Monday, 23 February 2009

Christian Bale Rant

I know it's all over the web, but I only just got round to listening to Christian Bale's abusive Terminator Salvation on-set rant. Several versions are on You Tube - this is an unexpurgated one (so do not listen around small children or sensitive types). I have to admit, for me it brought back a flood of memories that had been squished way down into the back of my unconscious. Memories which serve to remind me why I write about films now rather than make them.

Back in the day, I worked on quite a few low budget films. I don't really have any big name horror stories to share, and even if I did I wouldn't name names for fear of reprisals. A fear that was instantly recognisable in the whispered responses of the well and truly castigated DP in the above incident. Even in my limited experience, I've seen directors balling out their assisstants in front of everybody on set, actors refusing to speak or even look at any crew member lower in the hierachy than director, and people fired for the most inconsequential reasons imaginable. This kind of work culture takes its toll, and whilst no-one ever criticised or bullied me directly, witnessing such abuse to others left a distinctly nasty taste. One that Bale's vitriolic rant has brought right back to the surface.

I notice McG did little to calm the situation, which again rang true. That kind of peace-keeping is left to others much further down the payscale. One director I worked with went so far as to actually tell me my presence was always a welcome sight just because I liased so well between people who hated each other. You might think that was a compliment, and indeed I took it as one, but that was for a film on which I received nothing more than travel expenses - and although I looked calm, the ranting shattered my nerves!

It's no wonder certain actors, film-makers and crews stick together time and again. If the set is a happy one, it must be such a rare joy. I wonder if Terry Gilliam or Martin Scorsese ever ball out their DPs? Or if Johnny Depp refuses to eat with the crew? I do hope not, but as they always say - never get to close to your heroes.

Picture Source: Charlie, via Wikimedia Commons. First published on Flickr -