By Jeff Labrecque
Updated February 28, 2011 at 02:07 PM EST
Credit: Darren Decker/AMPAS; JoJo Whilden

Image Credit: Darren Decker/AMPAS; JoJo WhildenOne of the most welcome subplots of this awards season has been the warm-and-fuzzy reintroduction of Christian Bale, last night’s winner for Best Supporting Actor. The spectacularly talented actor had earned a reputation for being a little standoffish and his infamous tirade on the Terminator: Salvation set showed his intensity at its worst. But he’s been a genuine and generous honored guest throughout the awards season, including last night, when he shared his thinking on the physical price of his art. Backstage after winning, he was asked about his willingness to dramatically transform his body for movie roles. “I saw something one time, it was Jimi Hendrix, and I just adore the guy’s talent and just raw ability to just communicate through his guitar and I saw something about his fingers just bleeding, just blood dripping off of the strings and I always went, that’s it, that’s it. You know, that inspires me to no end,” said Bale, who famously lost weight for The Machinist, Rescue Dawn, as well as The Fighter. “So whatever it takes, I feel like I’ll do for a movie. But the thing is, a lot of people see it as a gimmick, and it’s not a gimmick. You know, they say, hey, give a quiet performance, and you can give a quiet performance and lose a lot of weight. Do you know how much it takes do that? So if it’s necessary, I’ll do it, you know.”

Bale, who will start filming his final Batman film this spring, acknowledged that he’s not sure how much longer he can continue such commitment without damaging his instrument. “I’m getting a little bit older now. I’m starting to recognize if I do too much, there may be no coming back from it,” he admitted. “I don’t have quite that same mentality which I did only a few years back, where I felt I was invincible and it didn’t matter what I did … I just want to really be smart about any other body alterations that I make in the future. I know that too many of them just, you know, there’s only so much your body can take. I’m happy that I’ve done what I’ve done. Who knows. Maybe that will be the last of it. I’ve said that a few times before.”

I know it’s not what he meant, but I’d pay to see Bale play Hendrix in a movie.

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