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Batman loses his cool

Christian Bale

Christian Bale is a talented actor who has won justifiable acclaim for the challenging and diverse array of roles he has taken on. In addition to this, he is also a raving egomaniac with an uncontrollable temper and an extremely vindictive personality, judging by a leaked audio clip smuggled from the set of his most recent movie, Terminator Salvation. In it, he erupts when cinematographer Shane Hurlbut accidentally walks past his eyeline (remember this: not into frame but past his eyeline) during a take, and then proceeds to rant and scream at the hapless fellow for getting on for four minutes. Throughout all of this, the film’s director, Joseph McGinty “McG” Nichol, proves to be about as much use at diffusing the situation as a teaspoon of water in extinguishing a bushfire. (Then again, to have directed a film like Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and still be able to face turning up for work each day must require a fairly mellow personality to begin with.)

As someone on the film’s IMDB board pointed out, Bale’s behaviour here actually highly reminiscent of that of Klaus Kinski, another talented actor famed both for taking on challenging roles and having a ferocious temper and insatiable ego. Watch this clip of Kinski bawling out the unit chef during the shooting of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo (Kinski wasn’t a fan of the man’s cuisine, apparently) and note the similarities. Both men, incidentally, have worked with Herzog, who I can only conclude must be an incredibly masochistic director. Either that, or he enjoys the challenge of attempting to tame madmen.

Oh, and finally, I love how Bale, ever the method actor, rants at Hurlbut in an American accent.

Thanks to Lyris for the link.

 
Posted: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 at 2:36 PM | Comments: 12
Categories: Cinema | Web

 
Comments

1.

If I remember correctly Werner Herzog has himself quite a temper.

Posted by: Peter von Frosta, February 3, 2009 3:42 PM

2.

Wow, it certainly sounds authentic and not at all positive for Mr. Bale - an actor I would put at the very top of my Thespian favourites list currently working today). Although, it is probably likely that sort of temperamental outbursts happen far more regularly during the process of making a film than I had previously realised. In any case, I can't help but picture Bale in full 'Patrick Bateman' mode as he delivers his vitriolic attack on the poor DOP. Thank goodness an axe wasn't to hand. Thanks for the heads up Michael. Fascinating stuff. When I eventually see TERMINATOR SALVATION I won't be able to stop myself from trying to identify the scene Bale was trying so hard to make before losing it. I bet the lights do look pretty, lol!

Posted by: Count Fosco, February 3, 2009 4:37 PM

3.

You just know if James Cameron was directing he would've told Bale to stop whining and would've dealt with the DP himself.

Posted by: Kram Sacul, February 3, 2009 6:39 PM

4.

They should have recorded this for the additional extra's on the DVD and Blu Ray releases.

I think this happens a lot on movies....I remember reading how Michael Douglas stormed into Paul Verhoevens trailer and punched him on the nose during the making of Basic Instinct and how Francis Ford Coppola pushed actor Martin Sheen so hard while making Apocalypse Now that he had a heart attack. Look at Casualties Of War where director Brian De Palma told Sean Penn to insult and harass Michael J Fox in order to get a better performance out of him - It worked.

Hell John Wayne and Kirk Douglas didn't get along but were professional enough to make three movies together. I love the story of how The Duke was staying at the same hotel as Frank Sinatra and Frank was having a party and a loud party at that and in the room above Mr Wayne was trying to sleep. So he gets up and comes down and asks Frank to put the music down and a bodyguard steps in and asks Wayne to leave. Wayne turns as if to leave and then picks up a chair and throws it against the bodyguard and the chair breaks into pieces and Wayne throws some mean punches and knocks the guy down he then warns Frank to put the music down. No more trouble with loud music that night.

We don't get to hear about these things much but i think it's good as movies with tension on the set usually end up being better than ones which have fun and laughter and no stress whatsoever. How often have you watched an average movie and heard the stars proclaiming they had a lot of fun making the film....While the films which were difficult and hard to make usually end up being the best as and most rewarding for the viewer and indeed the people making the film.

I consider this no big deal and just a part of the working process. Some actors get so involved in their character that sometimes they just have to blow off some steam and this is what happened here.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, February 3, 2009 8:01 PM

5.

I’m not really convinced that Bale screaming bloody murder at some hapless guy who walked into his field of vision will result in a better film. Sure, I can think of plenty mediocre or bad films that the cast and crew said were fun to make, but I can also think of plenty of good films where those involved were able to get through the shoot without (as far as we know, admittedly) resorting to screaming matches like this one. Ridley Scott, for example, is famous for the relaxed atmosphere on his shoots, and he’s made many fine films.

I’m not saying Bale should be hung, drawn and quartered for what he said, but this clip really does make him appear like a complete cunt, to be frank. The DP was nothing but apologetic throughout the whole affair and yet Bale continued screaming and ranting at him long after it had gone past the point of acceptability. I wonder how he would have reacted if the director had started screaming similar insults at him for fluffing a line? I can’t imagine behaviour like that being tolerated in any other workplace.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 3, 2009 9:11 PM

6.

I think restuarant work is probably one industry where i can imagine staff get abuse from the head chef if Gordon Ramsay is any indictator of what happens in those places.

If we take what happened in July 2008 as a whole then obviously the guy must have been under a lot of stress and maybe working too hard because remember he also was reported for the hotel offence which happened three days after this outburst.

Unless it happens again i'm inclined to believe it was a result of stress because all the directors who have worked with the guy praise him so there must have been a reason for his outburst and the hotel incident...Indeed reports at the time suggested his marriage was in trouble although nothing concrete about that.

Stress can turn a normal person into a raging hulk...Sometimes you just burst because of it and regret later what you say so i'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt because if he really was that bad i'm sure others would be coming out from the woodwork and saying so and this and the hotel incident happening so close to one another seem to be connected.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, February 3, 2009 9:28 PM

7.

When I heard this earlier today, I too drew the Kinski comparison and the Herzog association, ha ha.

Speaking of which: Any word on the Rescue Dawn Blu-ray if it's any good or not?

Posted by: Christopher D. Jacobson, February 3, 2009 11:24 PM

8.

First off, I think that Christian overreacted but Shane did deserve some of that vitriol.

I've worked with Christian on Public Enemies, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight on set and did some assistant ADR work with him on Terminator 4; and the guy couldn't be more courteous and professional on AND off the set.

From what friends have told me from the T4 set, and what the audio clip doesn't show is that the cast and crew had been shooting for ELEVEN HOURS STRAIGHT and Shane Hurlbut, the DP, kept on repeatedly moving around behind Bryce Dallas Howard (Kate Brewster in the film) during the take. Bale already told Bruce Franklin, the 1st AD, that he couldn't concentrate because of Shane checking the lights. For the third take, scene starts again but Hurlbut still keeps on walking behind Bryce and then Bale goes ballistic. Keep in mind that the scene that Bryce and Christian were doing is the most emotionally intense scene in the film. What the tape doesn't also show is that right after the rant and the subsequent take, Bale personally apologized to Shane and the crew for his behavior.

Posted by: Sound Designer Dan, February 4, 2009 2:32 AM

9.

Anyone else think of Tom Cruise's character from Tropic Thunder?

Posted by: Kram Sacul, February 4, 2009 2:41 AM

10.

"You're a nice guy [but I like yelling at you]."

Posted by: avanze, February 4, 2009 4:48 AM

11.

Listening to the clip again, it actually sounds like the DP is very inconsiderate, like he's basically implying, "I'm not bothering you nor doing anything wrong." And with the info supplied by Dan, it really does kind of seem like he deserved it.

Plus, the Kinski comparison and Herzog association were kind of a mild musing for me. Thinking more on it, they're nothing alike. Kinski, though a great actor, was deranged, and would get VERY upset over the most insignificant things, and would do so all the time. Realistically, Bale in this situation is nothing like him.

Posted by: Christopher D. Jacobson, February 4, 2009 8:54 AM

12.

following Dan's point:

"From what friends have told me from the T4 set, and what the audio clip doesn't show is that the cast and crew had been shooting for ELEVEN HOURS STRAIGHT and Shane Hurlbut, the DP, kept on repeatedly moving around behind Bryce Dallas Howard (Kate Brewster in the film) during the take. Bale already told Bruce Franklin, the 1st AD, that he couldn't concentrate because of Shane checking the lights. For the third take, scene starts again but Hurlbut still keeps on walking behind Bryce and then Bale goes ballistic. Keep in mind that the scene that Bryce and Christian were doing is the most emotionally intense scene in the film. What the tape doesn't also show is that right after the rant and the subsequent take, Bale personally apologized to Shane and the crew for his behavior."

It's very unprofessional for people to be moving about in the field of vision DURING a take, it puts actors off, it can ruin a take if it's picked up by a microphone and it means someone isn't watching. But, while Bale is tired, the DP also had been working for ELEVEN HOURS STRAIGHT and he too was tired and therefore prone to lapses of judgement... just as, I think, that the continued shouting in NO WAY improved Bryce's performance in the next take, or solved a precieved lighting issue... that the director was unable, or felt unable to intervene, that the AD didn't intervene and that Bale continued to 'threaten' a man with losing his job IS considered harrasment in the work place on film sets and under employment law and is not condoned by Bale's union or the DP's union. Dan wasn't there, I take it, and I understand that we only have the tape to go on... the sound recordist in this matter deciding not to cut and to copy/play out Bale's rant is an interesting thing in itself, though we can't read too much into that, I suppose...

Posted by: chris, February 6, 2009 8:11 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:

https://www.landofwhimsy.com

 

 
 
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