Christian Bale is one of the greatest actors of his generation, having been nominated for multiple Academy Awards. He submerges himself into a character and will often change his body to better play the part. In 2004’s The Machinist, he lost 63 pounds to play the emaciated title character. He gained 43 pounds to play a con artist in 2013’s American Hustle. Now, he is playing Dick Cheney in Vice, which chronicles Vice President Cheney’s time in the White House.
Screen Rant: First, I want to congratulate you on the Golden Globe nomination.
Christian Bale: Oh, thanks.
Screen Rant: Well deserved, for sure. So, the first question I want to ask you is, how did Adam McKay approach you for the role of Dick Cheney? And what was your initial reaction when you first heard about it?
Christian Bale: My agent first contacted me saying that Adam had been working on the script about Cheney. And that he said he wanted to reach out to me about it. And so, initially I wondered what character he might be wanting to talk with me about, not assuming, I wouldn't be Cheney. And then, Adam and I just met up. He came over to my house and we sat. And he said, “It’s Cheney.” And I tried to get my head around that one. And we spent many hours talking and talking. And I had a great experience with Adam. He’s a really interesting filmmaker. And the challenge seemed to be too great to meet. But I thought, “Yeah, let's give it a shot.” It's always an appeal to, if you're going to fail, fail in a big way.
Screen Rant: Who did you assume you were thinking you were going to read for?
Christian Bale: I didn't even, I didn't even, start to guess. Just a supporting character.
Screen Rant: Sure. Rumsfeld or something.
Christian Bale: Nah, that wouldn't seem right either.
Screen Rant: Fair enough. The transformation. Obviously, the physical transformation is why I think people were very impressed by, obviously.
Christian Bale: I have to say, with the work of Adam, obviously. But then Greg Cannon and Chris Gallaher as well, they were extraordinary.
Screen Rant: But I actually want to talk to you about your voice as Cheney. It's very impressive. It's very close. How did you prepare for getting Cheney’s delivery correct?
Christian Bale: I just-- There's a number of people who do wonderful impersonations of Cheney. And Adam and I spoke and said, “Well, yeah. But that's not going to-- It's going to be a superficial representation. Extremely talented, the people that do it, but it's superficial over a two-hour span. So, let's go for the essence.” So, really it was just obsessing. There’s a load of interviews with Mr. Cheney and I got every single one of them on my phone. It’s just jampacked full of videos of Chaney. And I'm just sitting there watching for hours and hours and hours. And imitating it and then walking around myself and trying to get the body position and all that. I don't really know beyond that, just, it's time.
Screen Rant: Right. Well thank you very much.
- Vice (2018) release date: Dec 25, 2018