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‘American Hustle’ Revealed: Christian Bale’s Performance Is ‘Magic,’ Says Director David O. Russell (Exclusive Video)

Bale put on about 40 pounds of extra weight and shaved part of his head to become con man Irving Rosenfeld

Christian Bale‘s “American Hustle” character, Irving Rosenfeld, says “the art of survival is a story that never ends.” Bale’s survival as one of Hollywood’s top leading men lies in the art of transformation to tell those stories.

The actor’s “American Hustle” director David O. Russell, co-star Bradley Cooper and producer Charles Roven all compliment his Oscar-nominated performance in an exclusive new “American Hustle” character clip (above) for TheWrap.

See video: ‘American Hustle': Watch Bradley Cooper’s Hilarious Louis C.K. Imitation (Exclusive)

“You must have a certain excitement or magic, and I feel that excitement when I know that Christian Bale is going to play somebody I’ve never seen him play,” Russell says.

Roven calls Bale’s ability to go unrecognizable in character “legendary,” while Cooper describe’s Bale’s demeanor in the film “really kind of wonderful.”

“American Hustle,” a crime drama about a pair of con artists who are forced to help the FBI take down a corrupt politician, is nominated for a total of 10 Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Also read: Inside ‘American Hustle': David O. Russell Takes His All-Star Cast on Wild Ride to the ’70s

Bale not only put on about 40 pounds of body fat to portray the con man, he shaved part of his head to make sure that comedic combover was as authentic as possible.

“American Hustle” is still in some theaters, and lands on DVD on March 18.

Watch more of TheWrap’s exclusive “American Hustle” character close-ups:

‘American Hustle’ Revealed: Jennifer Lawrence Zeroes in On Her Character’s Desperation (Exclusive Video)

‘American Hustle’ Revealed: Bradley Cooper on Taking Emotional Risks (Exclusive Video)