I agree with Caslon. First, you're only hearing one side of the story. Yes, I'm sure Bale is an intense actor and I wouldn't be surprised if he's done this before, but here's another perspective from Harry Knowles of AintitCoolNews.com:
Why AICN Doesn't Post Links To Stories Like This Christian Bale thing that's everywhere!
Hey folks, Harry here... I'm getting slammed with assloads of people angry at me for not posting the Bale explosion from the set of McG's TERMINATOR: SALVATION. Well, first off - there's a real simple reason. It isn't news. And it certainly isn't cool news. It is a moment in a man's life taken completely out of context and most likely leaked to personally embarrass Christian Bale.
Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking... There's no excuse for a temper tantrum like that to ever occur and if you are going to act that way, you deserve to be embarrassed by your own actions.
Except, you want to hear the REALITY behind that clip?
I know this because I happen to be somewhere where someone that was there that day and for the shoot is. And this person isn't a publicist, nor are they invested in Bale's career. They're just someone that thinks it is absolute bullshit that this moment in Bale's life is being aired and that the real story should get out there.
The DP on TERMINATOR SALVATION, Shane Hurlbut, is a apparently a light tweaker. He's a fairly young DP and likes to fiddle with his lights on set during action, which is a big "NO NO" on most productions unless worked out in advance with performers. But apparently Shane was a pretty unrepentant light tweaker.
The scene in question, was a very emotional and tough scene between Christian Bale and Bryce Howard. A scene that required soul bearing and a deep level of immersive concentration. The sort of scene where everyone on set knows not to get in anyone's eye lines, and definitely not to move lights around while FILMING. You lock that shit down before the scene starts.
Bale had indeed warned the DP on multiple occasions about messing with lights while the cameras were rolling, and Bale was in the midst of a painful scene with Bryce, what was described to me as being the emotional center of the film and his character for the film.
Now, the reason I know all of this is because the person that was there, felt that it should be made perfectly clear that Christian Bale was the utmost gentleman and cool guy on set. And the DP really was doing something that professional DPs with experience just don't do. Not during a performance.
You don't need me to give you a link, it's all over the internet, I just felt that you should know what really went down - and that this particular outburst did indeed modify the DP's behavior - and for future DPs. Fuck with the lights before and after your actors are acting. Not during.
I stay out of the 'personal gossip' arena because frankly... can you imagine your personal shit aired for all to see. None of us are perfect, and certainly we have all sinned to some degree. Actors, Actresses, Celebrities and the people exploited on sites like TMZ. They're human beings that I personally feel are owed the same inalienable rights that the rest of us hold dear.
Can you imagine cameras documenting your every attempted private moment. This moment was something that occurred in the heat of a moment on set between professionals. The audio is so clear on Christian, that it's obvious a mike was on him or a foot and a half above him. These are the sorts of moments that are private affairs. Yet somehow, because he's an actor. We feel it's permissable to air his dirty laundry. It isn't our business. It isn't anybody's fucking business. Will this affect TERMINATOR SALVATION? Will this give us insight into his character? Only because I found some details out, do we know it was in the midst of a scene between him and Bryce Howard. But that's accidental... and certainly hasn't been revealed by CNN or any other media, because they just run the clip with BEEPS. Is it funny? I suppose it may be. It allows regular people to laugh, point fingers and call someone other than themselves an ASSHOLE. But frankly, I find it disgusting. It's the exact thing that I made AICN to not be about. I wrote this, not to create an endless TALKBACK, but to express my opinion on the spreading of stories like this and making Christian look bad, when he isn't.