Twenty years before they made Ford v. Ferrari, Christian Bale and Josh Lucas appeared together in American Psycho. When Bale spoke to us for our 20th anniversary oral history of American Psycho, he volunteered that Lucas told him something on the Ford v. Ferrari set that he had never known before.
Bale had fought hard for his American Psycho role as Patrick Bateman: At one point, director Mary Harron refused to work with Leonardo DiCaprio, who had been offered the part over Bale. Eventually DiCaprio backed out, and Bale got the part.
But Bale told us that Lucas wasn’t initially impressed by his performance as Patrick Bateman.
“Josh Lucas and I did a film together recently and he opened my eyes to something that I had been unaware of,” Bale said with a laugh. “He informed me that all of the other actors thought that I was the worst actor they’d ever seen.”
“He was telling me they kept looking at me and talking about me, saying, ‘Why did Mary fight for this guy? He’s terrible.’ And it wasn’t until he saw the film that he changed his mind. And I was in the dark completely about that critique.”
In American Psycho, Lucas plays Craig McDermott, one of the pack of friends/rivals who kill time with Bateman. Their most famous moment together in the film is likely the “business card scene” in which Lucas provides atmospherics by smoking, coolly and judgmentally, as his colleagues try to out-impress one another with their cards.
American Psycho was a huge role for Bale, opening doors to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, among other films. Ford v. Ferrari is the latest in a series of roles in which he demonstrates his ability to disappear completely into the lives of others. He plays Ken Miles, the real-life mechanic and driver who becomes Ford’s best hope of winning the prestigious Le Mans race in 1966. The film’s Oscar nominations included Best Picture.
In Ford v. Ferrari, Lucas’ character is more openly antagonistic toward Bale’s than McDermott was in American Psycho: Lucas plays the cunning real-life Ford executive Leo Beebe, who undermines Miles at almost every literal turn.
You can read our complete oral history of American Psycho — featuring Christian Bale, Mary Harron, Willem Dafoe, and more — right here.
Ford v. Ferrari, directed by James Mangold, is now available on video on demand.