When you think about Christian Bale, sunshine and little fluffy bunnies don’t exactly come to mind. Bale’s cinematic track record, including American Psycho, Shaft, The Machinist, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight (among many, many others), is characterized by intense displays of emotion—from psychotic rages to dramatic confrontations. That’s why Bale’s little temper tantrum on the set of Terminator: Salvation didn’t come as a huge surprise for some of us. After all, the guy did supposedly snub McG when the director first offered him the Terminator script… is it such a leap to believe that he can be a bit of an asshole on the set?
Well now the film’s assistant director and associate producer, Bruce Franklin, has taken a public position on Bale’s little scene, saying that the actor was simply having a bad day. According to Franklin, Bale was under a lot of pressure because of the intensity of his Dark Knight promotion schedule, and as he told TMZ, “Christian is a method actor and was completely immersed in his scene … his reaction was from the heat of the moment.”
As we know now, director of photography Shane Hurlbut made the mistake of walking across Bale’s line of sight during filming, inciting the incident. Although the F-bomb fest lasted for more than 3 minutes and was capture on video, Franklin maintains that Bale was just very involved in his character. “He didn’t walk around like that all day long,” said Franklin, “It was just a moment and it passed.”
Franklin, who also worked with Bale in 2000 on John Singleton’s Shaft, added that “It has always been a good experience with [Christian]. He is so dedicated to the craft. I think someone is begging to make some noise about this but I don’t think it’s fair. The art of acting is not paint by numbers, it’s an art form.”
Either way, Christian Bale’s rendition of The Batman has made him “The Man” in nearly everyone’s book and it seems like it’s going to take more than a swear-laden on-set fit to change that. What we really want to know: how does Shane Hurlbut feel about this? And why didn’t he opt to change his last name? Hurlbut… that’s almost a reason to go off on him in and of itself.