Bale asks for privacy in assault allegations

BARCELONA, Spain " Batman star Christian Bale asked for privacy Thursday in his first comments since allegations he assaulted his mother and sister at a London hotel, saying the incident was personal.

The Welsh-born actor brushed off questions about the alleged family dispute, saying he preferred to focus on the blockbuster movie "The Dark Knight," which had its premiere in Spain on Wednesday.

"It's a deeply personal matter," Bale told The Associated Press at a news conference at a luxury hotel in Barcelona. "I would ask you to respect my privacy in the matter."

The 34-year-old actor spent four hours talking to British police Tuesday following allegations he assaulted his mother and one of his three sisters in his suite at London's Dorchester Hotel two days earlier. He was released on bail, but not charged.

Bale has said through his lawyers that the assault allegations were false.

British media reported that Bale's mother and sister told police he assaulted them at the hotel a day before attending the European premiere of "The Dark Knight." The Sun newspaper said the complaint was filed by sister Sharon Bale and mother Jenny Bale.

The drama unfolded even as the movie broke records and was met with critical acclaim. It set a box-office record with $158.4 million during its opening weekend in the U.S. last week, and is expected to do well in Europe.

The film, which stars Bale as Batman and the late Heath Ledger as the superhero's nemesis The Joker, opened in Barcelona at a glittery premiere Wednesday night. Thousands of fans lined the red carpet for a peek at the stars.

Bale paid tribute to Ledger, calling his depiction of The Joker one of the film's triumphs.

"It was an iconic portrayal of The Joker," Bale said, adding Ledger's character had embodied "an agent of chaos."

Bale said he tried to add an edge to his portrayal of Batman as well, inspired by the superhero's complex and mysterious character.

"The bat is not an angelic creature," he said, smiling.

The movie is expected to do well in Spain thanks in part to the publicity that Bale's reported arrest and Ledger's untimely death in January had spawned, press reports said.

Bale first made a splash as the child star of Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" in 1987. His screen credits also include "American Psycho," "The Machinist" and "Batman Begins."


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