×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Vice’ Star Christian Bale on How Dick Cheney Was His Wife’s ‘Avatar’

Presenting the Oscar-nominated “Vice” at the Berlin Film Festival on Monday, actor Christian Bale said Dick Cheney’s transformation into one of the most notorious U.S. leaders of the past century had much to do with his wife Lynne, played by Amy Adams in the film.

“Lynne really gave him the ambition. In many ways he was her avatar. They joke that anyone who married Lynne would have been president or vice president. There weren’t many opportunities for women at the time. She couldn’t go to Harvard. If he hadn’t married her he probably would have been happy being a lineman in Wyoming. He probably would have been a Democrat. His whole family had always been Democrat. We would not have had the Iraq war.”

Discussing his portrayal of Cheney as both a monstrous political tactician responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and a kind, loving father, Bale said: “By many accounts he was a very devoted father and husband. At the same time he has said he has no regrets, that he would do everything again in a minute. … It didn’t matter to him that no one found WMDs [weapons of mass destruction].…

“He is endlessly fascinating. I kept asking myself whether the demons come to him at night. He says no, but is that really possible? I don’t know. Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. He was a big comforting figure who presented a sense of control with his reassuring voice. There are endless questions that I would have for him. He’s a conundrum. … It’s a far more terrifying role than any other I’ve played.”

Also taking part in the press conference ahead of the film’s German premiere, writer-director Adam McKay said he looked at the film first and foremost as a character portrait, noting that Cheney had been a critical operator in U.S. politics for the last 50 years, “either in a Zelig-like way or being more directly involved hands-on.”

Comparing Cheney to Donald Trump, McKay said the current president was more the result of those 50 years of politics that followed the Reagan revolution, the politics shaped by the likes of Cheney.

Cheney was “always terrible at retail politics, Trump loves it,” McKay noted. “Cheney worked in silence, he knew that true power was in the shadows. He liked working that way.”

Asked about the evolution of his films, from his early comedies to his more serious and socially relevant works, McKay said: “You do react to the world, and the world got so insane at a certain point. I thought, let’s just say it nakedly. The entire world economy collapsed! That led to ‘The Big Short.’”

Discussing his Oscar prospects, Bale played down the importance of awards in general, but added: “As far as awards can encourage more people to see the film, that’s great. There’s no such thing as best actor really. It’s a celebration of film. I’m very proud of the film.”

Asked if he felt snubbed after missing out on the best actor prize at the BAFTAs ceremony in London on Sunday, Bale responded: “I don’t feel that I’ve been snubbed. It’s all good.”

More Film

  • China Film Group's Jiang Ping

    Shanghai: China Studio Chiefs Debate Winter Chills and U.S. Rivalry

    The Shanghai International Film Festival pulled off the impressive feat of assembling leading executives from seven of China’s top film studios. Their discussion focused on the problems that have recently beset the production sector and the industry’s relationship with Hollywood. “The film industry achieved great things in 2018, but it was also the year that [...]

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping claps while

    Propaganda Films to Dominate Chinese Theaters in Anniversary Year

    A presentation at the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday shed light on the welter of propaganda films that will compete with Hollywood blockbusters for the attention of Chinese cinema goers in the second half of this year. This year is laden with political significance for China’s ruling Communist Party. It is 100 years since [...]

  • Leung Chiu-wai

    Tony Leung to Star in Shanghai Film Group's 'Fox Hunt' Police Action Film

    Hong Kong’s Tony Leung Chiu-wai and mainland China’s Duan Yihong will head the cast of the Shanghai Film Group’s upcoming “Fox Hunt.” The film is based on real live events and depicts the activities of Operation Fox Hunt, a worldwide anti-corruption initiative managed by China’s Ministry of Public Security. The operation seeks to find and [...]

  • Wings Over Everest

    Terence Chang's 'Wings Over Everest' Set to Swell China's Rescue Film Genre

    “Wings over Everest,” a new action adventure film from veteran producer Terence Chang and “Wolf Warrior 2” producer Lu Jianmin, is poised to join the burgeoning Chinese sub-genre of rescue movies.   The Chinese- and English-language film stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu (“Project Gutenberg”; “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”), Japanese actor Koji Yakusho (“Babel”; “Memoirs of a [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    China Film Marketing Firms Must Adapt To Internet Age, Says Huayi's Jerry Ye

    Huayi Brothers Pictures CEO and media group VP Jerry Ye made no mention Sunday of the abrupt cancellation of the premiere for his firm’s highly anticipated war epic “The Eight Hundred,” which was set to be the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival’s opening film the night before. Instead, he looked to the future at a panel [...]

  • The Meg

    Chinese Script Development Requires A Different Touch, Top Producers Say

    Leading film producers highlighted the challenges of developing good scripts in China and abroad at a panel during the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday. Wanda Media GM Jiang Wei (aka Wayne Jiang) recommended that producers remain aware of the real differences between the scriptwriting process for Chinese productions versus international and co-productions. The fundamental [...]

  • Lou Ye's "Spring Fever"

    Shanghai: Previously-Banned Producer Nai An Now Hails Chinese Film Funding

    At a panel on indie film production at the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival, Chinese and foreign producers discussed the shifting funding landscape for their projects over the years. Nai An, the longtime collaborator of controversial sixth generation Chinese filmmaker Lou Ye, kicked off the talk with a look back at her producing career, which has [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content