Christian Bale is perhaps one of this generation’s best actors. Pretty much every project that attaches Bale immediately adds a certain level of quality. For most of the actor’s career this has remained true, spite for a few misfires here or there. Although it’s been nearly ten years since it’s release in 2009, ‘Terminator: Salvation‘ remains a black mark on what is an illustrious career up to this point. Although it is certainly not a terrible performance by any means, there is a great feeling that Bale is simply miscast in the role of John Connor.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the McG (The Babysitter) directed film for what it is, but perhaps the most memorable thing about ‘Terminator: Salvation‘ is Christian Bale’s epic rant that infamously leaked from the set of the film. But in a recent interview with Happy Sad Confused Podcast (via Indiewire) Bale reflected on ‘Terminator: Salvation‘, and the things that went wrong with the film, including his on set rant:
“I said ‘no’ three times. I thought that the franchise – I went, ‘Nah, there’s no story there.’ I’d seen the first one and enjoyed that back in England, I’d been to the movies and seen the second one. It was an unfortunate series of events involving the Writers Strike, involving Jonah Nolan, who was able to come on and really start to write a wonderful script and then got called away for a prior commitment that he had. It’s a great thorn in my side, because I wish we could have reinvigorated that, and unfortunately during production you could tell that wasn’t happening. It’s a great shame.
Although Bale was clearly hesitant about taking on the role, It’s also easy to forget that the film’s then-writer, Jonathan Nolan, had earned Bale’s trust through their collaborations on ‘The Prestige‘ and ‘Batman Begins‘ before ‘Terminator: Salvation’. It’s really a shame, because it seems that there at least would have been something a little more interesting than what we eventually got with the film. Bale also noted that he eventually took the role because he wanted to prove the haters wrong (which he didn’t quite do):
There’s also a perverse side to me where, people were telling me there’s no way on God’s Earth that I should take that role, and I was thinking the same thing. But when people started verbalizing that to me, I started to go, ‘Oh, really? All right. Well, watch this then.’ So there was a little bit of that involved in the choice, too.”
“It’s a great thorn in my side, because I wish we could have reinvigorated [the franchise],” Bale said. “And unfortunately, during production, you could tell that wasn’t happening. It’s a great shame. That was a very unusual occasion. Great learning lesson for me,” Bale said.
“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.”
Based on Bale’s comments, it seems that the actor is much more regretful now about his decision to take on the role in the first place. While Bale seems like the type of actor that would make decisions like this based more on intuition than pride, it also makes perfect sense for his acting style. Considering that Bale is well known for his extreme physical transformations and method performances, it also makes sense that Bale would follow his gut instinct to challenge himself, even though it might not have been as successful as we had hoped. It’s interesting, because the whole infamous Bale-rant is really an encapsulation of ‘Terminator: Salvation‘ for me.
It’s volatile, unassuming, and often misguided. It’s the kind of film that feels right in theory and feels just the opposite in execution. With that said, what are your thoughts on ‘Terminator: Salvation‘ and Bale’s performance as John Connor? Let us know in the comments below!
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