26 JUNE 2007

Stepping out on the red carpet to promote his latest flick Rescue Dawn must surely have been a doddle for Hollywood heart-throb Christian Bale after the rigours of actually filming the production. For the film, in which he plays a fighter pilot who was captured during the Vietnam War and became the only American to ever escape from a Laos prison camp, Christian was forced to endure some tough times and gritty moments.

Its director, Werner Herzog, certainly didn't molly-coddle his British-born star. "My first question to Christian was, 'Would you be prepared to bite a snake in two?'" the director revealed. "He immediately said, 'Yes'.

As it happens, he did catch a snake that tried to bite him. But it wasn't poisonous."

With Werner demanding actors lose weight to look suitably malnourished, Christian shed over three and a half stone for the role. And the uncompromising director even had his leading man chomping down on a bowl of live maggots, saying: "There are too many computer effects in movies these days. I wanted audiences to start believing their own eyes again."

Christian was accompanied to the New York premiere by wife Sibi, and his Batman co-star Heath Ledger. The screen hunks are currently filming together again, with Christian reprising his role as the muscled Caped Crusader and Heath taking on the role of the Joker on the Chicago set of The Dark Knight.

And on the other side of the States, another set of pals was turning out on the red carpet on Monday evening. Funnyman Robin Williams had his Night At The Museum co-star Ben Stiller in fits of laughter as they attended the premiere of Robin's latest film License To Wed.

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The Welsh hunk, pictured with his wife Sibi, is no stranger to suffering for his art, having shed four and a half stone for The Machinist and honed his body for American Psycho and the Batman flicks Photo: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
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New York resident Heath was on hand to support Christian, who plays his nemesis in the latest Batman moviePhoto: © Rex

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