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James Badge Dale: 'Flight' star, and crush you didn't know you had

December 14, 2012|By Matt Donnelly
  • James Badge Dale, seen here in 2011, has a slew of high-profile films on the horizon. The Ministry introduce's you to the crush you didn't know you had.
James Badge Dale, seen here in 2011, has a slew of high-profile films on the… (Stephen Lovekin / Getty…)

James Badge Dale has that familiar, handsome face that many a solid actor or high school sweetheart might have when you pass him at the coffee shop or traffic light.

What you don't know is that you already love Dale -- or "Badge," as he's affectionately referred to.

Soldiering on in HBO's "The Pacific," or his scene-stealing turn as Michael Fassbender's adulterous boss in "Shame," or the gaunt and haunting turn in Denzel Washington's "Flight," Badge is a chameleon who by this time next year will likely be a household name.

AWARDS: SAG | Golden Globes

His 2013 slate of projects includes "The Lone Ranger," "Iron Man 3" and "World War Z." We dare think they might be on your radar? As Badge should be too, so here's what you need to know: 

Hard-bodied, not hard-headed: This season's awards trend (like last year's prosthetic and magic makeup tricks) is extreme weight loss, and while Badge got himself gaunt wisely for "Flight," previous dances with the scale weren't so responsible.

"For 'The Pacific,' I lost a lot but I did it the wrong way. I did it with cigarettes, red wine, dark chocolate and coffee," he said. [Editor's note: if that's an effective technique, we'll happily investigate]

For "Flight" he consulted Fassbender, who dropped 33 pounds for Steve McQueen's "Hunger." 

"He said, 'Do me a favor, it doesn't matter what I did. Do what works for you, see a doctor.' It came down to 1,200 calories a day and a six-mile run -- which burned about 1200 calories, so I was at zero." 

You've met him, even if you haven't: The laundry list of upcoming films isn't lost on Badge, but he urged us not to get excited.

"The past year was an experiment in facial hair," he joked. "And you'll love this story, I was on a plane coming back from 'Lone Ranger' looking like a, I don't even know -- dirty with crazy mustache -- and a guy next to me and the flight attendant asked 'What do you do for a living?'"

"If you're not instantly recognizable, and you tell people you're an actor, it's excruciating. You're going down the list and it's all, 'Oh, I haven't seen that.' So I'm panicked and I look up at the TV screen and in that exact moment, my face is on it. It was 'The Conspirator,' I did with Robert Redford, and I point to it and say, 'That's me!'"

"They looked at me and both said, 'That's not you.' So I'm telling you, these big movies, they're not on my shoulders, man. You won't know who I am between them." 

Never a diva (but his dogs have a trailer): Badge is an actor's actor for sure, but we couldn't help but probe about the "Iron Man 3" set.

The Ministry believes strongly in the Gwyneth effect, and asked if Pepper Potts rubbed off on him at all. Read: Did he land a new nutritionist, hypoallergenic pillow or killer Pilates class from Paltrow? 

"Nah, all she did was smile at me and that's all I could've asked for," he said of part-time guru Gwyn.

One luxe perk forced on him: a separate trailer for his dogs.

"That's an insurance thing," he said, "but I've got two 40-pound mutts. One has one eye, and they both share a half-brain. But they got their own trailer."

He believes in ghosts: Badge gears up next for "Parkland," wherein he'll play brother to John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Playing an historical figure isn't without its complications.

"When a character is fictional, you get to serve the story. That's why you exist, but when it's based on someone real the responsibility shifts," he said,

"And I believe in ghosts."

You're chasing zombies, iron-suited terrorists and maniacal cowboys in 2012, Badge. We know you can hold your own.  


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