In Out of the Furnace (in theaters Nov. 27), Christian Bale plays Russell, an ex-con who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a crime ring led by a ruthless boss (Woody Harrelson). Co-written and directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), the drama focuses on the hardships of life in the Rust Belt town of Braddock, Pa. — and on the family bonds that drive Russell to avenge his brother despite the protests of his girlfriend (Zoë Saldana). “It seemed uplifting and tragic at the same time,” says Bale of his character’s arc in the film. “In the midst of this crumbling town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, which people were deserting, [Russell] was somebody who was staying, and also staying with principles and loyalty that defined his life, regardless of the consequences. And therefore a very memorable individual.”
According to Cooper, Bale’s character’s struggle is symbolic of American life during the recession. “Through his faith and the support of his family and community and through his resolve, he emerges a stronger man,” he says. “Much like America has after coming through these last five or six difficult years.” The director is especially proud of bringing a spotlight to a part of the country that isn’t represented onscreen very often. “Many people refer to it pejoratively as ‘flyover states.’ But I have a real fondness for those people who live in the heartland of America, and I like to see their stories onscreen.”
Check out the exclusive poster for Out of the Furnace below, plus two more exclusive images: Bale, Saldana and Cooper setting up a scene on set, and Affleck shooting a fight scene.