John Fetterman can always go into acting if the politics thing doesn’t work out: the newly elected Pennsylvania senator and his wife, Gisele, cameo in the new Christian Bale The Pale Blue Eye, out next month.
The film by director Scott Cooper — who also collaborated with Bale on 2013’s Out of the Furnace and 2017’s Hostiles — shot around Pittsburgh, and tells an atmospheric 1830s murder mystery that pairs Bale’s weary detective, Augustus Landor, with a West Point cadet named Edgar Allen Poe. Yes, that Edgar Allen Poe. He’s played by Harry Potter veteran Harry Melling, who also appeared in the recent Please Baby Please.
Bale pushed for Fetterman’s inclusion in a tavern scene in the film, telling Cooper, “that’s a face that fits in the 1830s. … He’s surviving anything.”
Cooper heartily agreed. Bale and Cooper first crossed paths with Fetterman more than a decade ago, while shooting Out of the Furnace in Western Pennsylvania. Cooper wanted to shoot in the struggling town of Braddock, but wasn’t sure the community would be open to the idea. Then he met the town’s mayor — yep — John Fetterman.
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“He was very instrumental in helping Christian and me shoot almost the entire film in Braddock,” Cooper said in a recent Q&A about the film. “Christian and I just became pals with him, and then he became lieutenant governor, and then of course he ran against Dr. Oz.”
Fetterman, of course, beat Oz after a campaign that stressed Dr. Mehmet Oz’s strong ties to Pennsylvania’s neighbor, New Jersey.
Bale’s connection to Fetterman and Braddock was so strong that he had a Braddock zip code tattooed across his throat for Out of the Furnace, a crime drama about a steel mill worker (Bale) and his Iraq war veteran brother (Casey Affleck). It was written by Pennsylvania-born screenwriter Brad Ingelsby, who went on to create Mare of Easttown, which takes place in the eastern part of the state near the Philly outskirts.
Cooper joked that Fetterman wore his preferred uniform of shorts and a hoodie, even when it was 15 degrees.
The Pale Blue Eye took advantage of a slew of photogenic Western Pennsylvania locations, including Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Cemetery, Westminster College, about 60 miles northwest of the city, and Penguin Court, a preserve of forests, meadows and open space in Westmoreland County, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
The senator-elect shared a picture of himself with Bale, Gisele and Scott Cooper on Twitter:
It me + G + Christian Bale circa 1830 pic.twitter.com/4NXMuUQ5j5
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) December 9, 2022
Fetterman isn’t the first U.S. senator to appear in a Christian Bale movie: Vermont’s Patrick Leahy appeared in 2008’s Dark Knight and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. He has appeared in six Batman movies in all.
The Pale Blue is based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Louis Bayard.
The Pale Blue Eye, directed by Scott Cooper and starring Christian Bale, arrives in theaters on December 23 before streaming on Netflix January 6.
Main image: Christian Bale, Sen.-elect John Fetterman, Gisele Fetterman and Scott Cooper.