Christian Bale Sings Harry Melling’s Praises

Dec 24, 2022

Home Interviews ‘The Pale Blue Eye’: Christian Bale Sings Harry Melling’s Praises, As We All Should

Melling continues to prove he’s one of the most exciting talents in the business via his work in Scott Cooper’s latest.

We’re well aware of Christian Bale’s limitless range. Ever since 1987’s Empire of the Sun, he’s given every ounce of himself to one unforgettable production after the next, including three collaborations with Scott Cooper. It’s about time we more widely recognize that same wealth of talent in Bale’s The Pale Blue Eye co-star, Harry Melling.

Given the success of the Harry Potter film franchise, it’s no surprise that Melling is most well-known for his portrayal of Dudley Dursley. But, if you’ve missed out on some of his more recent work, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The Old Guard, and The Queen’s Gambit, just to name a few, you’re missing out on one of the most promising talents in the business right now. And, his work in The Pale Blue Eye further proves that true.

Based on the Louis Bayard novel, Cooper’s film takes place at West Point in 1830. When a cadet is found dead, a local detective, Bale’s Augustus Landor, is brought in to investigate. It soon becomes clear that Landor won’t be able to crack the case without the help of a rather eccentric cadet with a deep love of poetry, Melling’s Edgar Allan Poe.

Image via Netflix 

With The Pale Blue Eye now playing in select theaters, I got the chance to chat with Bale and Melling about their experience making the film. Bale began by explaining what made Melling’s audition tape stand out from other hopefuls eager to play Poe:

“He nailed something and he was getting something; I could see he was getting something out of this performance in an audition, which is the worst time to actually do anything interesting in acting. I’ve always been abysmal at auditions. I have no idea how I ever got cast in anything. But I watched it, he was hypnotizing. He just made me only see him as Poe afterwards, and Scott agreed. He’s bloody good.”

Sure enough, Bale and Cooper’s instincts were on point; I can’t imagine a better fit for the role of Poe in The Pale Blue Eye than Melling. However, even with Bale and Cooper’s confidence in him, Melling admits he still fell victim to first-day nerves:

“For me, first days are always quite tough because you just want to get off to, not a good start but a solid start from where you can move forward. And so I would always remember that first day being in that very darkened room in Landor’s cottage, and it was just very gentle [and] they gave me the space in order to find [it] … I just had time, and Christian’s so generous in terms of giving you the space to really play and find things, and just is always present.”

Image via Netflix

Melling’s Poe experiences quite the arc in The Pale Blue Eye, one that must take him from a rather sweet and hopeful young man to a famed author who’d become known as a master of the macabre. What were the core ideas that Melling held tight to while portraying this transformation?

“A thing that I kept coming back to was the idea that Landor offers him something that he needs, this anchor, this sense of place, this sense of belonging. And I also knew that I had to give Landor enough reasons to fall in love with Poe. Yes, you meet him, he could be this very foolish, very strange creature, but I had to give him enough reasons to want to invest in this person. And so those were things that I knew had to happen and then, from there, let things reveal themselves to me as opposed to necessarily reaching for them.”

Looking for more from Melling and Bale on the making of The Pale Blue Eye? You can catch our full conversation in the video interview at the top of this article!

The Pale Blue Eye is currently playing in select theaters and is due out on Netflix on January 6th.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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