How Sen.-Elect John Fetterman Scored a Cameo in Christian Bale's New Thriller 'The Pale Blue Eye'

The incoming Pennsylvania senator formed a friendship with actor Christian Bale and director Scott Cooper after helping them film in the town where he was mayor 10 years ago

Pennsylvania Sen.-elect John Fetterman has a cameo in Christian Bale and Scott Cooper's upcoming thriller The Pale Blue Eye
Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty, Jeff Spicer/Getty

John Fetterman is on the brink of making his feature film debut, just one month after winning a closely watched federal election and flipping a Pennsylvania Senate seat blue.

While he was still campaigning across his home state, Fetterman — who will be sworn into the 118th U.S. Congress in January — got a call from a couple of unlikely buddies, Academy Award winner Christian Bale and acclaimed director Scott Cooper. They proposed that he make an appearance in their upcoming film The Pale Blue Eye, a thriller set in the 1800s. Fetterman, of course, agreed.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Cooper explained that he and Bale first met the senator-elect about 10 years ago while they were filming Out of the Furnace in Braddock, Pennsylvania, where Fetterman was mayor at the time.

"He was very instrumental in helping me to secure locations, to secure state tax incentive in Pennsylvania," Cooper said of Fetterman in the interview. "Christian and I just maintained a friendship as he became the lieutenant governor, and then of course we supported him as he became a U.S. Senator and helped save our democracy."

But supporting a politician's campaign and casting a politician in your film are two very different things. It's Bale, Cooper admitted, who thought to involve Fetterman in the project. "Christian said, 'You know what, John has such a great face that looks like it comes from 1830, why don't we put him in the film?'" Cooper told THR. "And sure enough, he's in."

Gisele Barreto Fetterman, the senator-elect's wife and current second lady of Pennsylvania, was also invited onto the set as an extra.

The political couple's brief cameo in the film seems to be a small token of the Hollywood insiders' appreciation for Fetterman's career. "We're so thankful," Cooper told THR. "We really love John and we think he's going to represent the Keystone State with great humility and a lot of passion."

The Pale Blue Eye. (L to R) Christian Bale as Augustus Landor and Harry Melling as Edgar Allen Poe in The Pale Blue Eye.
The Pale Blue Eye. Scott Garfield/Netflix

The Pale Blue Eye follows Detective Augustus Landor (Bale) and a young Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling) as they work to solve a series of murders at the United States Military Academy in 1830.

The crime thriller also stars Lucy Boynton and Gillian Anderson.

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Cooper wrote and directed the film, which opens in theaters on Friday, Dec. 23, and Bale joined him in helping produce it. The Pale Blue Eye will be available for streaming on Netflix beginning Friday, Jan. 6.

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