Christian Bale: World Exclusive Interview

Total Film spent some time with that nice Mr Christian Bale last month.

This week – to celebrate the new Bale and Terminator Salvation-packed issue on shelves now – has taken some of the choice quotes from the hottest actor in Hollywood right now.

On why he chose Terminator Salvation…

“I love making very varied movies.

"Sometimes I want to be in a rollercoaster of a movie with lots of screaming and shouting and a feeling of unity with the people you’re watching the movie with and other times I want to do movies where it’s very much like sitting reading a book by yourself or listening to a real personal piece of music.

"I would get very bored if I did the same kind of movies all the time.

“They just give me variety so I don’t feel like I’m stuck in a rut of banging out the same thing all the time and I get to work with very different personalities and people who are driven by very different excitements about movie-making and I like taking that risk and challenge.

“So many times with different movies which I’ve personally really liked, people have said, ‘What the hell are you doing that for?’ and Terminator again was a film where people looked and said, ‘Why the hell would you make another Terminator?

"But in my head I could very well see why and what I would like to see and it spurs me on when people are telling me that I’m being a little bit stupid and a little bit crazy to want to embark on that endeavour.”

On the apocalyptic imagery of Terminator Salvation, the summer’s darkest blockbuster…

“Well it’s a little far fetched, but certainly I like the imagery and I like the dystopia – the fact the human species is on its way out and a new form of life is dominating.”

On bumping into Arnie in a car park…

“He’s got bodyguards and they were all shouting at me and I was going, ‘Hold on, hold on, I’ve met him before!’ but they were getting very worried as I walked toward him.

"But we chatted a bit. He had questions about Terminator Salvation, he didn’t know the script at all but I hear apparently he’s now seen the movie… I’ll wait to hear what his reaction is…"[page-break]

On Oscar Snubs & Batman 3...

“Heath winning Best Supporting Actor was fantastic. I had dinner with his family a couple of nights before the awards and liked very much they were the people who were picking it up for him. Of course I was really delighted that it did go that way.

“I’m not surprised by The Dark Knight not getting more Oscars though. I’m not really surprised by anything to do with awards. Hey listen, awards or not it’s a wonderful movie. Chris Nolan did such a fantastic job of it and you look back at the history of the Oscars – some of the best movies never got shit."

"Will we do a third movie? It's got to be the right story. You can't make something like The Dark Knight and then come out with something disappointing.

"I would like it if people say, 'You'll never make a good third movie.' I say, 'OK, let's make a third movie in that case, let's prove them wrong. But that's just me. The fact is, I have to! I've signed up! Chris doesn't. So I'm in a bit of a fix if he says he doesn't want to!"

On taking a break, mixing it up and Public Enemies…

“Terminator’s coming out, then Public Enemies is coming out after that and then I’ll just wait and see for the first time ever. I kind of felt burnt out and just knowing that if I took on any movie right now I wouldn’t be able to commit myself properly.

“But variety is essential for me. I love watching a Michael Mann movie. I love watching a Chris Nolan movie. Just to talk about my stuff, I enjoy a Machinist kind of movie, a Rescue Dawn, a 3:10 To Yuma, an American Psycho, whatever. But I also love watching Terminator movies, I love watching the Batman movies...

“For me it’s less important that following the Terminator that I quickly get Public Enemies out there. I’m just not as strategic as that. But for my own personal satisfaction I need to vary it up. I couldn’t for instance follow up Terminator by doing another Terminator straight away…"

"Public Enemies is very timely. The Depression had people resenting the fat cats, the banks and so you've got someone like Dillinger being a hero because he was making a difference - he was getting it back for himself and so many people looked at him and romanticised that.

“The movie follows some really young guys. I mean Dillinger died at 30. My character Purvis was head of the Chicago office at 27. Phenomenal. Hoover as well was in his 20s when he became the head of the FBI! It’s incredible. It’s crazy when you think about that. It’s just an amazing era of American history.

"The whole frigging thing happened in two years. Because there came to be this little window where automobiles became affordable and the Thompson submachinegun came out and these guys had a two-year window before the FBI got their act together..."[page-break]

On the outburst...

“Hey listen, I did it, it’s in the public space. I take the consequences for it. I’m not hiding from that. I went overboard.

“I’m not making any excuses, but there is an essential trust and it’s not a tacit one, which is every sound guy says, ‘We are not only not recording, we are not even listening.’ So, well, there goes that.”

“I do stress though, it’s not in anyway a trust that’s there to cover up bad behaviour. It’s not about that. It’s an essential trust that’s needed for creativity.”

“I just don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to know that much either. I’m actually someone that’s very anti the whole B-Rolls, DVD extras and stuff like that.

“I understand people are interested, I get that they want to hear about it, but to me I look at it as old school movie magic and with magic you do not reveal your secrets.

“I’m not making any excuses. I’m not whining. I’m not going [puts on silly voice] ‘Oh well, if it hadn’t have been for that!’ But it’s that. It’s a creative trust. It’s not a behavioural trust.”

On the accent…

I change my accent because it gives me more choice, more choice of roles. If you are born in America and have a non-regional American accent then you’re probably going to get the widest choice of roles around, but still you’re going to be restricting yourself from playing roles from all around the world.

And very much a part of finding a different character is the voice.

It’s so essential to who we are, you start talking in a different accent and you’ll going to not feel like yourself whatsoever and it’s a matter of you just keep doing it until you do feel like somebody again. It’s nice to make those transformations.

On John Connor…

Well he’s a slightly strange bird because obviously with his crazy mother who’s been telling him he’s going to lead humanity from the get-go he’s going to have a few hang-ups.

There’s not many of genuinely believe that they know their destiny, know their future so another very strange thing that’s difficult to understand for most and in this movie is he’s somebody as well who’s in dire straights.

They’re in a desperate struggle for survival each and every day and I think he’s somebody who’s – he’s somebody you want on your side in a crisis.

On John Connor’s look…

You have to look capable but I hoped to do that more with his determination rather than the physical aspect. He’s somebody who will not be beaten down ever. I wanted to get that wiry look of a solider who’s in the field all the time. [page-break]

On the impact of Schwarzenneger…

T2 is the original nightmare of just being pursued that everyone has, by somebody who just will not stop, never stops, doesn’t give up.

And when you’ve got someone who looked like Schwarzenegger coming after you it made a big difference.

Nowadays, no it wouldn’t really – we’ve seen so many guys who imitated him and it just became a little passé, but at that time it was extraordinary because we were looking at a human who was almost inhuman in his proportions and yeah, I think it’s that age-old universal nightmare of being pursued by an unstoppable enemy.

On whether the Terminator franchise needs Arnie…

No, because you can’t keep just re-hashing the same plot.

Yes Terminator is known for having this one singular figure of villainy that is constantly pursuing but how many times can you keep on doing it?

And I don’t think anyone really had an interest in just imitating the movies that had come before.

There was a realisation of “Look the mythology is dead unless we reinvent something, put it in a different world, recreate completely.” So obviously that’ll be the big question for a lot of people. Why don’t you have that single figure of villainy coming after you? But I think if we had it would have been same old, same old and why bother?

On shooting action in Terminator…

You’ve always got to put your trust in the riggers, the guys who are responsible for the wires and the safety and trust that they’ve calculated where the ground is so they don’t drop you straight through it, which I’ve seen before.

They were damn good guys, in fact most of the people came from the Batman movies, the stunt team on this so I’ve known them for years I’ve got a great trust with them.

It’s more just the excitement, I like the adrenaline rush of jumping off of a cliff edge and sailing down, I enjoy that.

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The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.