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Christian Bale's type?

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EDIT: Bugger, I can't post links yet. I will engage in more senseless posting and add them as soon as I have 15 posts...

I know this is an old-ass-thread, and I can't believe it's the first one (apart from the Intro) I'm answering to. In epic length, as usual, that's just me. So to those who don't want to read my full ramblings, I'll say it straightaway:

I joined the ISTP bandwagon.


You can stop reading now ;)

In case you didn't: The thread caught my attention because I wrote an essay on what you would commonly refer to as “celebrity meltdowns” for my counselling course: Alec Baldwin, Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe, Charlie Sheen, you name it - and of course Christian Bale because of his infamous rant.

To say it straightaway: None of us know these guys. None of us know any of the people we are trying to “type” here. You really don't know what's going on in someone's head by reading a few tabloid articles that are predominantly biased, or written for effect.

Nevertheless, I watched a lot of videos, listened to a lot of interviews and also read everything I could get my hands on. Myers-Briggs/Keirsey had no part in it btw, and cognitive functions only partly, but maybe I can extrapolate a bit from the info I had to put together.

Out of all the people I had a look at, Christian Bale struck me as the one where the explanation was neither a deeper “psychological problem”, nor substance abuse, nor the “I'm just generally an arsehole”-factor (you can of course always argue with that one ;)).
It really looked a lot like a stress-induced “grip” (he had a few during that time), which brings us one step closer...

First of all: Introversion/Extraversion as a personality trait is usually the last thing I'm looking at, because it is, imho, the easiest one to get wrong. Many of us are conditioned to behave E, and especially actors are so used to putting on a persona that you can really fall flat on your face with this. Also, some artists just like that air of “brooding moodiness” and come across more introvert than they actually are. So huge potential for getting it wrong in both directions.

I'm merely looking at the dominant functions that are jumping out at me, but I might as well be wrong about them.

Here goes, some observations:

Christian Bale is very quiet with people he doesn't know. Usually not shy in the “awkward way”, more slow to warm up. He can get quite animated once he found a “hook”, but it seems he needs to be comfortable around you for that.
Overall, definitely not a small-talker. I often have the feeling that whenever I see him in an interview he's still in character (for whatever movie he's promoting), so I had to do a lot of digging to find interviews or videos where I thought he was sort of himself. I found it hard, and you can never be sure, but if you study Psychology, you hopefully develop a feeling for it...

Having said that, he seems quite approachable if he doesn't take an instant dislike to you. He doesn't strike me as arrogant (as some people say), just very, very observant. I guess some people might mistake this for being slightly aloof. He also seems very analytical.

He definitely has a sense of humour, but of the kind that just comes out quick and dry and can sometimes feel a bit “off”.

Maybe a few words about his work/acting style:
He strikes me as someone who builds his characters outside in, not inside out, if that makes any sense to the acting inclined people on here.

Building characters outside in: I make physical changes (or put myself in a certain environment) to get into character, so the reference point is how I feel in the present/now. It's the type of actor that "blank slates" and then totally immerses himself until he becomes another person. They need to feel it physically.
Building characters inside out: I use sense memory. I reference the present on the past. I use past experiences to get into character. That's often psychologically more dangerous, because the lines between past experiences and using them to get into character can become blurred.

I work with a lot of actors (not counselling, coaching), and Christian's approach oozes Se involvement for me, I just can't shake it.

So function-wise, the two strongest ones I get from him are S and T, and it feels more Se/Ti than Si/Te to me.
If I assumed that Se and Ti are dominant and auxiliary in him, in whatever order, that leaves us with ESTP and ISTP.

I can see Ni being tertiary (ISTP) rather than inferior (ESTP), because he e.g. admits to acting on hunches. I can also see Fe popping up here and there, but in a sort of unadjusted way, so more inferior (ISTP) than tertiary (ESTP). It is a close call though, I really couldn't say for definite. Keeping in mind that he is normally rather quiet, I'd personally choose ISTP over ESTP.
His body language can be quite animated at times (!), that's why it wouldn't surprise me if some people lean more towards ESTP.
He really doesn't like being in the centre of attention though when he's not acting, he has a reputation for being intensely private and hating interviews, he does not really attend any events if he doesn't have to, he hardly ever goes to post awards parties. That's not exactly shouting E at me.

I think his inferior Fe can really show up when he's stressed. Either as in getting a bit overemotional and awkward (check out his Oscar speech, especially the bit when he's thanking his wife),or as in blowing a gasket (the “rant”). The latter strikes me as a typical ISTP reaction towards perceived incompetency: Inferior Fe going crazy.

From a different angle (but not the one I prefer):
Leaning towards introvert = Ixxx
I think he extroverts perceiving = IxxP
I'm also quite sure that his perceiving function is S = ISxP
Which leaves us with ISTP and ISFP.
I think he's more likely Ti dom than Fi dom - I find it very, very hard to believe that his Ti is inferior. But you never know...

On the notion of reversing the whole thing to Si/Te and him being ISTJ (Si-Te-Fi-Ne) or even ESTJ (Te-Si-Ne-Fi - I'm dismissing that one straightaway because I used to be married to one):

Hm, yes, I understand. I think they can sometimes look quite similar on the surface, but the drive is a different one, and they are VERY different beasts if looked at closely. Christian strikes me as SP, not SJ. I would also think you get that sense from some of the interviews if you listen closely:
An SJ probably wouldn't dunk his head into bug-infested waters after the doc warned him not to do so (actors of his profile really don't need to do that type of stuff if they don't want to), and then enjoy being rebellious about it on top of that.

And INTP? Not sure. He wants to do most of his own stunts. He is insanely physical. He injures himself and still won't pack in. That's not NT in my books, that's SP.

Right, that was slightly anal :laughing:
 

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Even from the few minutes of video I watched, he seems ISTP to me, too.

@FallingSlowly, yeah, ISTPs can sometimes have an "off" sense of humor, usually related to puns/wordplay or even just some, well, downright "inappropriate" stuff. I think it's the Ti-Se combination that does us in, especially around people who are stronger in the Fe department.
 
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Release the inferior Fe floodgate!


What's really interesting was that Christian Bale was ranting in American accent. What's up with that?
 

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@FacePalm: Love the Bale/Wahlberg video. Totally agree you get the ISTP vibe from it (probably all the more if you're one yourself), although that was one I always felt reluctant to post because I feel there's something slightly off about it. Can't put my finger on it, but I somehow think there's an element of putting on a persona involved.
Need to post more so I can link...

As for the rant and accent: I really think he's still partly in character. That's what I wrote above about acting outside in. Actors like that really wipe the slate and need all these physical things like changing their body, changing their accent even off set etc. It is actually psychologically more sane because essentially, you're faking it. You might need a while after wrapping to get back to your old self, but you never blur the lines between yourself and your character. Some people don't understand that, they think the lines DO become blurred because you change the way you behave, but that's the whole point. You "shelf" yourself for however long it takes.

If you're acting inside out, you're not faking because you use your own experiences/sense memory as cues, and the lines can become very blurred psychologically if you're not careful. That's positively dangerous if you're unstable.

Acting outside in can be physically more dangerous though. I think Christian Bale is prime example for that as well: Losing and putting on crazy amounts of weight, being too daring on occasion. Wouldn't surprise me if they did other stupid stuff as well ;)
 
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Am I the only other person who also thought this was a possibility?

He doesn't scream ISTP to me, though I could see it as a probability.

He seems very introverted and introspective to me, and something about him almost makes me want to say ISTJ.

He played Patrick Bateman, a clearly SJ character, so easily...and without blatant ugly disregard...but he also expands outward into more Fi characters like in The Machinist.

I've also seen him called INTJ, so ISTJ seems safe.

Why ISTP is what I want to know, when he has a fairly decent grasp of Fi without having an Fi ego?
 

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If you're acting inside out, you're not faking because you use your own experiences/sense memory as cues, and the lines can become very blurred psychologically if you're not careful. That's positively dangerous if you're unstable.
Si types (like SJs or INxPs) would be great at Stanislavsky Internal Method ...in fact it seems very Si or Fi or Si/Fi or Fi/Si.

And Christian Bale lived in the U.S, England, and Portugal growing up. SJs who have traveled or who are very educated have a broader Si than those who lived in a small town their whole lives.
 

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I understand what you're saying. My reasoning for ISTP over ISTJ (and INTJ) was this one (quoting myself here):
I think they can sometimes look quite similar on the surface, but the drive is a different one, and they are VERY different beasts if looked at closely. Christian strikes me as SP, not SJ. I would also think you get that sense from some of the interviews if you listen closely:
An SJ probably wouldn't dunk his head into bug-infested waters after the doc warned him not to do so (actors of his profile really don't need to do that type of stuff if they don't want to), and then enjoy being rebellious about it on top of that.

And INTP? Not sure. He wants to do most of his own stunts. He is insanely physical. He injures himself and still won't pack in. That's not NT in my books, that's SP.
Does he strike you as someone who is more of a traditionalist, who cares about externally imposed rules (ISTJ)? I honestly can't see that, but we are speculating because we really don't know him anyway...

As for the characters he's playing: Typing artists by the songs they sing or the roles they play is a very slippery slope in my opinion. Especially actors do what they do so they DON'T have to be themselves.

Getting desperate to post links. I like writing, but these things are so much more obvious if you see them ;)
 

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Si types (like SJs or INxPs) would be great at Stanislavsky Internal Method ...in fact it seems very Si or Fi or Si/Fi or Fi/Si.
Totally agree, I just don't see that in Bale. His approach is much more outside in (and I actually see that as a compliment). Of course you will always look at your characters' psychological motives, no matter if you're outside in or inside out. That's where the common ground ends though, the type of immersion is a totally different one.

And even if some people (mostly journalists who know nothing about acting) call Christian a method actor - he is not, at least not in the strict sense. I hate it when people call people method actors just because they seem to disappear in their roles or do crazy stuff like losing weight, taking drugs for a role or whatever.
 
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Totally agree, I just don't see that in Bale. His approach is much more outside in (and I actually see that as a compliment). Of course you will always look at your characters' psychological motives, no matter if you're outside in or inside out. That's where the common ground ends though, the type of immersion is a totally different one.

And even if some people (mostly journalists who know nothing about acting) call Christian a method actor - he is not, at least not in the strict sense. I hate it when people call people method actors just because they seem to disappear in their roles or do crazy stuff like losing weight, taking drugs for a role or whatever.
To me he seems to authentically re-live experiences. That says Fi/Si or Si/Fi to me, and he seems Si dom to me.


He's not Fi dom.

Why don't journalists know about acting? I'm a writer and have been paid for writing and am classically trained in acting, I am a life-long performer.

He is probably a method actor. I would say that about him because of the steadiness in his eyes. Christian Bale is always Christian Bale.
 

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I understand what you're saying. My reasoning for ISTP over ISTJ (and INTJ) was this one (quoting myself here):

Does he strike you as someone who is more of a traditionalist, who cares about externally imposed rules (ISTJ)? I honestly can't see that, but we are speculating because we really don't know him anyway...

As for the characters he's playing: Typing artists by the songs they sing or the roles they play is a very slippery slope in my opinion. Especially actors do what they do so they DON'T have to be themselves.

Getting desperate to post links. I like writing, but these things are so much more obvious if you see them ;)
No he doesn't strike me as Fe. To answer the bolded. Now that we've gotten that out of the way..

Fe actors are more expressive and have more "range" because they impersonate other people. My ESFJ ex was an amateur actor, "born to be a star" and he literally became other people, it was frightening.

I think Fe types are the actors with the most RANGE...Fi and Si types are the ones with most depth. Like Jodie Foster has incredible depth, no range.

She's probably an ISTJ or INFP.

Probably INFP though given her life-long trend towards bizarre and envelope pushing roles.
 

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To me he seems to authentically re-live experiences. That says Fi/Si or Si/Fi to me, and he seems Si dom to me.
I actually had a hunch he said somewhere he doesn't and hunted for it. Can't link, will add the source later. Quote:
"I don't personally look to my own life experiences for answers about how to play a scene," Bale says. "For me, that's some kind of bastardization of your own experiences, you know what I mean?"
EDIT: Source is http://uk.ign.com/articles/2004/10/15/ign-interviews-christian-bale

I think he also said somewhere that he's not like any of the characters he's ever played, but I can't find that just now.

Why don't journalists know about acting? I'm a writer and have been paid for writing and am classically trained in acting, I am a life-long performer.
I didn't mean to imply ALL journalists, and I appreciate those who have a solid knowledge about the subjects they're writing about. I am fairly certain though that a fair amount use the word "method" without really knowing what it means. It's just one of these buzz words being thrown out there these days.
 
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