Christian Bale Initially Turned Down Terminator Salvation Three Times; Recalls “Enormous Regrets” Over On-Set Outburst


When Terminator Salvation booted online eight years ago, McG’s star-studded reboot (Bryce Dallas Howard! Michael Ironside! Helena Bonham Carter!) was held up as the near-perfect platform on which Christian Bale could begin his transition away from Christopher Nolan’s beloved Batman series.

After all, much like Genisys, Salvation was designed to spawn a whole new trilogy of movies with Bale’s John Connor at its core, but the end product was a mishmash of bad ideas and weak storytelling, leading the studio to haul the Terminator offline for the foreseeable future.

And though many consider Terminator Salvation to be the runt of the litter – worse than even Rise of the Machines – Christian Bale offered a candid retrospective on the doomed reboot while appearing on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast (via The Playlist):

I said no three times. I thought that the franchise…I went ‘Nah, there’s no story there.’ I’d seen the first one and enjoyed that back in England, I’d been to the movies and seen the second one.

It was an unfortunate series of events involving the writers’ strike, involving Jonah Nolan, who was able to come on, and really start to write a wonderful script, but then got called away for a prior commitment that he had. And it’s a great thorn in my side, because I wish we could have reinvigorated [the franchise]. And unfortunately, during production, you could tell that wasn’t happening. It’s a great shame.

Writer-director McG initially approached Bale mid-way through the production on The Dark Knight, when he vowed to place the emphasis on character and story, rather than flashy CGI. This, coupled with the actor’s innate desire to prove people wrong, led to him signing along the dotted line.

There’s a perverse side to me, where people were telling me that, there’s no way on God’s Earth that I should take that role, and I was thinking the same thing. But when people started verbalizing that to me, I started to go, ‘Oh really? All right, well watch this then.’ So there was a little bit of that involved in the choice.

As for that outburst, Christian Bale was sheepish, admitting that he can only learn from his mistakes:

That was a very unusual occasion. Great learning lesson for me. Do you remember that scene with Linda Hamilton where she’s really going nuts in ‘Terminator 2’? We said, we’ve got to channel that at some point in the film, and that was the scene in which we were channeling it. Great lesson for me of, no matter how much you lose yourself in a scene, you do not allow yourself to behave that way. And yeah, of course I’ve got enormous regrets about it…

Looking further afield, Skynet is currently in the process of a hard reset, as Tim Miller and franchise veteran James Cameron are plotting a sixth Terminator movie for July 26th, 2019.