Bale the baleful

I’m a little late on this one but today I got around to listening to Christian Bale’s deplorable hissy fit - actually it’s more like pure, unbridled bastardry – hurled at DOP Shane Hurlbut on the set of Terminator 4 – Terminator Salvation. Evidently, Hurlbut wandered into Bale’s field of vision during a take and some clever pumpkin surreptitiously recorded Bale’s subsequent, cantankerous diatribe. It made the rounds last week, with hundreds of thousands of curious listeners tuning into this 'ere internet to hear it. If you haven’t had the privilege yet, check out the Youtube clip inserted below.

It goes without saying that this real life horror performance is wholly inexcusable, and it’s especially disappointing that Bale's inevitable apology arrived when the clip became popular, which was many months after the actual incident. “I ask everybody to sit down and ask themselves, have they ever had a bad day and have they ever lost their temper and really regretted it,” he said.

If the question is “have I ever had a really bad day and then taken it out on somebody who didn’t deserve it in the form of unrelenting verbal abuse” then the answer is actually no, I haven’t. Most of us have seen something similar to this kind of unjustified anger – for example when you’re waiting in line at, say, the bakery, and a customer in a tetchy mood decides to let it out by berating a staff member over something trivial like the number of blueberries in their muffins. Every time I resist the temptation to point out that perhaps, just perhaps, the muffin or muffin equiverlant probably isn’t the root of their problems...

During my university years I worked at a video store that offered very cheap rentals (all new releases were $2.50) and had a system in place whereby customers couldn’t rent anything until they paid their fines. I remember during one shift a man, probably in his early 30s, got very shirty when I politely explained that he would have to pay a $2.50 penalty before he could take any more movies, and the conversation culminated with him threatening to punch me in the face before walking off in a huff and banging the security sensor with his fist on the way out. Two days later he returned and apologised, sheepishly explaining that he’d had a very bad day; apology accepted, of course, but I naturally viewed him in a different light from that day forth, and maybe some people will do the same with Christian Bale.

These kinds of nasty incidents can't define somebody as a 'bad' person, but they can provide some kind of window into their personality. Hollywood actors, when you get down to it, have a pretty sweet gig, with people like Bale and other friends of fury (like Dennis Hopper) getting paid huge sums of cash to do something they supposedly love. They aint exactly spending day after day at the coal mine, so what's there to complain about?

In Bale's apology he also said “I'm not comfortable with this notion of being a movie star. I'm an actor.” When I envision passionate actors I often picture people in grungy theatres doing pro bono performances for the love of the craft – in other words, not the kind of people who abuse somebody for walking into their field of vision. No - hissy fits and movie stars make much more comfortable bedfellows.

But the top prize in these scabrous stakes doesn't go to a movie star. The nastiest celebrity hissy fit/torrent of abuse in recent years has to go to Michael Richards's racist response to hecklers during a stand up comedy performance in late 2006. Boy, that was intense.

Listen to Christian Bale the baleful below.


  1. My least fav batman was TOTALLY outa line on this one. As an actor that's spent plenty of time on set with a full crew doin' their thang, let me say it's part of the process! There are hundreds of distractions in the process of film-making, and blocking them out and focusing on the scene is something any good actor should have well mastered by the time they make it to the set of T4. What a brat.

  2. You seen this one?

    Christian Bale shouting at Gary Busey and Mr. T!!!


  3. Anon: hahah, excellent...

    SP: I'm with you on that one. those thoughts reminds me of stand up comedians - they have to keep 'in the zone' and manage distractions, i.e. hecklers. And when they don't - well....we all know what happened to Michael Richards....