Athletes & Celebrities

Five Surprisingly Bad-Ass Actors

From careers built on comedies and romantic leads, these stars went bad -- and did it very well.

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Christian Bale

It's hard to picture Christian Bale as anything but a bad-ass after starring as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho and taking on the title role in The Dark Knight trilogy, but yes, that is Bale above in his first role as Jamie Graham in Empire of the Sun back in 1987. In the years following his big screen debut, the Welsh-born actor went on to develop his acting talents in Swing Kids, Little Women and Portrait of a Lady, as well as two Shakespeare plays adapted for the big screen (Henry V and A Midsummer Night's Dream). Decidedly not bad-ass.

Then came American Psycho and everything changed. This role catapulted him into the big time, and Bale would go on to play Batman, John Conner, an emaciated Machinist, an Oscar-Winning former boxer/addict in The Fighter and many more whacked-out characters. Bad-ass, we most definitely think so.

Just look at the body transformation he made for The Machinist in 2004 (he lost 63 pounds, then put 40 pounds of muscle back on his frame to make his debut as Batman in 2005):

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