I confirmed that it’s authentic and from the set of Terminator Salvation, the Warner Bros. movie coming out this year. It’s the audiotape everyone in Hollywood is talking about, because it’s raw ranting. Filming at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico on July 18 last year, the movie’s star, Christian Bale, can be heard being a prick to the director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, whom the actor accuses of ruining a scene.
Bale threatens to quit the production if the DP isn’t fired. In the background, the film’s director, McG; and associate producer and first assistant director, Bruce Franklin, can be heard trying to calm Bale down, also sounding like pussies.
What follows is Bale’s use of the word “fuck” or a variation of the word (“fucking,” “fuck’s sake”) 80 times in 3 minutes and 49 seconds, which equates to “fuck” popping up every 2.86 seconds.
Christian Bale: KICK YOUR FUCKING ASS!
Shane Hurlbut: Christian, Christian —
Bale: I want you off the fucking set, you prick!
Hurlbut: Christian, I’m sorry.
Bale: No, don’t just be sorry, think for one fucking second. What the FUCK are you DOING? Are you professional or not?
Hurlbut: Yes, I am.
Bale: Do I fucking walk around and rip down —
Bruce Franklin: Christian, Christian —
Bale: No, shut the fuck up, Bruce! Do I want — no! No! Don’t shut me up.
Franklin: I’m not shutting you up.
Bale: Am I going to walk around and rip your fucking lights down, in the middle of a scene? Then why the fuck are you walking right through? Ah, da, da, dah, like this in the background. What the fuck is it with you? What don’t you fucking understand?
Bale: You got any fucking idea about, hey, it’s fucking distracting having somebody walking up behind [actress] Bryce [Dallas Howard] in the middle of the fucking scene? Give me a fucking answer! What don’t you get about it?
Hurlbut: I was looking at the light.
Bale: Ohhhhh, goooood for you! And how was it? I hope it was fucking good, because it’s useless now, isn’t it?
Bale: Fuck’s sake man, you’re amateur. McG, you got fucking something to say to this prick?
McG: I didn’t see it happen.
Bale: Well, somebody should be fucking watching and keeping an eye on him.
McG: Fair enough.
Bale: It’s the second time that he doesn’t give a FUCK about what is going on in front of the camera, all right? I’m trying to fucking do a scene here, and I am going, “Why the fuck is Shane walking in there? What is he doing there?” Do you understand my mind is not in the scene if you’re doing that?
Hurlbut: I absolutely apologize. I’m sorry, I did not mean anything by it.
Bale: Stay off the fucking set, man. For fuck’s sake. All right, let’s go again.
McG: Let’s just take a minute.
Bale: Let’s not take a fucking minute, let’s go again. And have YOU fucking walking in! Can I have Tom put this on, please?
Franklin: Can I have Tom in wardrobe please? Can I have Tom in wardrobe?
Bale: You’re unbelievable, you’re un-fucking-believable. Number of times you’re strolling-a-fucking around in the background. I’ve never had a DP behave like this. Ehhh. you don’t fucking understand what it’s like working with actors, that’s what that is.
Hurlbut: No, that’s —
Bale: That’s what that is, man, I’m telling you. I’m not asking, I’m telling you. You wouldn’t have done that otherwise.
Hurlbut: No, what it is, is looking at the light and making sure, that you are, ugh —
Bale: I’M GOING TO FUCKING KICK YOUR FUCKING ASS IF YOU DON’T SHUT UP FOR A SECOND! ALL RIGHT?
Unknown: Christian, Christian. It’s cool.
Bale: I’m going to go. Do you want me to fucking go trash your lights? DO YOU WANT ME TO FUCKING TRASH YOUR … ? Then why are you trashing my scene?
Hurlbut: I’m not trying to trash your scene.
Bale: You are trashing my scene!
Hurlbut: Christian, I was only —
Bale: You do it one more fucking time and I ain’t walking on this set if you’re still hired. I’m fucking serious. You’re a nice guy. You’re a nice guy, but that don’t fucking cut it when you’re bullshitting and fucking around like this on set.
McG: All right, I know, let’s, let’s…
Bale: Yeah, you might get it. He doesn’t fucking get it.
McG: I got it, I know. I get it. I get it. I know.
Bale: You might. He. Does. Not. Get It.
McG: We made good adjustments. For real, honestly. I get it. Just walk for five seconds.
Bale: No, I don’t need any fucking walking. He needs to stop walking.
McG: I get that —
Bale: I ain’t the one walking. Let’s get Tom and put this back on and let’s go again. Seriously man, you and me, we’re fucking done professionally. Fucking ass.
The audio’s release may have been an act of revenge: Celebrity gossip Web site TMZ claims that “film execs sent the tape to the insurance company that insured the film in case Bale bailed.”
Interestingly, the rant took place just days before Bale was questioned by London police about an alleged fracas with his family around the time The Dark Knight was released last summer. I talked today to a source close to Bale, who told me, “Christian and the DP are all good now. It happened. It was one isolated event. He regrets that he lost his temper.”
Meanwhile, in the continuing SAG vs. SAG battle (because SAG vs. Big Media has been all but forgotten due to infighting), Membership First initially used parliamentary rules against the SAG National Majority, then the SAG National Majority used the “written-assent” legal maneuver against Membership First. Now Membership First has gone to Los Angeles Superior Court for a temporary restraining order against that written assent. And on, and on, and on .?… Egads.
I urge Hollywood to remember that this infighting inside SAG has been going on for eons. Why should any of this be a surprise?
That said, the plaintiffs seeking that temporary restraining order against the SAG National Majority’s January 26 written assent are Membership First members Alan Rosenberg, Anne-Marie Johnson, Diane Ladd and Kent McCord. The TRO is targeted at SAG itself and the SAG National Board members who signed the written assent that fired National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Doug Allen, split his job between new NED David White and new chief negotiator John McGuire, and replaced the SAG negotiating committee with a reconfigured task force to bargain with AMPTP.
As I’ve previously reported, the written-assent signers include such well-known names as Adam Arkin, Amy Brenneman, Morgan Fairchild, Ken Howard, Richard Masur, Pamela Reed, Sam Robards and Kate Walsh.
But the TRO was rejected by L.A. Superior Court Judge James Chalfant on February 3 on technical grounds. The Membership First members are refiling their court documents for a new hearing two days later and amending the complaint by giving specific causes of action and notifying all 41 defendants. All I can say is, compared to SAG’s bickering factions, Bale seems saner.