TOO many kids are happy with mediocre turns in their school nativity. Here, Christian Bale explains how to put in an Oscar-worthy performance in the role of Sheep No. 3.
All right, listen up, this is some serious shit. It’s your school nativity play today, and the truth is: you’re not taking it seriously enough. And it f**king shows.
So you’ve got the part of Sheep No. 3. Sure, it isn’t a big role . But it’s not the size of the role in the play, it’s the size of the actor in the role. If you nail this, no one’s going to remember who played Mary and Joseph. They’re all going to be talking about that kid who stole the show with a breakout role as a fuzzy little mammal.
First up: live the character, all right? Go out to the fields, get down on all fours, and f**king baa. Chomp on the wet December grass. Crap on the floor. Suck on a sheep’s teat. If you think ‘Daniel Day Lewis wouldn’t go this far’, you haven’t gone far enough.
Yes, people will think you’re absolutely insane. You think people didn’t think I was insane when I lost all that weight for The Machinist? You think they didn’t threaten to shut down the film for health and safety reasons? Learn to live in the middle of that wild madness. That’s where the gold is. If no one threatens to shut this nativity down, you haven’t done your job.
Next: demand they rewrite the script so that you have a three-minute monologue about your troubled, intense lambhood back on the farm. You’ll get some pushback here – some people might claim that the Christ story doesn’t actually have much to do with sheep – but remember, the art of survival is a story that never ends. No I don’t know what that means either, but it sounds kind of deep and important, right?
When you’re on stage, make sure that the audience is looking at you, even when the other characters are talking. Cultivate an insane grin, a limp or do the moonwalk: anything to ensure that you’re the kid who gets noticed. At my school nativity I snapped one of my own fingers and one of the mums fainted. Now look where I am.
Right. That’s about it. Knock it out the park. Oh, and make sure you get residuals.