With an Oscar now under his belt for "The Fighter" and proving his box office chops with Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, once Christian Bale has wrapped up "The Dark Knight Rises" he's going to have his pick of the litter with Variety laying out the numerous projects that are being sent his way. The trade says Bale will make no decisions until he's done with Batman in November -- and there is absolutely no mention of the Terrence Malick project that cropped up just a few days ago -- but if anything, these projects are interesting because, for the most part, they aren't tentpole-driven fare.
The most attention grabbing of all the projects mentioned is Spike Lee's remake of "Oldboy." Set up at Mandate Pictures with a script by Mark Protosevich that has been making studio types happy, Bale is being eyed for the villain role in the piece, which is an intriguing prospect. It's certainly not the flashiest role in the movie, but perhaps suggests that Protosevich's take on the man who ensnares the hero of the film will be quite memorable. It's a been a while since we've seen Bale be bad so this could be a good way to shake up his Bruce Wayne image.
Also on his desk? How about reteam with his "Public Enemies" director Michael Mann for "Gold." You can be forgiven if you've forgotten about this project entirely, but it was announced this spring as yet another possible feature for Mann who also has "Agincourt" and the gangster pic "Big Tuna" as possibilities. Developed by Paul Haggis and penned by Patrick Masset and John Zinman (”Friday Night Lights”), plot details are scarce but it’s said to be a contemporary story set in the world of gold prospectors and speculators, sort of like a modern day “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Intriguing.
Or perhaps Bale will exercise his musical muscles as it appears that Leonardo DiCaprio is no longer being mooted for the lead in Clint Eastwood's "A Star Is Born," with "The Fighter" star being considered for the part. The familiar story about a wide-eyed girl dreaming of stardom who finds a helping hand from a washed out, alcoholic older leading man was first made as a drama by William Wellman in 1937, but truly became legendary when it became a musical in 1954 starring Judy Garland and directed by George Cukor. In 1976, Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson tried to repeat that success but were met with dismal results. Bale + Beyonce? Yeah, we'd be...interested.
Also on the docket is "Crazy Heart" director Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace" first announced in April. Cooper is re-writing and directing the Black List script “The Low Dweller” by up-and-comer Brad Ingelsby. It's a grim tale set in Indiana in 1986 and follows Slim, recently released from prison, who intends to marry his girlfriend but instead is drawn into a quest for revenge when his brother is murdered after getting involved in the gambling racket.
And of course, there is also Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" which after a bit of noise earlier this year, has gone strangely quiet. We'd imagine financing will pretty much depend on Bale's involvement so it will be interesting to see how that project plays out. So anyway, lots of options and just as many questions, but Bale doesn't seem to need to be worried about any Oscar curse or slump as he's got a pretty choice batch of projects and auteurs to work with. But his first post-Batman picture is already in the can, with Zhang Yimou's "The 13 Women of Nanjing," which should hit theaters sometime next year.