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Actor Christian Bale Listened to Pantera + Mastodon to Learn Double-Bass Drumming in New Role

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Actor Christian Bale, best known for his roles in The Dark Knight and American Psycho, will be featured in the upcoming film, The Big Short. A method actor, Bale immerses himself in his roles and prepared by listening to Pantera and Mastodon! He needed to learn how to play drums, specifically double-bass, and described how the music related to his character, Mike Burry.

In an interview with Screen Rant (video above), Bale expands on the fact that he learned how to play drums in just two weeks with the help of some of metal’s best! “Yes, yes, yes. It was a wonderful crash course,” began Bale, “Double-kick drum, Pantera “By Demons Be Driven” — a fantastic song to begin with.” Detailing a bit about his character, he added, “This is how Mike Burry unwound. This is actually how he calmed down. He would listen to it all day long in his headphones — and not just that; Mastodon as well. But his brain is on fire so much that death metal calms him. He’s a very, very different individual to most of us.”

Mike Burry doesn’t sound like a different individual to most of us, but Bale understands the point of how people can find a catharsis in aggressive music. Of course, we don’t suspect the actor is at the level of Vinnie Paul or Brann Dailor after just 14 days behind the kit, but he chose two of the best to learn from. He also had a great instructor, Scott Wittenberg, who is a drum teacher at the Musician’s Institute who helped him out as well.

As metalheads will point out, Pantera and Mastodon are not death metal bands, but the extremity of the music to someone completely outside the genre lends itself to the use of an extreme descriptor. The notion is similar to when Judas Priest were labeled “death metal” on an episode of The Simpsons. An apology was made the next week during the famous opening segment where Bart Simpson scribbled “Judas Priest is not ‘death metal'” on the chalkboard.

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