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Christian Bale is unrecognizable in new photos

Actors must be something akin to a chameleon, you might have heard it said.

One minute a dashing action hero hurling themselves with reckless abandon from exploding buildings, the next a surly, grotesque antagonist, pacing around with murderous intent, it is well documented the lengths to which actors will go to reinvent themselves.

Of course, though, this is a certain kind of actor, the one who can change themselves so remarkably that one is left wondering if they are, in fact, the same person. Others rely on power of personality, physical presence and more subtle nuance to earn their bread, and are no less talented for doing so.

One man who has gone through more transformations than most over the course of his long and storied career is Christian Bale.

Christian Bale smiling Credit: Getty

Famed for his brooding intensity on screen, Bale has taken on a myriad of contrasting roles down the years, from his hulking, action hero turn as Batman to the dramatic weight shedding that took place ahead of his performance in The Machinist, Bale has been, at times, utterly incongruous from one film to the next.

Though in renowned movie The Prestige, Bale's character's trick comes in the form of similarity (spoiler alert), in reality it is the actor's chameleon-like tendencies that set him apart from the crowd, and he appears to have pulled off something of a magic trick once more ahead of yet another new film role.

Once again, Bale has transformed himself into someone completely unrecognisable from what we might consider his typical appearance - though at this point, quite what that is anybody's guess - for his upcoming role in Backseat, a movie in which he will portray the former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Christian Bale laughing

Sporting a shaved head and looking a little stockier than fans of Batman will remember him being, Bale appeared a press conference in the Four Seasons Hotel while promoting a separate project, Hostiles, which is anticipated for release towards the end of the year.

It is reported that bale is currently in filming for Backseat, a movie which will chronicle Dick Cheney's life, which is all set to star Crazy Stupid Love's Steve Carrell and American Hustle's Amy Adams, with whom Bale has co-starred on several occasions.

When asked how he was putting on the weight for his role as Cheney, Bale replied in typically earthy fashion remarking that "I've just been eating a lot of pies."

Christian Bale relaxed

Dick Cheney served as George Bush's Vice President between 2001 and 2009 and is thought to have wielded considerable foreign policy influence during that time period; indeed, many consider Cheney as arguably the most powerful Vice President in American political history.

Has there ever been an actor who has altered their physical appearance as much as Christian Bale has down the years in his various acting pursuits? If there is, it'll be a close run thing.