Moon and Iron Man 2 actor Sam Rockwell has signed on to play George W. Bush in Cheney, Adam McKay's biopic of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Christian Bale is set to play the title character, and has already begun the process of gaining weight for the role. Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Bill Pullman are also attached to the Annapurna Pictures production which is expected to go before cameras in September.
Cheney is expected to trace the life of Dick Cheney from the controversial period in the 1960s when he received five draft deferments, through his time serving under presidents Nixon and Ford, then to his rise as CEO of Halliburton and finally to his days as vice president under George W. Bush, when many thought Cheney was the true power pulling the strings behind the scenes.
With Bale in place and already packing on pounds as Cheney, Adam McKay has found his Dubbya in Sam Rockwell, as reported by THR. At one time, Edward Norton and James Marsden were reportedly being considered for the role of the 43rd president, who came to power in 2001 after defeating former Vice President Al Gore in one of the most controversial elections in American history, then went on to involve America in a pair of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with Dick Cheney as one of his policy masterminds.
Bush has already famously been depicted in a feature film by Josh Brolin in Oliver Stone's W. and on television by Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live. Rockwell isn't necessarily the first actor to come to mind when thinking about who should next play the former president on-screen, but it's an interesting choice nonetheless. Rockwell has proven himself to be a capable and versatile actor over a solid career, appearing in among other things the historical drama Frost/Nixon, the science-fiction character study Moon and the superhero film Iron Man 2. This year, Rockwell will appear alongside Frances McDormand in the Oscar-buzzy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
This far out from the film's completion, we can only speculate on what kind of movie McKay is shooting for, but if his Oscar-winning The Big Short is anything to go by, his Cheney should be a unique and politically-charged reflection not only on the life of Cheney but on the impact of his and Bush's administration on American history. If McKay can make an entertaining movie about the complexities of the 2008 financial meltdown, he can probably make an entertaining movie out of the life of Dick Cheney.
If nothing else, people will turn out to Cheney to see what Christian Bale looks like after once again undergoing an insane physical transformation for the sake of his art.