During a wide-ranging interview with GQ, the 48-year-old actor was asked about Russell being well-known for having difficult sets and how he responded to that kind of working environment. He said that, for starters, understanding the method to one’s madness is paramount.
“If I can have some sense of understanding of where it’s coming from, then, I do tend to attempt to be a mediator,” he tells GQ. “That’s just in my nature, to try to say, ‘Hey, come on, let’s go and sit down and figure that out. There’s gotta be a way of making this all work.’”
Enter Amy Adams.
The 48-year-old actress revealed during a 2016 interview with British GQ that Russell’s behavior on the set was so notorious, it made her cry.
“I was really just devastated on set. I mean, not every day, but most,” recalled Adams, who earned an Oscar nomination for her part. “Jennifer [Lawrence] doesn’t take any of it on. She’s Teflon. And I am not Teflon. But I also don’t like to see other people treated badly. It’s not ok with me.”
When the writer brought this up, Bale was asked if he intervened and told Russell to “back off.”
“Mediator,” Bale responded.
That being said, Bale said his perception of the 2013 film — which earned 10 Academy Award nominations — didn’t change even after learning about the toll it took on Adams.
“No. No, no, no. No. You’re dealing with two such incredible talents there,” he explained. “No, I don’t let that get in the way whatsoever. Look, if I feel like we got anywhere close — and you only ever get somewhere close to achieving; our imagination is too incredible to ever entirely achieve it — but if you get anywhere close to it, and when you’re working with people of the crazy creative talent of Amy or of David, there are gonna be upsets. But they are f***ing phenomenal. Also, you got to remember, it was the nature of the characters as well. Right? Those characters were not people who back down from anything, right?”
And, for what it’s worth, Bale says anyone who still, to this day, revels in the crime comedy should happily do so without feeling guilty about how it made Adams feel, and this isn’t Bale giving the green light.
“And, by the way, that’s not me deciding for her, she’s told me that,” Bale said. When asked to confirm if it was Adams who said “It’s okay, ‘American Hustle’ can live on,” Bale responded, “Yeah. Yes. Absolutely, yeah.”