Time for a Bale-out Package?

Christian Bale

Effectively undermining the message his first name connotes, actor Christian Bale made news this week as the audio of his July 2008 dress-down of a crew member on the film Terminator Salvation was leaked on the Internet.  Shane Hurlbut, the movie's director of photography, had accidentally walked onto the set of one of Bale's scenes while checking a light. Bale, star of the rejuvenated Batman franchise and soon, heir to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator mantel, went ballistic, infuriated that the scene had been ruined. The D.P.'s innocent mistake threw Bale into an expletive-laden dress-down of the man, a conniption for which Bale has subsequently apologized.

The thespian's tirade has since been spoofed on YouTube, with one particular mash-up attracting nearly 2 million views—at last count. It's also been the buzz on celebrity sites such as tmz.com.

Imagine if we all got this angry every time a casual bystander walked in front of a camera lens as we took a photo or filmed a vacation video. The world would be a very angry place indeed. But the situation could have been a whole lot worse had Hurlbut not maintained such a cool head. Despite the fact that Bale belittled him in front of the rest of the crew for four minutes straight, Hurlbut remained civil throughout, never rising to Bale's decibel level. He also kept his responses to Bale brief and clean. Good lessons for all of us if we're ever unlucky enough to come face-to-face with such venom. A level head always prevails. As for the hotheads, we say: "Hasta la vista, baby!"

Care about manners? Sign up for the What Manners Most newsletter (coming soon) at