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Bale's outburst, in context? Our business?

ChristianBale.jpgIt's all across the newspapers and the websites for days, on the set of Terminator Salvation, Christian Bale lost his cool and ended up shouting and swearing at the Director of Photography Shane Hurlbut who apparently walked behind Bryce Dallas Howard while Bale was in serious acting mode, and it wasn't the first time according to Bale.

However is it really any of our business? Does it make a jot of difference to the film at all, or our enjoyment of Bale's performances, and are we taking all of this out of context?

Absolutely. It's entirely out of context. What we're getting is one person's view of the event, a recording that only has Christian Bale leaping into full rant, where we can't hear the other person talking, or anyone else, where we can't see or hear what happened before, or see what is happening during the rant. Bale says a number of times that the crew member walked across his viewpoint during the take a number of times, we don't see that either.

Imagine just taking one person's side of an argument and taking that as fact and basing your own decisions on that one sided argument and then broadcasting that as fact? I've had that happen to myself in life and I've stayed quiet, and the misrepresentation from that was huge.

We don't know the whole truth, all we hear is his rant, and all the stories are leaping on that and bringing up his private life, suggesting all manner of things. However I ask them, have you ever been a leading actor in an intense scene for a major motion picture? Have you been interrupted while doing such an intense scene and been right in the middle of your character? Do we know the full story?

Sure, Bale does go off on a complete rant and perhaps takes it too far, but he was pretending to be someone else at the time with his mind probably very much in a similar state to his ranting, can we really make judgements on any of this?

Is he the only actor to rant at someone on set either? Absolutely not, and don't just say it's Lily Tomlin either, there are many who have, big and small actors alike. There are legendary stories of actors and actresses going off on one from the heady days of Hollywood to today, with reasons from interrupted method acting to straight, plain ego's.

Who cares apart from the gossip mongers and the people involved? Won't we just watch the film and enjoy it? Or if we are to scrutinise it shouldn't we find out all the sides of the conversation and story before damning someone?

While the story about it over at The Guardian begins badly, making similar judgements, it does have some interesting points later on. It says a lot more about McG as a director and the control of the set than anything.

Although we hear someone trying to calm Bale down and ask him to take a minute, we don't really hear McG leaping in and trying to resolve the situation, we do eventually hear him on the defensive and Christian Bale leading the set, even deciding to roll again and not wait, asking for something to be reset or reapplied on him in order to go again.

Now again I scream context, this is a few minutes in months of working on a film, and we have no idea what has gone before, but if we look at what's happening right now in this clip it does seem as though Bale is in charge of the set and not McG.

Bringing that context back into it again, it could be that McG and the rest of the crew was so shocked at this abnormal behaviour from the star that they were stunned into silence, again we have no idea.

So instead of leaping at the star shouldn't we attempt to understand the context and maybe find out the other sides of what happened, understanding that he is an actor who tends to play these intense characters and get absorbed by them in scene, and that he's far from the first actor to do something like this – and we're not talking double figures.

You can listen to the rant courtesy of regular reader Billy, I think it originally comes from TMZ who broke the story.

Meanwhile we've heard from Assistant Director Bruce Franklin that Christian Bale is a consumate professional and he was having a bad day, so far there's not been any word from anyone else involved on the incident, and really should there be?

Should we be judging so quickly, or should we try and understand a little? In the end, does it matter? He is a great actor and we keep going to see his films.



I totally agree with you, and I am so glad you posted this. We're only hearing one side of the story. I really wish Christian would do an interview and just give his side of the story, but I can understand him wanting his privacy.

I have done some acting and it's a lot of pressure, and it can be very nerve-wracking. Christian was trying to carry a film and be brilliant and he was stressed.

I have moments in my life where I scream and rant a bit. Hey, I'm the mother of teenagers! If someone videotaped those moments I would be mortified.

I like Christian Bale and I think he's a fine actor. I so wish people would let this story die a quick death, so we could concentrate on the most compelling and newsworthy story out there: the octuplet mom. [LOL]

I just think that Bale is getting too big for his boots. Yeah okay, hes a good actor and features in some really good films but I don't like the way he shouts out those orders like he's running the set. Saying that, I can understand why he did with the lack of leadership McG sounds to be doing.

Oh well, roll on Terminator Salvation.

Completly unprofesional and inappropriate. Really, who do these people think they are. If this were any other business or organization he would have be suspended, fined, fired or any of a series of disiplinary actions. Completly unprofesional and childish.

I'm a corporate professional and I hire top tallent for major projects all the time. People who are high end consultants and such. Now these folks make a lot more money then I do, but I promise you if any of them ever verbally flew of the handle like that to one of my staff, I have his ass tossed out faster then he could appologize. Now I do understand that he has leverage. He can walk out, basically they need him more then he does, but still he needs to be put in his place somehow.

I love watching his movies, but clearly he's an asshole.

Hey Brad, good to hear from you again.

I agree, in a corporate environment (I'm in one too and work with a lot of contractors and consultants) this would not and should not be acceptable behaviour.

However the film industry is very different, and a film is carried on its stars, they are the face and the core of the film to the audience. For the most part they are the reason that the majority of the bums on seats.

We don't see that kind of thing in the corporate world, we're just after definite skills, people that fit in and people who'll get the job done.

In the movie industry you have a face and they're with that film unless you want to reshoot the whole thing.

Dee - glad someone is agreeing, I really thought I was on my own.

Billy, I think you hit the nail on the head, roll on Terminator Salvation, roll on the final film.

Absolutely. You are speaking to this situation on my behalf as well. I actually needn't say anymore although over at the wired blog I tried to say as much in fewer words. What I will add though is that this was evidently a scene that had Bale summoning some very raw emotions, a very pivotal scene, and in true Bale form he was completely immersed in his character, adding the substance a good movie needs. This DP, as you mentioned, has already messed up on several occasions at this point, Bale is already emotionally high and lost his temper. *GASP* Yes, folks this is going to happen. So to all of you who just want to feast on this man like vultures on a carcass - GET. A. LIFE. Yes, he makes more money than you, yes, he has a better life than you, yes, he demands professionalism on set, yes, he has an 'A' type personality, and yes, he is the boss. Oh, and speaking of which I encourage you to read McG's production notes at the Warner Bros. official movie site. It will help bring perspective as to why Bale seems to run the set. From what I read, I think he does...

Schadenfreude is what pleasure that can be taken from observing the misery of another. This emotion,largely an unanticipated delight in the suffering of others,is usually trivial and almost always inappropriate. The tabloid industry is founded upon it, the media increasingly relies upon it, and all things Hollywood "confidential" epitomize the behavior as helpful in selling its movies (re: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jole, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith")...and it prevails (re: Hillary Duff v. Faye Dunaway). This is not news; it's as old as the beard of Moses. And, obviously, if it's not gone for good then it's here to stay.

I work in a high-pressure environment, there are often arguments and people accuse each other of stupidity and many offensive things. However, this was bullying. If I caught a member of my staff ranting like Bale they'd be sacked IMMEDIATELY. Having said that, the rant wouldn't have carried on for so long in my workplace. Another worker would have interrupted or fetched a superior. If I was present the offender would have left the building so quickly their feet wouldn't touch the ground. Unfortunately people like Bale are given FAR too much leeway by their employers, but that's merely indicative of the power that's given to them by an adoring public. If I was the money behind the movie, McG is not a man that I would like in charge. He's too weak, he should have taken Bale to task but he just let it go on and on, and on.


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