In an interview with GQ for the cover story of its November issue, the longtime actor credited snagging many of his iconic roles only after DiCaprio passed on them first.
The 48-year-old told the outlet that “it’s not just me” playing second fiddle to the Oscar winner and that in Hollywood, “any role that anybody gets, it’s only because [DiCaprio has] passed on it beforehand.”
“It doesn’t matter what anyone tells you. It doesn’t matter how friendly you are with the directors. All those people that I’ve worked with multiple times, they all offered every one of those roles to him first,” Bale said.
The “Amsterdam” star went on to dish out gratitude to DiCaprio, adding, “I had one of those people actually tell me that. So, thank you, Leo, because literally, he gets to choose everything he does. And good for him, he’s phenomenal.”
In the biography “Christian Bale: The Inside Story of the Darkest Batman” authored by Bale’s former publicist and assistant, Harrison Cheung, he details how Bale missed out on several roles thanks to DiCaprio, including playing Jack Dawson in the 1997 critically-acclaimed “Titanic.”
Cheung said other films that also went to DiCaprio include “This Boy’s Life,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “Romeo & Juliet” and “The Beach.”
When asked if he takes this personally, Bale said he’s actually “grateful.”
“Do you know how grateful I am to get any damn thing?” he replied. “I mean, I can’t do what he does. I wouldn’t want the exposure that he has either. And he does it magnificently. But I would suspect that almost everybody of similar age to him in Hollywood owes their careers to him passing on whatever project it is.”
Despite scoring an Oscar win for his supporting role in 2011’s “The Fighter” — as well as being a four-time nominee — and taking on his own share of star-studded films from “The Dark Knight” to “American Hustle,” Bale admitted he never considered himself “a leading man.”
“It’s just boring,” he said. “You don’t get the good parts. Even if I play a lead, I pretend I’m playing like, you know, the fourth, fifth character down, because you get more freedom. I also don’t really think about the overall effect that [a character is] going to have. It’s for me to play around, much like animals and children do. Have tunnel vision about what you’re doing, not think about the effect you’re having.”
“Amsterdam” is set to hit theaters on Friday.