The Times has a story on the Christian Bale incidents and the influence of publicists, quoting me and The Fame Formula, as well as a number of other publicists. Here’s the excerpt featuring me – click on the link at the bottom of the page to read the full article.
From The Times, July 30th 2008
The truth about film publicists
Last week’s Christian Bale incident shines light on the dark arts of the movie PR
by Kevin Maher
It should have been the best weekend of his career. Christian Bale, the British-born Hollywood megastar, was on home turf to promote his blockbuster triumph The Dark Knight. But on Sunday night, July 20, just one day away from his movie’s UK premiere, the dream began to sour. After an alleged fracas with his sister and mother in the Dorchester Hotel, Bale was reported to the police. A media storm beckoned.
So did Bale do what any sensible Hollywood megastar would do in his position and contact his publicist to conduct some damage limitation? Publicity guru Mark Borkowski has his own theory about the sequence of events and Bale’s leisurely trip to the police station to answer questions the day after the premiere. Borkowski thinks that “someone would have got involved with the police at quite a high level and said, ‘Look, let’s hold it [the story] for 48 hours.’ And in that 48 hours the publicists seed the story to those people that matter, the fans, and tell them what is going on.”
Whether that’s true or not, for years PRs – that mysterious and dark breed of fixers, stuntsters and arch media manipulators – have, for more than a century now, been as fundamental to the Tinseltown fantasy as the Hollywood sign itself. They are, according to Borkowski, in his new book The Fame Formula, the hidden gatekeepers of the Hollywood dream machine “who guard its formula, often to the death”. As recounted in his detailed analysis of publicity through the ages, they are an invisible army of Machiavellian schemers who were ferociously protective of thir clients. One arranged a hasty abortion for Joan Crawford when she became pregnant from an affair with Clark Gable. Publicists also covered up the fact that the sexually rapacious Gable had apparently attended orgies with underage girls, organised by the English actor Lionel Atwill. They hid Spencer Tracy’s alcoholism and his alleged affair with Judy Garland when she was only 14. The sordid tales within the pages of The Fame Formula make Bale’s alleged indiscretion look inconsequential.
Even today, Borkowski, whose clients have included Michael Jackson, claims that movie publicists are part of a powerful cabal who mostly go unnoticed, who ruthlessly hold the media in their grasp and who “truly understand the dark Conradian soul of man” (ie, our baser instincts). Some of the studio publicists I approached refused to speak about their craft, while others agreed to discuss it only anonymously.”
To read the full article click here.