Bale brilliantly captures former US vice-president

Bale brilliantly captures former US vice-president

Christian Bale transforms to a ruthless Dick Cheney. Photo: IMDB

Christian Bale transforms to a ruthless Dick Cheney. Photo: IMDB

Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell
Duration: 132mins
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

Film not reviewed

In his new film Vice, writer/director Adam McKay sets his sights on the true story of one of the most elusive and secretive minds in modern American political history, Richard Bruce (Dick) Cheney, Vice President to George W. Bush.

Following their collaboration on The Big Short, McKay teams up once more with Christian Bale, who has already earned wide acclaim for yet another transformational performance as Cheney; while Amy Adams is Lynne Vincent, Cheney’s ambitious wife. Vice also co-stars Steve Carell as Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld and Sam Rockwell as Bush.

McKay had little direct knowledge of the elusive, seemingly unknowable Cheney, who served as a virtual co-president from 2001 to 2009. “I didn’t know much about Dick Cheney, but as I started reading about him, I became fascinated with him, what drove him, what his beliefs were,” says the director.

It expanded well beyond what I ever expected

“I kept reading more and more and was astounded by the shocking method through which Cheney gained power and how much he has shaped the United States’ current place in the world.”

After intensive research and numerous first-person interviews, McKay was able to begin writing the script, and soon Plan B producers Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner came on board.

As for who would play the quicksilver, Machiavellian Cheney, McKay says this was an open and shut case ­– Oscar winner Bale. “I wrote this script with Christian in mind,” he admits. “I don’t know who else could have done the role and if he decided not to do it, I probably wouldn’t have made the movie.”

“Absolutely brilliant,” says Bale of the script once he read it. “It expanded well beyond what I ever expected. It was poignant not just in a political way but in a very personal way. It touched on what it is to be a person, to be part of a family, part of a nation. And, as is Adam’s way, it was bloody funny.” Known for his seemingly effortless transformative abilities, it took six months of make-up trials with award-winning make-up artist Greg Cannom before McKay and Bale were satisfied that they had captured Cheney’s singular appearance. 

For the part of the ambitious Lynne, a woman who was instrumental in Cheney’s rise to the highest echelons of Washington politics, McKay again secured his first choice: five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams. Adams had already worked with Bale, yet she felt extremely daunted by the challenge presented to her.

 “Lynne was not on the surface a warm person. But she was a survivor and I absolutely understood the instinct of survival inside of her, having been raised without much opportunity,” explains Adams.

Since its release, Vice has earned numerous accolades, culminating in eight Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for McKay; Best Actor for Bale; Best Supporting Actor for Rockwell; Best Supporting Actress for Adams; Best Film Editing and Best Make-up and Hairstyling for Greg Cannom and his team.

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