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'Christian Bale’s temper is explosive'

Actor Christian Bale’s former publicist had to be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder due to actor’s explosive anger, a new book has claimed.

hollywood Updated: Jun 11, 2012 18:48 IST

Actor Christian Bale’s former publicist had to be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder due to actor’s explosive anger, a new book has claimed. According to the sensational biography, the Batman star has distanced himself from family and friends, and hasn’t spoken to his mom in more than four years. The book written by Harrison Cheung, his ex-publicist, also accuses the 38-year-old actor of being so mean that he would reduce little girls who asked for his autograph to tears.

The book also talks about how the Oscar-winner saw Leonardo DiCaprio as his nemesis after the Titanic star kept beating him to roles, and how he rejected becoming James Bond. Cheung was by Bale’s side for a decade. “Pity the fan who recognised Christian at a restaurant,” the Sun quoted Cheung as saying. “He refused to sign autographs while he was seated. He would lecture little girls about being rude and intrusive until tears streamed down their faces and their parents tugged them away from our table,”

Bale, who will be returning as Batman in The Dark Knight Rises next month, had risen to fame when he was just 14-year-old by starring in Steven Spielberg’s Empire Of The Sun. According to the book, Christian Bale - The Inside Story Of The Darkest Batman, the actor blamed one person for thwarting his career plans - DiCaprio. It says that the Titanic star seemed to beat him to prized roles each time.

“DiCaprio. The name burned Christian like a branding iron. Over the years, Christian had lost This Boy’s Life and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape to DiCaprio,” Cheung wrote. “Christian had read for the part of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet but was told that they had decided to cast an African American in the part instead. “Christian too had gone up for the part of Jack Dawson in Titanic but was told that James Cameron didn’t want two British lead actors playing the two leads who were both supposed to be American,” he said. In 1999 the two went to war again over the lead in American Psycho, the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s dark novel about Wall Street serial killer and sexual sadist Patrick Bateman.

Bale became obsessed with being cast in the movie and began furiously lobbying director Mary Harron for the role, yet DiCaprio showed up for the film and became the favourite. Second favourite for the role was fellow British actor Ewan McGregor. In desperation Bale called McGregor up and begged him not to take the part. McGregor passed and eventually Bale was cast. In what was to become his typical behaviour, he showed extraordinary commitment to playing Bateman, sculpting his body at the gym and perfecting his American, yankie accent 24/7.

He would even call up pals and family and leave chilling messages in the voice of the disturbed character. “It was really creepy. He would call up and go, ‘It’sssssssss Patrick’ as soon as you answered the phone in that perfect American accent,” one friend told the author, Not long after American Psycho, he sat down for a meeting with Barbara Broccoli, the legendary James Bond producer, who was looking for a new Bond to replace Pierce Brosnan when his contract came to an end.

According to Cheung, she hinted that the role was Bale’s for the taking but he turned her down, telling her, I’ve already played a serial killer.” The book, which is just out in America and is released in the UK later this year, says his success grew, his moods darkened even more. Cheung wrote that in March 2002, Bale’s mother Jenny - who had divorced his dad - brought his grandmother over to Los Angeles for her first trip abroad and he would not see them.

Canadian PR man Cheung had to deal with the fallout when he went to Bale’s sister Louise’s house in the same city. “I arrived at Louis’s house when Jenny was crying on the phone, asking Christian to see them - if not for her sake then for his grandmother’s first visit to the US. He refused,” Cheung said. Even marriage to the model Sibi Blazic and the birth of his daughter Emmeline in 2005 did not lift his moods. According to the book, he would sit at home staring at the four walls all day.

The publicist eventually decided to quit. “It only took me five years of therapy to get past my Bale years,” Cheung said. “My therapist would describe my condition as post traumatic stress disorder,” he said. As it turned out, Cheung had left before Bale’s temper reached its fever pitch in the wake of the 2007 role that finally took him into the A-list, as Batman in The Dark Knight.

First Published: Jun 11, 2012 14:07 IST