Christian Bale is known for his protean performances and a willingness to make physical sacrifices for his craft. In preparation for his title role in 2004 indie film The Machinist, just one of many examples, the actor shed more than 60 pounds.
In Adam McKay’s Vice, Bale heads the opposite direction, adding considerable girth to play Vice President Dick Cheney. (Check out the first full trailer for the film above and below — it follows yesterday’s tease by McKay.)
The Annapurna Pictures release, which is also produced by Gary Sanchez Productions and Plan B, opens wide on Christmas Day. Until now, it has been a bit of a question mark in the Oscar race, but especially given the results from McKay’s last feature as a director, The Big Short in 2015, there does seem to be considerable upside with this one.
The trailer cuts straight to McKay’s point: that Cheney is one of the most important figures on the world stage, but one who maneuvered from the shadows. Bale uncannily nails the gravelly monotone of Cheney, who sits with President George W. Bush (played by Sam Rockwell) before the election discussing the vice presidential opportunity.
“Well, George, I’m a CEO of a large company and I have been Secretary of Defense and I have been White House Chief of Staff,” Bale-as-Cheney explains when Bush asks him to be his running mate. “The vice presidency is a mostly symbolic job. However, if we came to a … uh … different understanding, I can handle the more mundane jobs: overseeing bureaucracy, energy, military and foreign policy.” Uncomprehendingly, Bush laughs, “Right. I like that.” And the journey begins.
The film’s starry cast also includes Amy Adams, Steve Carrell, Jesse Plemons, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe and Tyler Perry.
Here is the trailer: