John David Washington Opens Up About How Christian Bale Made Working Together So Solid: 'A Great Leader'

Christian Bale and John David Washington in Amsterdam
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

John David Washington and Christian Bale are part of the cast of David O. Russell’s Amsterdam. Bale and Washington play World War I veterans who befriend each other after serving together. It turns out these two actors had a great budding friendship in real life, as Washington found the Batman actor to be “a great leader.” 

It can be easy to feel intimidated when you work on a set with people you’ve never worked with before. Luckily, Christian Bale helped make working on Amsterdam an effortless experience for John David Washington and felt like Bale was “a great leader.” As Washington said in an interview with Collider:

Just from the performance perspective, the bedrock of this set was one of humility and optimism. So it was an easy way in when we were starting with love and respect for one another. There were no egos that I felt on the set, so that made it easier to let your guard down, to be vulnerable, to try anything, and to maybe fall on your face, because you know your cast members would pick you up. Christian Bale was a great leader, in that way. The second day on set, he came into my little quarters and said, 'Welcome. You made it through your first day. It’s gonna get better from here.' That’s important. That was great. He didn’t have to do that. He could’ve gone straight to his trailer.

No wonder these two have amicable chemistry shown on screen. After all, you can see that in scenes like when they were clearly having the time of their lives singing with Taylor Swift in the movie. This duo admitted that during this scene, they felt their voices clearly didn’t stand up against the Grammy Award winner, so they decided to let her take the reins during the song. That was probably a wise choice, but with this movie being a comedy, I wouldn’t have cared how Bale or Washington’s voice would have sounded against Swift’s.

We already know that John David Washington receives acting advice from his father Denzel Washington. However, that doesn’t mean he didn’t appreciate the encouragement from The Machinist actor that motivated him to do well on set. He continued:

But it was the end of the day, and he decided to tell me that. In knowing that, that’s gonna affect your performance. It’s gonna inform how you listen to your partners, how you receive what they’re saying, and how you receive notes from David O. Russell. If you’re comfortable with that, and if you know that this foundation is based off of humility and everybody championing one another, then that makes it easier and smooth and enjoyable to find the answers to the questions of your characters and their motivations.

Something we know about Amsterdam is that David O. Russell not only directed this ensemble period comedy thriller, but he wrote the screenplay too. He told Collider that making this movie was actually a five-year process where he got together with Christian Bale, John David Washington and Margot Robbie in a diner to talk about making never-before-seen characters. Besides Bale and Washington starring in it, we get an all-star cast of Robert De Niro, Taylor Swift, Chris Rock, Anya-Taylor Joy, Rami Malek, and many more. Russell has normally done a great job in bringing out the chemistry between people whether it’s between friends, couples or family to help make the story come alive.  

Christian Bale and John David Washington clearly had a great working relationship where Bale was a natural leader. Even if critics are split on Amsterdam, you won’t be able to deny how all of these actors play off each other so well in the film. You can see the newly released movie Amsterdam in theaters now.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.