Throughout his over three decades in the film industry, Christian Bale has played some of the most iconic characters in not only film, but literature as well. From the Dark Knight himself to the magnetic and destructive Patrick Bateman and even Dick Cheney, Bale has truly lost himself in his roles time and time again. So let’s take a closer look at some of his standout performances and see if the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can help create a clearer image of so of the most fascinating and complex characters to come out of Hollywood, Broadway, and even Japan.
8 Jack Kelly (Newsies): - ENTP
Ah, Jack Kelly. How could anyone forget Bale’s charismatic, optimistic, and everso musically-inclined, Jack Kelly? While having an innate love of Sante Fe is not a particularly common trait among the ENTP, Jack does display many of their best qualities. He is a strong and passionate fighter, always ready to pick up a good cause or argue against a bad one. Jack is a leader amongst the newsies, and as conditions begin to worsen for him and the people he cares about most, Jack is more than willing to lead the charge for what’s fair. Pulitzer and Hearst might think they’ve got ‘em. Do they got ‘em? No. Not if Jack has anything to say about it, that is.
7 Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) - ENTJ
Patrick Bateman is, perhaps, one of the most iconic and terrifying characters to have ever hit the big screen. And while the writing of his character certainly served its purpose, it’s hard to imagine that the charming, inviting, and absolutely erratic character would have been nearly as big of a hit without Bale. Patrick is all about his routines. He lives his life in a series of very well timed, prepped, and controlled sections. Skin care.Physical fitness. Work. Play. A well-balanced life and a carefully curated outward appearance are very important to the homicidal yuppie struggling to keep it all together.
6 Trevor Reznik (The Machinist) - INFJ
The Machinist follows the story of a man who is truly hurting after having made several missteps in his life (No spoilers here. Go watch it. Seriously. It’s Bale’s performance is absolutely terrifying to watch). Trevor Reznik has let one event from his past change the course of his entire future. He is introverted, living mostly in solitude.
He’s also very structured and disciplined. And while insomnia and working at a machine shop don’t seem like they’d be two things that would mix, Trevor somehow manages to keep himself together through the long days and nights. However, it takes a lot to get Trevor out of his own head, and as the film reaches it’s conclusion viewers will likely wonder, was it all worth it?
5 Howl Jenkins Pendragon (Howl’s Moving Castle) - ENFP
Howl Jenkins Pendragon, the, often generous often mischievous, titular character from Howl’s Moving Castle is another one of Bale’s more charismatic and extroverted roles. Having the ability to talk himself out of nearly anything, Howl is very averse to any sort of conflict in his life. Rather he prefers to use his silver tongue to escape the seemingly impossible predicaments he often finds himself in. Howl doesn’t have much of a plan for really anything in his life, but if he were asked to define some type of motto or guiding principle it’d likely have something to do with following one’s heart. Wherever that may lead.
4 Bruce Wayne (The Dark Knight Trilogy) - INTJ
Much like Bale, Bruce Wayne often wears the mask of an extroverted personality type. However, like many aspects of Wayne’s public persona, this is merely a trick, a manipulation. Bruce Wayne is an incredibly reclusive and introverted person. While his public persona may appear carefree, optimistic, sociable, and impulsive, anyone who knows the real Bruce understands that this carefully constructed mask is meticulously crafted with a purpose behind every detail. Bruce is the type of person who is always plotting, always thinking, always breaking down multiple problems in his head. For Bruce and many INTJ like him, there is no “off switch”. His mind is stuck in overdrive, analyzing every micro reaction, every detail, and coming up with backup plans for his backup plans.
3 Alfred Bordon (The Prestige) - INTJ
Perhaps inspired by his work on Batman Begins, Bale’s next character, Alfred Bordon from Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, much like Bale’s Batman, is an INTJ. Alfred, much like Bruce is willing to obsess over a trick until he has pulled it off to perfection. His rivalry with fellow magician Robert Angier serves to drive Bordon further and further in order to upstage the increasingly unhinged Angier. While Bordon is seemingly always one step ahead of Angier, as the film reaches its climax that viewers are let in on the full scope of Bordon’s genius. And his sacrifice.
Unlike Angeir, Bordon was willing to truly disappear into the illusions he had spent his entire life perfect. Laser focus on a certain goal or aspiration is a common trait spread among Bordon, Wayne, and fellow INTJ like them.
2 Dicky Eklund (The Fighter) - ESTP
Dicky Eklund, half-brother (and trainer) of the professional boxer Micky Ward, is a bit of a has-been by the time the film takes place. While Dicky had previously experienced some success as a boxer himself, he has allowed himself to slip incredibly far by the time audiences are introduced to him. His extroverted nature and fame may get him out of more trouble than seems humanly possible, however, it is the lack of structure and accountability in his life that ultimately cause Dicky the most harm. Dicky may come off as irresponsible, but there’s more to Dicky lying just beneath the surface of his drug-induced stupor. Dicky, like many boxers at the professional level, realizes that boxing is a sport of the mind as much as the body. While the drugs may dim his light while he abuses them, there is still an intelligent and capable fighter hiding somewhere in his mind.
1 Dick Cheney (Vice) - ISTJ
In his latest foray into a character based one another living person, Bale has truly outdone himself while bringing a fictionalized version of the vice president of the Bush administration, Dick Cheney. In the film, Cheney is cold and calculating when it comes to his work. However, in stark contrast to his cold and often distant demeanor at work and even during multiple heart attacks, Cheney is often painted as warm and loving within his family life. Bale’s Cheney is meticulous, patient, pragmatic, and always willing to do what he thinks needs to be done to get his mission and goals accomplished. His pensive nature combine with a steadfast followthrough make Bale’s Cheney an incredibly capable, albeit narrow-minded, political opponent.