Robert De Niro had a special uncredited appearance in the David O. Russell film American Hustle. He met with some familiar and not-so-familiar faces on set. But one of Hustle’s actors, Christian Bale, completely caught De Niro by surprise with his new look.
Instead of wearing a fat suit, Bale went the extra mile for his American Hustle character by putting on the weight the role required. His process for getting out of shape was a simple one, and consisted of eating as much as he could.
“I ate lots of doughnuts, a whole lot of cheeseburgers and whatever I could get my hands on. I literally ate anything that came my way,” Bale, once told People. “I was about 185 and went up to 228. I’m still working it off.”
Bale also sported a more balding hairdo, which might’ve made the actor even harder to recognize. De Niro would eventually arrive on the film set to lend his talents to the movie. When he introduced himself to Bale, he thought the actor was a complete newcomer.
“We wanted to do something he’d never done before. When he met the whole cast he shook their hands and said, ‘Who’s that guy?’ And I said, ‘You just met him, that’s Christian Bale’. He goes, ‘Wow, he looks so different. He looks great!’ He didn’t realize he just met him and I had to reintroduce them,” Russell once recalled according to Contact Music.
Similarly to Bale, De Niro also knew what it took to morph his body for the sake of a film role. The Oscar-winner jumped from 145 to 215 pounds to portray boxer Jake La Motta in Raging Bull. However, Bale has undergone these extreme physical transformations at a more frequent rate. Bale reduced his weight all the way to 120 pounds for The Machinist. Then he bulked back up all the way to 220 pounds for Batman Begins. And those are just two examples of the actor’s commitment.
Like many, De Niro was impressed by Bale’s dedication for roles. Although he agreed that he was glad he didn’t have to put his own body through the ringer anymore.
“That was a lot that he did,” De Niro told The Wrap about Bale. “It was a lot. It was great. And part of me did say thank God. But he’s great. I mean, he is great at what he does. It’s really something. Yeah. And I am so impressed every time. Amazing.”
American Hustle was the first time Bale and De Niro collaborated on a project together. But it wouldn’t be the last. De Niro would team up with Bale again for their more recent film Amsterdam. Unlike Hustle, where De Niro was a cameo, Amsterdam had a much more substantial role for the Taxi Driver star. This allowed Bale and De Niro to spend a bit more time with each other on set.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, De Niro has accumulated more wealth over the years than Bale has. A good portion of his wealth comes from his extensive and prolific acting career. But one of the biggest contributors to De Niro’s wallet is the Nobu restaurant chain, which De Niro is a co-owner of. He started the restaurant with filmmaker Nobu Matsuhisa in 1994, and the restaurant’s empire has grown immensely since then.
Bale reportedly has a net worth of $120 million. Most, if not all of his wealth came from his acting career.