Michael Caine calls Christian Bale's Terminator meltdown 'out of character'

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Michael Caine, who co-starred in three movies with Christian Bale, told a group of reporters that Bale's highly publicized outburst on the set of Terminator Salvation was unlike the Bale he knows. Bale shouted obscenities at a cinematographer who walked through the shot during a take.

"That stunned me, that did, because he's not like that at all," Caine said in a group interview on Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was promoting the drama Is Anybody There? "I mean, I'm more like that than he is. You're liable to get [worse] off of me if you walk around screwing up my takes, but I would never imagine Christian doing that. It's completely out of character. I was stunned when I saw it on the news."

Indeed, Caine remembers a far worse outburst of his own, which was not leaked in the media back in 1970. "I lost my temper on a movie years ago," he said. "I was doing a movie called The Last Valley, and James Clavell was the director. I'm not a very good horseman, and I told them, and they put me on this horse that they knew was a killer. It ran away with me for two miles, and I brought it back at a slow pace. Then I got off, and all the unit were laughing. Then I started, and I outdid Christian by about 30 minutes with more language than he knew."

Director Clavell then taught Caine a lesson he implements some 30 years later. "James Clavell broke the crew for an hour and said, 'Let's have a cup of tea,'" Caine said. "So we went and had a cup of tea. James Clavell was captured in Hong Kong when he was 14 by Japanese and spent the first part of his life in a Japanese prison camp. He said to me, 'The way I survived is I became Japanese in mentality. So I knew where they were coming from in their treatment of us, and I knew where I should be. The one thing the Japanese never do is they never lose their temper, because anger is an emotion that you should never show to strangers because you expose too much of yourself. You must never expose yourself like that to strangers.' He gave me this long lecture on the Japanese and anger, and I have never lost my temper on a set since. I go home and scream at the kids, but I've never lost my temper on a set since."

With that in mind, Caine has not yet had a chance to reach out to his Batman and Prestige co-star. Bale should expect an earful next time they meet. "I haven't seen him since," Caine said. "No. When I meet him, I'm going to say, 'What the f--k are you doing?'"