Christian Bale, Scott Cooper on Third Collaboration ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ and How John Fetterman Landed a Role

Christian Bale and director Scott Cooper, who have previously teamed up for 2013’s Out of the Furnace and 2017’s Hostiles, have come together for their third collaboration, Netflix’s The Pale Blue Eye.

Based off of a novel by Louis Bayard, the film stars Bale as an 1830s detective in West Point, New York, investigating a series of murders at the United States Military Academy with the help of a young Edgar Allan Poe, who was a cadet at the academy.

“Scott had first sent this to me about 10 years ago; he’s a very prolific writer and has an abundance of projects that we are talking about continually,” Bale told The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Wednesday, joking, “He felt like he wanted me to get a bit more gray and bit more crow’s feet and a bit more grumpy and anti-social, and he obviously felt like I’d reached that point and it was time to make the film.”

Harry Melling takes on the role of Poe, along with a supporting cast that includes Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton and Robert Duvall. The film also features a surprising cameo from incoming U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, who Cooper explained he and Bale met 10 years ago when filming Out of the Furnace.

“We shot in the small town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, where he was the mayor, and he was very instrumental in helping me to secure locations, to secure state tax incentive in Pennsylvania,” Cooper explained of the politician. “Christian and I just maintained a friendship as he became the lieutenant governor and then of course we supported him as he became a U.S. Senator and helped save our democracy — thank you, John. And Christian said, ‘You know what, John has such a great face that looks like it comes from 1830, why don’t we put him in the film?’ And sure enough, he’s in.”

Fetterman was running for Senate at the time of shooting, as Cooper added, “We’re so thankful, we really love John and we think he’s going to represent the Keystone State with great humility and a lot of passion.”

The Pale Blue Eye marks the second film that Bale has produced, after also taking on the role for Amsterdam earlier this year. Cooper said that though it’s the first time the duo have produced together, it was an easy extension of their close partnership.

“It’s been really a great experience to have him also produce this film,” the director said. “Anytime you can make films with your close friends just makes it all the richer.”

The Pale Blue Eye hits theaters Dec. 23 and starts streaming on Netflix Jan. 6.

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