Christian Bale on Terminator Salvation


His dark and menacing performance as the caped crusader helped resurrect the Batman franchise and now many are hoping that Christian Bale will successfully revive another iconic character – John Connor. The long-awaited Terminator Salvation is finally here and Bale stars in the Warner Bros. flick that’s set a few years into the future. talked to the in-demand actor about what it was like to be John Connor and why he had to be persuaded to play the role.

Q: We just talked to Sam Worthington and somebody asked him if you were intense. He said, “I hate that f*cking word now. People call him intense, but he’s just passionate.” How do you feel about the intense label?
Christian Bale: I hate that f*cking word. I said it first alright.

Q: Do you feel like your intense?
Bale: I don’t really analyze each word. People can label me whatever they want to label me. That’s their prerogative. I don’t actually have the same passion of feelings as Sam does about the word. I’m like whatever. I don’t care. Call me an a-hole. I’m alright. I’m fine. If that’s what you think of me then that’s your right to think that.

Q: It’s an interesting choice to go into another franchise. What did you see in this movie that you really wanted to be a part of?
Bale: I didn’t go straight into it. I did “Public Enemies” in between. I felt like the franchise was done so when I first sent it, I didn’t have an interest. Then I [heard an] idea that really was something good that could be told here. If that was going to happen then absolutely, I wanted to be on board. I like mixing it up. I like doing a “Dark Knight, “Batman Begins,” “The Machinist” and things. Doing “Public Enemies” and then doing “Terminator.” I enjoy that mix.

Q: How does the physicality of these roles change your life?
Bale: Not so intense on this one. Not nearly as intense as it was on “Batman.” It’s probably more intense for Sam because he’s somebody who could actually have a fist fight with the Terminator. So for me, it was mainly just weapons handling and preparation for that. We had a great advisor who I spent a lot of time with, but the physical challenge was not nearly as tough as I thought it was going to be.

Q: Can you talk about how you collaborated with McG on your character?
Bale: Initially collaboration was just me saying, “No, I didn’t want to do the movie.” Then it was, “Why?” When people look at the franchise mythology and think it’s over, you’ve got to come back with something that really knocks people out. I just didn’t feel like it was there, but that wasn’t just me. Everybody felt that. I really couldn’t see that it wouldn’t be able to get there. It just seemed crazy to me, like it wouldn’t be possible. So I took a leap of faith because it was the right strike in everything they were saying. So alright, let’s have a few points that we want to get across in another script that we want to be written and fine. Let’s go after that. Of course a movie is collaboration, but a director has to have his own point of view. That is a director’s job. He creates the point of view and he must have a strong point of view. He has to. He can’t be wishy washy. He creates a rhythm. You can’t have too many chiefs. He’s obviously very open to ideas, but I like it when I’m hearing great ideas and then I’m just adding onto it making it something extra.

Q: What was your reaction when you saw it all put together?
Bale: I saw a few different variations like any movie. It goes through a lot of different shapes. Ultimately, the last one I saw I really felt satisfied. The public will decide. This isn’t a movie that you sit down and watch as a personal 2AM viewing. It’s not something in which you sort of gaze into the human soul and speak to you that way. It’s a movie that’s meant to be watched with a lot of different people and get that common energy. Movies like this are much like sports. It’s that feeling of a common excitement throughout the theater. That’s what I loved about seeing “T2” I felt like I think we might have a chance here. People will decide, but I think we might have a chance here of maybe revive this and be able to move on. We’ll see what happens with any future movies if this one does well enough.

Q: If you do another “Terminator” movie, can you talk about where you’d like to see your character go emotionally?
Bale: No.

Q: Any chance we might see you in another Batman film?
Bale: You know, after making a number of blunders, I’ve learned that I do not answer that question until Chris Nolan has answered that question.

Q: Can you talk about the “I’ll be back” scene?
Bale: That was actually something which a friend of mine who knew came on as a writer for awhile. I would have liked him to be around longer throughout the movie, but it was actually when Jon Nolan was on it briefly. He called me up and said, “Christian, I have this good idea I want to run by you because you might just say no way.” I thought you know what, let’s try it. We can always cut it out. My aim was to attempt and you can tell me if I did it successfully or not. My aim was to kind of have it be such a logical answer that hopefully people didn’t go in that second, “What’s he doing an Arnie impression for?” I didn’t want it to come across as an impression. Ideally for me, a few seconds later people who know the other movies go, “Hey he just said the same line.” That way I felt comfortable.

Q: You and Anton Yelchin have this weird time travel relationship. How was that to develop?
Bale: You know what, I solved it by just not thinking about it too much. That’s really the answer to it. As soon as you start getting into any kind of time travel, which we don’t have in this one. It’s before the days where that has been discovered. You can get into a complete mess with the movies. It just becomes limitless and completely confusing. That one was fairly straight forward. I just don’t think about it that much.

Q: Was the helicopter scene done in one take?
Bale: Well that would be great wouldn’t it? Imagine that if it was done in one take. That would be fantastic. The camera didn’t ever pan off. I’m having a tricky time remembering that one, so I guess it must have been one take.

Q: What’s the most dangerous stunt you did in this? The helicopter scene looked horrifying.
Bale: If it had been done in one take then it would have been. (Everyone laughs) The biggest adrenaline rush was actually a dive I had to make down into a caverness space and I had to drop a fair distance for that, but I have worked with all the stunt guys, the riggers, the stunt coordinators before on a number of movies and I know how good they are. It became just a heart pounding rush. I’ve got to say, the stunts in this one, I didn’t find real tricky.

Q: Are you fearless? I remember asking you on Batman when you were on a ledge of a building if you were nervous and you looked at me like I was crazy.
Bale: I’m sure there are things I have a fear of, but just not standing on the ledge of a building.

Q: How are things going with “The Fighter”?
Bale: I hope that we’ll be making it.

Q: You’ve been an actor a lot longer than you’ve been a star. With the TMZ culture, are you concerned about it distracting people from your character onscreen? Does it distract from your performance?
Bale: Not for me it doesn’t because I don’t know what things are being said of gossipy stuff. My life is much happier when I ignore that. As for other people, that’s their choice. If they want to embrace that then they’re probably going to sacrifice enjoyment in the movies. I really believe that, but it’s their choice if that’s what they love looking at. I don’t get it, but it is what it is.

Q: Can you talk about the scenes that got cut and that aren’t in the theatrical cut?
Bale: I hate all the extras that you get on DVDs like the deleted scenes. They’re deleted for a reason. Why show it? There’s that expression you’ve got to kill your babies sometimes. That happens. You do get some very good scenes, but they just don’t work with the rhythm of the movie. I’m pretty satisfied with what you see in this movie.

Q: Anymore scenes with you and Bryce that we didn’t see?
Bale: Yeah, there were a few, but you’ll have to speak to McG about that. He’s the one who made the call.

Terminator Salvation hits theaters on May 21.