February 4th, 2009
12:35 PM ET

On-set turmoil nothing new

You didn’t want to get Otto Preminger upset.

The director of “Anatomy of a Murder” and “Exodus” was famous -– or infamous -– for his rages, which he would aim at any actor he didn’t think was doing a good job. Some gave as good as they got, letting a Preminger tirade wash over like a summer squall, but others, notably Jean Seberg, were left quivering by his vicious attacks.

It’s no wonder that, as an actor, the bald, Vienna-born Preminger was often cast as a military officer (as in “Stalag 17,” in which he played the prison-camp commandant) or flat-out villain (Mr. Freeze in TV’s “Batman”). “I do not welcome advice from actors,” he once said. “They are here to act.”

Actors haven’t always been prizes, either. Marlon Brando could be notoriously petulant if things weren’t going his way. Directors put up with it because he was just as often brilliant.

Such is occasionally the state of play between directors, the autocrats of the movie set, and actors, the talent the film is built upon, with crew members -– script supervisors, key grips and sundry assistants -– often caught in the middle.

What’s notable about Christian Bale’s blow-up at “Terminator Salvation’s” director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, isn’t that it happened; any number of Hollywood insiders can tell, and have told, similar stories. (Listen to Bale's meltdown)

It’s that it became public.

Even Bale’s fit is the subject of contention. Based on the audio tape, the actor sounds like a hotheaded egotist, venting at Hurlbut beyond all reason for interfering with a scene. And yes, there are also those anger-management issues. But according to a report on Ain’t It Cool News, Hurlbut is a “light tweaker,” constantly playing with the scene’s illumination, and got in the way of a key scene between Bale and co-star Bryce Dallas Howard.

This is not to excuse either man’s behavior. But business -– particularly businesses such as movies, television and music, where “creative differences” are a regular occurrence -– can be full of ugly scenes. You probably have experienced a “screamer” at your office, too.

Interestingly, CNN’s Douglas Hyde talked to several directors (and actor Josh Brolin) about the old image of the director-as-jerk. All of them said it’s not that way anymore. It would be interesting to know how often blow-ups happen nowadays.

– Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer


Filed under: movies
February 4th, 2009
11:42 AM ET

Festival days

Music fans will have their hands full this spring and summer.

Bonnaroo, the annual festival in Manchester, Tennessee, announced its lineup for 2009: Among the participants: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Phish, Elvis Costello, Al Green, the Decemberists, Merle Haggard, Of Montreal, Erykah Badu and the Beastie Boys – and that’s just for starters.

Bonnaroo is scheduled for June 11-14.

Across the country, this year’s Indio, California-based Coachella festival has an equally impressive lineup for its annual gathering: Paul McCartney, Morrissey, Amy Winehouse, the Cure, X, the Black Keys, Paul Weller, the Ting Tings and Lupe Fiasco … again, just a small portion of the many acts who will be on hand.

Coachella runs April17-19.

Planning to go to either? Too much for tickets and transport? What’s your dream show?

– Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer


Filed under: Music
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