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Why Christian Bale has no movies coming out for 2020

As one of the preeminent actors of our age, Christian Bale doesn't pump out movies at the most rapid pace — but since 2004, he has managed one to two roles per year. His mercurial method acting often calls for major physical changes (such as either gaining substantial weight or losing it), which only permits so much work every year, given the toll it takes on the body. That all changes in 2020, however — Bale has no films releasing at all.

He's just come off a high in 2019 with Ford v. Ferrari's critically-acclaimed run and subsequent nomination for several technical Oscars (although Bale himself didn't score any nominations). He seems to approach every role he lands as the last one he'll ever get, so the pregnant pause in his career pace stands out, especially since he is a relative recluse compared to many other movie stars; he doesn't often attend big social galas, and seems to have little interest in hobnobbing and networking. 

No need to fret, though — sometimes, the schedules of Hollywood productions overlap, and some can take their sweet time rolling into theaters. New issues have been added to the mix, though, which have conspired to keep Bale off the silver screen for awhile. Let's look into why Christian Bale has no movies releasing in 2020.

Christian Bale will team up with David O. Russell again

While Bale and his co-star, Matt Damon, were on the press tour for Ford v Ferrari, Damon made passing mention to the Los Angeles Times of Bale's next adventure: going back to collaborate once again with director David O. Russell on a currently-untitled film. Since he was apparently penciled in as early as fall of 2019, it's likely that this project is relatively deep into pre-production. 

Details are still very sparse, but this will be Bale's third go-around with Russell, despite difficulties working with him in the past; Bale's work on Russell's The Fighter did land the actor his Best Supporting Actor Oscar back in 2011, after all. Even the rumor mill has little to offer beyond the suggestion from Collider that the plot centers around an unspecified surprise partnership between a doctor and a lawyer, and that the production is operating under the alleged production pseudonym Amsterdam. Margot Robbie and Michael B. Jordan have also been signed on to co-star (via Variety).

Production was supposed to begin in the spring of 2020, but, well, the whole of Hollywood is on the struggle bus with the coronavirus outbreak as of this writing. Even the firmest deadline for production is completely up in the air, so there's no way to know how profoundly Russell's film has been affected. The good news is that Russell's films are typically very straightforward dramas or dramedies, which can shoot in a matter of weeks and require almost no heavy lifting from post-production beyond, of course, editing. 

This means that whenever Hollywood is ready to roll again, this production likely will be as well. Work on the project likely would have covered a good chunk of 2020 for Bale — but his other upcoming film is much bigger, much more complicated, and will suffer greater setbacks because of the issues presented by coronavirus.

Christian Bale will be Love and Thundering into the MCU

We reported some time ago about rumors that Bale would be signing onto Thor: Love and Thunder, and since then it's come out that that's not only true, but he will be playing the villain (though exactly who that is is still unknown as of this writing). Back in the pre-coronavirus era — the bygone days of January 2020 — director Taika Waititi was quoted at the BAFTAs as saying that Love and Thunder's production was likely to begin in Australia in August, and cited at the time the difficulty which the catastrophic fires then raging Down Under could present. Oh, how soft and naive we were, then. 

With Black Widow currently pulled from the schedule without a new release date set, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' production put on hold, all bets are off as to what this means for the entire MCU franchise going forward, much less Love and Thunder specifically. Shang-Chi was also shooting in Australia, though it's not known if it will potentially present a conflict with Love and Thunder when it resumes production.

The chances are high, however, that Bale's role will be voice acting and some motion-capture for a character created in post-production, so that helps keep his schedule somewhat flexible. This would have been the project eclipsing the second half of 2020 for Bale, and the other reason why he has no projects releasing this year. Given the way 2020's been so far, there's no guarantee he'll be at your local theater or streaming at home with anything new in 2021, either.