Christian Bale Reuters

Christian Bale has bailed on starring in “Child 44,” the film being produced by Ridley Scott and directed by David Espinosa based on Tom Rob Smith’s novel.

Bale, 38, had been in negotiations to star in “Child 44,” about a Soviet military policeman who investigates child murders and is targeted by a suspicious and paranoid government. “The Dark Knight” actor pulled himself out of consideration for the role, a source familiar with the talks between Bale, Scott and Espinosa exclusively told the Wrap.

Bale met with Scott and Espinosa on Tuesday to say that he was bailing out of the film. It's unclear why Bale decided to not take on the role of Leo Demidov.

“Child 44” is based on the novel of the same name by British writer Tom Rob Smith. The book is the first in a trilogy that explores Stalin and the Soviet Union. It is based on the true story of Andrei Chikatilo, a Ukranian serial killer who was put to death for carrying out 52 murders, according to the Wrap.

Fox acquired the movie rights to the book, with the studio tabbing Scott to direct the film. However, Scott is now a producer on “Child 44” and Espinosa will be behind the camera.

Bale shot to superstardom with “The Dark Knight” in 2008. The 38-year-old actor drew critical acclaim two years later for “The Fighter.” Bale’s performance as Dicky Ecklund earned him an Academy Award for best supporting actor.