Christian Bale’s ‘American Psycho’ Method Acting Was ‘Very Intimidating’ and ‘Challenging’ to Work With for Chloë Sevigny: ‘Why Aren’t You Being Social?’

“American Psycho” co-stars Chloë Sevigny and Josh Lucas recently reunited for a discussion with Vanity Fair in which the two reflected on their leading man, Christian Bale, whose apparent Method acting to play the serial killer Patrick Bateman left Sevigny confused and intimidated on set. Sevigny starred in the film as Patrick’s secretary, Jean.

“I was trying to respect his process, which I found challenging because I’m very gregarious and silly and goofy, unbeknownst to the general public,” Sevigny said. “When people take themselves so seriously, I kind of shut down, even though I take my work very seriously and I love acting and whatnot.”

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“I wanted a little more generosity to make myself feel more at ease, which is my own ego,” she added. “It was a really challenging dynamic for me, but I don’t think that I thought he was bad. I was just kind of confused, like, ‘Why aren’t you being social?’ I wasn’t even that aware of what the Method thing was. I never had any formal training; I think I was just kind of ‘fake it until you make it.’ But the whole Method thing, I was like, What even is this approach? It was very intimidating.”

Lucas starred in “American Psycho” as one of Patrick’s colleagues and admitted that he initially thought Bale’s acting “was terrible” when they were filming together.

“I remember the first scene I did with him, I watched him and he seemed so false — and I now realize that it was this just fucking brilliant choice that he was making,” Lucas said. “That was an actor who was at such a completely different level already. And that he was capable of having these crazy layers going on in what he was doing. I thought it was bogus acting at the time, but it was exactly the opposite.”

Directed by Mary Herron and based on the 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis, “American Psycho” opened in 2000 and was a box office hit. The story centers on Patrick Bateman, a wealthy New York City investment banker hiding his psychopathic ego and serial killer tendencies from his co-workers and friends. The supporting cast included Willem Dafoe, Reese Witherspoon, Jared Leto and Justin Theroux, among others.

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