Born in Haverfordwest, Wales, to English parents, Bale had his first starring role at age 13 in Steven Spielberg's war film Empire of the Sun (1987). Following a decade of leading and supporting roles, including in Little Women (1994), he gained wider recognition for portraying the serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (2000). In 2004, he lost 63 pounds for his role in the psychological thriller The Machinist (2004). Within six months, he gained 100 pounds to star as Batman in Christopher Nolan's superhero film Batman Begins (2005). He later reprised his role in the sequels The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).