‘American Psycho’ star initially thought Christian Bale’s iconic performance was terrible

american psycho
via Lionsgate

American Psycho is often described as a classic among critics and fans alike. The horror, which was first released in 2000, follows Christian Bale‘s character Patrick Bateman, a banking executive that appears to live a perfect life but is concealing a terrible secret from his peers: his deranged thoughts of hurting others. 

The film is currently making headlines more than two decades after its release because actor Josh Lucas recently disclosed during an upcoming interview with Yellowstoners‘ podcast that he thought Bale’s portrayal of Patrick Bateman was “terrible.” Lucas plays the role of Craig McDermott in the movie.

In the discussion, Lucas shared that he initially thought Bale’s performance was so bad because he didn’t understand the film’s concept and the direction American Psycho‘s director Mary Harron wanted to take it. He said, 

“I thought he was terrible. I didn’t think he was crazy, I just thought he was, like, a bad actor. I truly remember thinking, ‘OK, this movie’s weird.’ Like, I knew the scenes were kind of fun and funny, but I didn’t realize the timely nature of how great Mary Harron’s storytelling was.”

Lucas added that his past criticism about Bale ultimately turned to admiration for the actor because once he understood the film’s premise and thus the reasoning behind the “over the top” acting, he saw why The Dark Knight Rises star was perfect for the role compared to Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio was previously considered for the part, but Harron decided to go with Bale as the lead. While mentioning how “nice” Bale is to work with, the 51-year-old stated,

“Now, you know it was Christian Bale, but [Harron] had the chance to hire Leonardo DiCaprio at that heightened point in his career, but she was like, ‘No, it’s got to be Christian Bale!’ And I remember also thinking, ‘Well, that’s nuts.’ I mean, I was young in my career and I was nervous, but I also didn’t have enough experience to understand that what Christian was doing was next level.

You know, it was beyond anything I’d ever seen. So, I thought it seemed strange. I thought it seemed over the top or a little bit fake and when you go back and watch it, I mean that’s why he’s one of the greatest film actors ever, I would say. It’s because of the risk that he was taking. And also, what I think is surprising about Christian Bale, which has been my experience as I’ve worked with him twice now, is he’s a really nice guy.”

American Psycho also starred Jared Leto, Willem Dafoe, Chloë Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Justin Theroux, Reg E. Cathey, Guinevere Turner, Cara Seymour, Matt Ross, and many others. The film would gross over $34 million worldwide. The success of American Psycho spawned the sequel American Psycho II: All American Girl with Mila Kunis, which went straight to DVD. 

To watch American Psycho and its sequel, fans can stream it now on HBO Max.