There are many perks to being a Hollywood movie director — like lifesaving medical advice from your leading man that helps you prevent a fatal heart attack.

“Vice” helmer Adam McKay received just that in a bonkers case of life imitating art, he told Variety during a recent conversation about working on the Dick Cheney biopic with Christian Bale. The star played for Vice President Dick Cheney, who has suffered numerous heart attacks throughout his life and career.

“I was one of those foolish people who thought I could smoke into my late 40s,” McKay said. After wrapping principal photography, McKay said he felt “a tingling in my hands, but it didn’t feel like a heart attack.”

He immediately recalled shooting a heart attack scene with Bale, notorious for doing his homework for any given role. Bale’s research led to numerous symptoms for heart attack, not the classic numb-arm, grip-chest, keel-over stuff most movies depict. Heart attacks can be as simple as queasiness in the stomach and tingling in the hands.

“Because your lead actor told you that, you have no damage to your heart,” McKay recalled the doctor saying. Watch him relive the entire ordeal in the clip above.

“Vice” is currently in theaters.