Saturday, May 23, 2009

That Christian spirit

BEVERLY HILLS, California — The first Terminator movie, directed by James Cameron (of Titanic fame) and starring now-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role, was shown in 1984, followed by Terminator 2: Judgment Day (also with Cameron and Schwarzenegger) in 1991 and then by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, directed by Jonathan Mostow (who closed the first trilogy), in 2003.
Now comes Terminator Salvation, directed by McG (also behind the hit Charlie’s Angels, starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu), set in 2018 after Judgment Day which saw the leveling of modern civilization and the rise of an army of Terminators roaming the post-apocalyptic landscape, killing or collecting humans who hide in the desolate cities and deserts. But a small group of survivors have organized into a Resistance which hide in underground bunkers and strikes when they can against an enemy force that vastly outnumbers them. Controlling the Terminators is Skynet, an artificial intelligence network which is behind the nuclear annihilation of the world.

Enter John Connor, the only man who saw Judgment Day and whose fate has always been intertwined with the fate of human existence. And Marcus Wright, a human-machine hybrid. Can the two of them save what’s left of the world?

Playing John Connor is Christian Bale who sheds his Batman persona (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) for a tougher one and Australian actor Sam Worthington plays Marcus Wright. (Note: Schwarzenegger makes a “surprise” appearance in the movie, au naturel.)

Born in Wales, Bale grew up in England and the USA, and had his film debut as a child actor in Steven Spielberg’s World War II epic Empire of the Sun.

Conversations sat down with Bale at a function room of Beverly Hilton a week after the bout of Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas on May 3 (Manila Time). Since Bale watched Pacquiao train at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Conversations kicked off the interview by asking him about Pacquiao who was also visited in the same gym by other Hollywood stars including Mark Wahlberg and basketball superstars.

So you observed Pacquiao during his training at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.

“Oh yes, I was there.”

Glad to know that you’re one of Pacquiao’s fans.

“He’s a great boxer. He’s fantastic! He’s generous in spirit.”

You really took time out from your busy schedule to watch Pacquiao up close.

“You know, I went there not just as a fan but also as part of my research for my next movie.”

Oh, is that so? Are you playing the role of a boxer?

(Smiles) “I can’t reveal yet what my role is.”

Pacquiao fought against your fellow Briton in Las Vegas. Were you there to root for Pacquiao?

“I wanted to watch the fight but I couldn’t go to Las Vegas. I was busy with work.”

Did you train for Terminator as hard as or harder than Pacquiao did for his fight?

“Maybe not as hard. Doing Terminator is exhausting. I play a very physical role. The only special training I had was the weapons training with the military guys.”

How old were you when you saw a Terminator movie?

“I was only 10 when the first Terminator came out. I was 17 and just arriving in the States when Terminator 2 was showing. Watching T2 was very memorable for me. I remember the excitement inside the theater. I’ve never felt anything like that. It was awesome! Everybody was screaming, me included, so you couldn’t hear a thing all throughout the movie. It was just so exciting!”

Did you ever imagine at that time that you would be in a Terminator movie?

“No, I did not. I wasn’t really that ambitious.” (laughs)

Watching Terminator Salvation makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a breathtaking video game. Did you play video games in your younger years?

“Yes, I do love video games. I played video games in my entire growing-up years. One of my favorites is Super Mario. I wouldn’t sleep until I finished the game, you know.”

Do you see yourself in John Connor?

“A bit. In Terminator Salvation, John Connor is so much older and he has gone through Judgment Day. Living through an event like that alters everybody, so in many ways he’s a completely different person in this movie than he was in the previous two.”

Is it true that you hate it when people describe you as “intense”? (You should know what I mean if you saw Bale on YouTube giving a Terminator Salvation production staffer, well, “a piece of his mind.”)

“Yes, I do. I think ‘intense’ has a negative connotation.”

You would have been perfect as James Bond. Did you really turn down the role (that eventually landed on Daniel Craig’s lap)?

“They kept asking me to go on audition but I wasn’t able to.”

So what do you think of Daniel Craig?

“Well, he’s perfect for the role.”

You worked with Heath Ledger, an Australian, in The Dark Knight. And now, you’re starring with Sam Worthington, another Australian. How would you compare them?

“You know, they are two very different people. You know, I don’t really like comparing people. But yes, they are both good.”

What are the pluses and minuses of being a big star that you are now?

“You know, believe me but I just go by my day and do everything I’ve done before and I don’t really get people hassling me. I don’t read entertainment things in the papers so I don’t know what people are saying about me or against me, and I’m happy that way.”

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

“Hmmmm. The sillier the movie the better.”

At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to be an actor?

“I did little skits when I was in school and I guess I started to love acting at that time.”

How was your childhood like?

“It’s a tough question. How do you answer that? I don’t really remember much about my childhood, do you? I guess I’m pretty much the same as any kid growing up.”

What is the Christian Bale that the public doesn’t know?

(Thinks awhile) “Why should I tell you? I like to keep it that way.”

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