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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Does Christian Bale’s potty-mouth offend you?

I’m being facetious, of course. I’m sort of surprised that an actor getting angry on a movie set is news at all, but there we are.

McG, director of the new Terminator movie during the shooting of which Bale went off on a tirade, defended the actor at Comic Con in New York this weekend:

“The film set is a passionate place, and it happens,” McG told fans at a Warner Bros. preview panel at New York Comic Con on Saturday, according to People.com.

“It was just one of those moments,” the director said. “I think I can speak on all of our behalf that we’ve all gotten a little fired up. And if anybody would take that moment and take it out of context, it would seem very, very strange.”

I’m no fan at all of McG, but that sounds about right.

So: Does Christian Bale’s potty-mouth offend you?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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  • Drew

    I kind of feel like Christian Bale went on for too long, but it’s not like actors have never gotten very loud before. The only thing that bothers me is that he would go on for so long when obviously there would be a recording of it. Unless this sort of thing happens all the time in Hollywood…

    …but really, I just hope he realized how much of a jerk he was and apologized at some point, although I don’t really know the full set of circumstances that surrounded the very isolated incident. Maybe the lighting guy really did do something remarkably dumb that messed up the scene and turned a really intense moment into a really awkward moment, causing everyone in the entire room to be mad at him but stay professionally silent, letting Christian Bale speak for everyone, at length.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, you shouldn’t really pass judgment on this sort of thing unless you know the whole story.

  • Ryan H

    What he says at his place of work should be between him and his co-workers. And yes, he knew it was being recorded, but he is ALWAYS being recorded. Between what he does for a living and the tabloids I figure he spends more waking hours being documented than not. If he spent every second worrying about how things might sound leaked to the press and taken out of context he would go bughouse nuts in short order.

  • shoop

    I’m not offended–they’re words I’ve heard and used before, certainly. I think there are two problems with being a “potty-mouth”–1) It’s rude, and 2) It reveals a paucity of thought and imagination.

  • Jason

    There is never a good excuse for acting like a jackass. Tact and class are traits everyone should try their best to develop.

  • Not offended at all. Words are just a series of sounds you give importance to.
    This got attention for two reasons, one being the controversy Bale had with his mother and sister and two because as humans we like seeing these “real” moments come out of a celeb. A lot of what we see of celebs are controlled moments where they are holding their tongue and not being real. I’m sure if this never came out and someone asked one of the people involved how everything went, I’m sure you’d get some generalized answer about how good the process was. So things like this just shed light on the “reality” of that process.

  • I’m not offended, but I think he was being a jack-ass. Having a bad day or being very sensitive and a perfectionist would have excused maybe a 1.5 minute tirade. At around four minutes, he was being a whiny, jerky bully.

    The other excuse I’ve heard – that he’s a Method Actor – is the oldest one in the book. Funny that the Method is used when actors have to explain why they’re being complete assholes. No one ever uses the Method as an explanation for their huge contributions to charity, or work with inner city youths or anything. In the (possibly apocryphal) immortal words attributed to Sir Laurence Olivier: “Dear boy, it’s called ACTING”.

  • I don’t think he should get a pass just because he’s an “actor”. What if he were female? What would the reaction be?

    Everyone gets angry once in a while, but that is no excuse for creating a hostile environment.

    Regarding his potty mouth, I don’t care about that. It was his cruelty and sense of self-entitlement that rankled.

  • I just read this. I could just be rumor and gossip, but perhaps it isn’t…


  • stryker1121

    Well, Bale did apologize, and it actually seemed pretty sincere. Don’t have a link but you can find the article easy enough through the magic of google.

    I’m trying to understand where the man was coming from…actors are on set 15 hrs a day for blockbuster flicks like T4; it was “the most emotional scene” in the movie, as has been documented several times by Bale apologists. He still sounds like a bullying ass, however. Bale’s not a surgeon, a Marine, or someone who’s putting his or others lives on the line thru his work, and where a tirade of this magnitude is perhaps needed to avoid disaster. Dude’s on the set of an action movie screaming at a crew member for four minutes. He sounds like a high-strung diva asshole. Bottom line.

    Asshole or not, I’m still gonna be seeing T4!

  • Stryker –

    “not a surgeon, a Marine…”


    I have a ton of respect for actors. But in the end, he gets extremely well-compensated to pretend for a living. And I can guarantee that the other folks on the set who are getting merely adequately concentrated are working twice as hard.

  • Alli

    I haven’t watched it yet, and I don’t plan on it. He did come out and say that he deserves to be made fun of, and that he was being a total loser. So if he can see how big a jerk he was being, then it’s okay. If he was running around right now trying to say he was completely in the right, then I’d be offended.

  • popgoestheweazel

    I’m not offended. I wasn’t there and he didn’t curse directly at me. This has been blown way out of proportion. He apologized to the guy, cast/crew minutes after it happened, that day. 7 months ago, dare I say. Now he is apologizing for it again, when it probably shouldn’t have been leaked in the first place. Anit-piracy laws maybe? I could be wrong. But, you know, funny, not once has he mentioned that. He took responsibility for the whole thing.

    I’m in no position to pass judgement on him or anyone else for that matter, because I wasn’t there attached to anyone’s hip.

    Does he have a potty mouth? You bet he does! But, so what. I don’t use those words, but I’m not going to judge someone who does. That would be very self righteous of me. I would have to be perfect and live in a blue bubble.

    Going to see T4? Heck yeah! If Bale had that much energy to go on a 3 minute rant, then he put a lot of effort in making that movie. (He was doing a scene when it happened). And let’s face it, if Bale didn’t give it his all in a movie and get emotionally attached to it, people would scream foul at that, and want to hang him high. He knows there is a lot riding on him with T4.

  • drew ryce

    Walking across an actors sight line is a major offense. A veteran DP knows better. So, he screwed up and got yelled at. Big deal.
    People yell at each other on set all the time. No big deal at all. If they are adults they patch it up and move on.
    I am however offended by whoever recorded it and leaked it to the press. Sure way to turn nothing into something.

  • Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn (Mon Feb 09 09, 12:05PM):

    I don’t think he should get a pass just because he’s an “actor”. What if he were female? What would the reaction be?

    What? Please elaborate a little: are you saying females can’t be actors, or that they’re the opposite of actors, or a female throwing a hissy fit wouldn’t be as newsworthy or (as the case may be) hilariously awesome?

    I submit to you one Lily Tomlin vs David O. Russell, from the set of I Heart Huckabees. Equally funny (or inappropriate, depending on your… religion… I guess)? Hard to say. But it’s easy to imagine the reaction being equal, even if she is a “female” which means (I suppose) something to you.

    Words only have as much power as we give them, as far as I’m concerned.

  • posted by Newbs (Mon Feb 09 09, 5:24PM)

    Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn (Mon Feb 09 09, 12:05PM):

    I don’t think he should get a pass just because he’s an “actor”. What if he were female? What would the reaction be?

    What? Please elaborate a little: are you saying females can’t be actors, or that they’re the opposite of actors, or a female throwing a hissy fit wouldn’t be as newsworthy or (as the case may be) hilariously awesome?

    Please see this revision:

    I don’t think he should get a pass just because he’s an “actor”.

    What if he were female? What would the reaction be?

    I should have pressed the enter key after the period.

  • Hasimir Fenring

    I have no problem with it at all. But then, I’m a bit of a strange fellow, and I doubt my perspective will be widely shared. But for those interested, here it is:

    As a professional who cares about what I do (though I am not in the film business), if I were behaving as unprofessionally as that DP was (Bale says that he is angry because this is the second time the DP has engaged in this same behaviour, behaviour that even I know from the one movie I worked on is totally unacceptable), I’d expect to get chewed out. If the director wasn’t taking the necessary steps to correct the behaviour–and it appears he wasn’t since the DP was repeating it–I can understand that Bale, expecting that an A-list production would have people who know what they’re doing and do it properly, would decide that someone needed to. Personally, if I had been directing the film, it would have been me telling that DP to get his act together or get off my set, though probably with less profanity and certainly without threatening to kick his ass. (I’m a very small man.) Everybody makes mistakes, but how many times does a professional screw up the hard work of other professionals by being sloppy before you tell that person to shape up?

    I’d also like to point out that it was not exactly a four-minute uninterrupted rant. The DP was responding, and Bale was responding in turn. When my girlfriend listened to the clip, she said that the issue would’ve been over much earlier if the DP hadn’t continued to argue with Bale. I myself couldn’t make out what the DP was saying, but I find it hard to accept that Bale simply railed for four straight minutes without any further provocation, especially since nearly everything he said was related to their professional working relationship.

  • JoshB

    Being a fan of online gaming I can say that Bale is strictly an amateur nerdrager.

    I’m only offended that the DP was too afraid to stand up for himself.

  • JoshB (Mon Feb 09 09, 10:07PM):

    I’m only offended that the DP was too afraid to stand up for himself.

    Well, from all accounts he was apparently being a total douche. So it’s understandable. Ron Howard was on Howard Stern this week and told the story Bryce told him about how it really wasn’t that big a deal and that the DP was fiddling around during the shoot.

    I like celebrity blow-ups though, for the most part. This one is pretty great, even though some of them aren’t. I can’t watch I Heart Huckabees anymore, for instance, because of that Lily Tomlin thing… I guess I take comfort in the idea that people get along on set, and when they don’t I can’t take as much pleasure in the finished product. But that’s a minority of cases. Usually it’s great.

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