Christian Bale's profanity-laced tirade against the director of photography who'd walked through his eyeline during a shot is infamous. Audio of the rant leaked and the Batman Begins star, known for his commitment to his roles and his penchant for serious characters, consequently gained a reputation for having a hot temper. Almost a decade later, Bale has an entirely new perspective on the incident.
The screaming match took place in 2008 on the set of Terminator Salvation when the director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, walked into Bale's eyeline during a scene. Bale erupted in fury, swearing and accusing Hurlbut of being unprofessional. Soon after audio of his rant leaked, Bale issued a sincere public apology for his outburst. The Machinist actor spoke to Los Angeles radio station KROQ and said, "There is nobody who has heard that tape who has been hit harder than me." Bale goes on to say that Hurlbut did "a really wonderful, professional job" on the movie and, "When I say, 'I'm not coming back on this set unless he's fired,' it's hot air."
Bale claims that part of the reason for his meltdown on set was because he was so deep in character as John Connor, explaining that he'd been trying to express the "craziness" of the character. The character and the actor behind it, according to Bale, were unfortunately mixed up and Hurlbut paid the price. "I'm half John Connor, I'm half Christian there," he recalled. Bale has since put the incident firmly in his past, though he acknowledges that it might still impact how others view him.
In a 2018 interview with the Guardian, Bale was asked whether the meltdown still follows him around. He shrugged and answered, "People don't mention it to me, but that doesn't mean it doesn't follow me around. I'm not aware of it if it does." During an interview with Indiewire that same year, he went into more detail about what he'd learned from the experience, which he called a "great learning lesson" for himself. "No matter how much you lose yourself in a scene, you do not allow yourself to behave that way. And yeah, of course I've got enormous regrets about it." Since there have been no further reports of Bale lashing out on set, it seems he's learned his lesson.
Because of his new reputation as a hothead, tabloids will sometimes falsely report that the American Hustle actor is feuding with his costars. Life & Style claimed in 2018 that Bale was feuding with Ford v Ferrari co-star Matt Damon. A supposed source told the publication, "Matt messed up one of Christian's shots and said something along the lines of, 'Don't lose it with me. The cameras are still rolling!'" The source added that Bale "was not amused" by Damon's on-set antics. Both Bale and Damon share the same rep, and when Gossip Cop reached out to them, they were able to confirm there was no feud between the two. The outlet was simply relying on a decade old incident to manufacture fresh drama.