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Q: In "Empire of the Sun," Christian Bale's character sings "Suo Gân." Was it really him singing, or if not, who was dubbing his voice?

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Author: 
Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Though he was trained for the stage as well as the screen, even at the young age of 13 when he starred in 1987's "Empire of the Sun," he only lip-synched the choir solo.

A look at the official soundtrack album shows that "Suo Gân," the film's theme, was performed by The Ambrosian Junior Choir, with the solo performed by James Rainbird.

Rainbird, who is a year younger than Bale, has a pretty accomplished film career as a behind-the-scenes singer.

As a member of the King's House School Choir, he sang in the background of Tina Turner's hit "We Don't Need Another Hero" from the "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" soundtrack, which was released two years before "Empire of the Sun." He also performed a solo in another 1987 film, "The Magic Toyshop."

Though the coach (in this case director Steven Spielberg) sat him out, so to speak, for "Empire of the Sun," that's not to say Christian Bale can't sing. A few years later, he was singing, alone and with the ensemble, in another of his child-actor hits, 1992's "Newsies."

In adulthood, Bale's career took a distinctly darker turn. His breakout role as a grown-up star was 2000's "American Psycho," in which he plays the deranged, and oddly superficial, killer referenced in the film's title.

He is now, of course, best known to many as Batman -- the most consistently bleak of the big-screen superheroes -- in "Batman Begins" (2005) and its two sequels. Not a lot of call for singing there.

"Empire of the Sun" was Bale's first big-screen role, but he had previously appeared in the telefilm epic "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna" in 1986. The star of that film was Amy Irving, Spielberg's wife at the time, who reportedly recommended the mostly unknown Bale for the lead in her husband's film.

It was a big jump for the young actor, but he earned it; despite the recommendation, he still had to audition against thousands of others.

 

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