In the film, which is something of a whodunit but focused on three people who are accused of murder and trying to clear their names, Bale plays a character who has a glass eye from an old World War I injury. True to his method-acting ways, Bale actually wore a lens on his eye “the whole time” to ensure he “couldn’t see out of that eye at all,” the actor told Inverse.
“There was a lens technician, Bob, who was great. He was always looking out for my eye. If we left it in too long, he’d come and look and go, ‘Oh God, we got to take it out.’ He would say the eye is literally growing around the lens. It’s like egg whites and the protein starts to grow because it starts to say, You’ve had this lens in for so long, we’re gonna make it a part of your eyeball.”
Though Amsterdam may have modern themes associated with it, owing to its plot that unravels a conspiracy amongst the wealthy elite, the film has actually been in the works for six years, Bale explained in the interview.
Much of that time was dedicated to research that the actor completed in order to pin down the essence of his character, Burt Berendsen. Sources of inspiration for the character included everything from the classic police procedural Columbo to Bale’s own son as well as stalking strangers on the street to study their movements.
The six-year period was also used by writer-director David O. Russell to conduct research on the story, with the film taking place in the 1930s and which is purportedly inspired by actual events, albeit woven together with fictionalized elements.
Amsterdam comes to theaters Oct. 7.