Director Adam McKay is working on a Dick Cheney movie biopic – one that now boasts several A-list cast members, Christian Bale among them. McKay was once best known for his Will Ferrell and/or John C. Reilly comedies (Anchorman, Step Brothers, etc.), but the director announced his presence as a serious filmmaker with the Oscar-winning The Big Short – a form-twisting breakdown of the 2007 housing bubble implosion that manages somehow to be simultaneously informative, funny and soul-crushing.
After guiding audiences through the impenetrable intricacies of the housing bubble (the explosion of which nearly brought down the global financial system), McKay will next focus on an (arguably) more mysterious and potentially complex topic: the life of former vice-president Dick Cheney. The cast McKay is assembling to portray Cheney and other key figures in the story is, in a word, impressive.
According to Deadline, McKay has nabbed the one-and-only Bale to portray Dick Cheney himself, Steve Carell to take on the role of former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Amy Adams to play Cheney’s wife Lynne. McKay wrote the Dick Cheney script himself and plans to start shooting in September assuming Paramount greenlights the project. McKay explained why he decided to tackle the story of Dick Cheney:
“I’ve always found Cheney fascinating. Questions of what drove him, what his beliefs were. But once we started digging, I was astounded at how much he had shaped modern America’s place in the world and how shocking the methods were by which he gained his power.”
Bale and Carell were both key players in The Big Short, with Bale nabbing a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of uber-eccentric hedge fund manager Michael Burry. Landing his old faves Bale and Carell for the cast and adding Amy Adams (who previously worked with Bale on David O. Russell’s The Fighter and American Hustle) should make it easier for McKay to convince Paramount to take a chance on what, on the surface, sounds like a risky proposition.
Going by McKay’s comments about why he wanted to tell the story of Dick Cheney, one can guess that his film is not going to be a warm and fuzzy depiction of the former VP. Of course, people assumed the same things about Oliver Stone’s George W. Bush film W. and were somewhat surprised when the movie turned out to be largely sympathetic toward the former president; depicting him as less of a villain and more a faintly hapless victim of circumstance. After the originality and quirkiness of The Big Short, it’s tough to guess exactly what Adam McKay might have in mind for his film on Dick Cheney.
One thing we do know: Bale and Carell will both have to undergo some major changes in their appearances in order to pull off their characters. Bale is no stranger to altering himself physically, and he’ll have to once again go up in weight in order to play Cheney. Carell donned heavy prosthetic make-up to play John du Pont in Foxcatcher and may go that route again in order to look something like Donald Rumsfeld. The as-yet-untitled Cheney movie is expected to be released some time in 2018.