Christian Bale To Play A Priest In ‘Nanjing Heroes’

Christian Bale has never been one to make conventional career choices. He’ll drop 75 pounds to play an insomniac in an indie like “The Machinist,” then turn around and pack on 90 pounds to play a jacked superhero in a blockbuster like “Batman Begins.” So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that in between collecting awards (and likely an Oscar nod) for his turn as an emaciated, drugged-out ex-boxer in “The Fighter” and bulking up to don the Batsuit for a third time in “The Dark Knight Rises,” Bale is once again defying expectations… this time signing on to star in a Chinese blockbuster.

Yes, you read that correctly. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bale will headline “Nanjing Heroes,” a period drama about the Massacre of Nanjing, also known as the”Rape of Nanking, from award-winning Chinese filmmaker Zhang Youmi (“Hero,” “Raise the Red Lantern”). And here’s the kicker. The film has a $90 million budget, which is pretty much unheard of in China, where the most successful domestically produced film, “Aftershock,” raked in a worldwide box office gross of — you guessed it — $90 mil.

In the film, Bale will play an American Catholic priest who shelters a group of prostitutes and female students in his church during the Massacre of Nanking, a 1937 invasion in which Japanese soldiers stormed China’s then-capital and murdered and raped thousands of Chinese citizens.

Based on Yan Geling’s novel “The 13 Women of Nanjing,” the film will begin shooting in China in January, with roughly 40 percent of the dialogue spoken in English and the rest in Mandarin.

The Massacre of Nanjing is a hot topic of late, having been the subject of the documentary “Nanking,” Florian Gallenberger’s drama “John Rabe” (about the titular a German businessman, who helped save hundreds of Chinese refugees during the invasion) and the divisive Chinese blockbuster “City of Life and Death.”

For our money, we can’t wait to see what Bale does with the role. Always one to take risks with his choices, Bale is one of the most exciting actors working in movies today. He’s at once a recognizable movie star and a character actor capable of disappearing into the role he’s playing. In other words, we’d see him in pretty much anything. That his movie sounds awesome is just icing on the cake.

Are you excited for “Nanjing Heroes”? Tell us in the comments!