release, but has a cult following and earned Bale acclaim for his terrifying performance.
Bale continued: “They finish the film, to which she looked [at her daughter] and she went, ‘Well, he’s not a proper actor, is he? That was about 15 minutes long that film. Well, anyway, fingers crossed he’ll start doing better in the future.’ ”
“There’s probably many people would agree with her assessment on that,” he added with a laugh.
Bale’s latest film, Ford v Ferrari, opposite Damon, is much more family-friendly and revolves around the story of how the Ford Motor Company took on rival Ferrari at the 24 hour Les Mans race in 1959.
“I’m so bloody proud to be a part of this, there are not many movies like this any longer,” Bale said of the film, in which he plays legendary driver Ken Miles. “It’s the closest you will ever get to being in a race car without being in a race car.”
“It’s definitely better in a movie theater than on your phone,” quipped Damon.
Ford v Ferrari is now playing in theaters.