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Hollywood is kind of a messed up place. This is actually the central premise to Terrence Malick’s new movie Knight of Cups. Christian Bale plays a man trying to deal with the insanity that is Hollywood. Bale himself is a very private person who tries to stay out of the Hollywood scene as much as possible when he’s not actually acting. This has a tendency to lead to problems for the actor when he’s on set, as he can’t tell the actors from the extras.
Christian Bale spends so much time outside of Hollywood that he is apparently not that familiar with many of his fellow actors. In his defense, his Knight of Cups director was apparently no help in this regard. According to Bale’s interview with EveningStandard, Terrence Malick wouldn’t let Bale know which people on the set were actors and which were not, and even went as far as to lie to him, telling him that some actors were actually extras. This led to what must have been an incredibly odd conversation for one actress on the set.
We were filming in a strip club, and Teresa Palmer’s there in her little silver hotpants and I’m asking her how long she’d been dancing for? Does she enjoy it? What got her into it? I had no idea that she was an actress until about a week after working with her. Suddenly I saw a billboard with her face on it and I went ‘What?’
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during that conversation. We’re dying to know how Teresa Palmer responded to the actor’s questions. She must have realized that Christian Bale had no idea who she was and just gone along with it. Otherwise it wouldn’t have taken him a week to figure it out. Of course she may have had instructions from Terrence Malick not to tell him. That sounds like something he would do. We suppose it could all be a testament to Palmer’s acting ability that she was so good in the role that Bale assumed she was a professional. That’s...something.
Part of the problem that likely led to the confusion is the fact that Christian Bale never had a copy of the script. He was apparently just dropped into scenes for Knight of Cups, and Terrence Malick would just direct him to go interact with people on the set. Apparently everybody else knew what was going on, but he did not.
So apparently combining Terrence Malick’s bizarre style of making movies with Christian Bale’s tendency to ignore Hollywood leads to some odd experiences for professional actresses. We’re very curious to see what Knight of Cups will finally be when it comes out early next year.