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Pa. Senator-elect John Fetterman is in a new Netflix crime drama starring Christian Bale

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is shown in Philadelphia last February, two months after the filming of "The Pale Blue Eye" but before he suffered a stroke and later won the race for U.S. Senate. (Monica Herndon/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

During the Pennsylvania race for U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated television star Mehmet Oz. Now he has his sights set on Hollywood.

Fetterman shared on Twitter he’s set to make a cameo in “The Pale Blue Eye,” a 19th century crime drama featuring Christian Bale. The Academy Award winner plays a New York City detective quietly investigating a grisly murder at West Point, where he’s assisted by a young cadet at the military academy named Edgar Allan Poe.

The film, directed by Scott Cooper, is based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Princeton grad Louis Bayard. The cast features a number of notable performers, including Academy Award-winner Robert Duvall and former X-Files star Gillian Anderson. Poe is played by Harry Melling, best known as Dudley Dursley in five of the Harry Potter films.

Appearing with Fetterman in the film is his wife, Gisele, who acted as the main spokesperson during the campaign after he suffered a stroke in May, just days before the Pennsylvania primary. Much of “The Pale Blue Eye” was filmed in western Pennsylvania on the campus of Westminster College in New Wilmington. Filming took place in December of last year, well before Fetterman’s stroke or his successful senatorial campaign, according to the Tribune-Democrat.

So how did Fetterman get cast? His face, according to Bale.

“John’s got this fantastic face, hulking figure,” Bale said during a screening of the film last month. “So I said to Scott, ‘We’ve got to have him in the tavern. … That’s a face that fits in the 1830s.'”

Bale and Cooper got to know Fetterman while making their 2013 revenge drama “Out of the Furnace,” which was filmed in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a former industrial town where Fetterman was mayor for 13 years. Bale plays a steel mill worker, and in an ode to Fetterman sports a 15104 tattoo — Braddock’s ZIP code — on his neck in the film.

Cooper said he came across Braddock while doing research writing the film, and that Fetterman was instrumental in allowing nearly the entire movie be filmed there.

“Christian and I just became pals with him,” Cooper said.

In a piece he wrote for Variety at the time, Fetterman credited the film with capturing “the unvarnished reality of what happens when a family, a town, and an honorable way of life are allowed to fail.”

“Out of the Furnace,” which also features Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck, is currently streaming on Paramount+ and Amazon’s Prime Video.

“The Pale Blue Eye” is scheduled to debut in a limited number of theaters on Dec. 23 and on Netflix Jan. 6.


(c) 2022 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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