Actor Christian Bale has admitted that he put on unnecessary weight to play former US Vice President Dick Cheney in the biopic “Vice.”
Bale called up fellow Oscar-winner Gary Oldman for advice on how to portray an overweight politician, but ended up ignoring Oldman’s suggestion to use prosthetics and makeup instead of gaining weight.
“I had said, ‘I don’t know how to do this except I’ve got to gain the weight myself,'” Bale told Sam Rockwell for Variety.
“I was a large toddler. I called up Gary and I said, ‘How much weight did you gain for the role?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t gain anything.’ I felt like such an idiot. I didn’t understand that [prosthetics and makeup] had come such a long way.”
Bale gained around 40 pounds to play Cheney, which took a toll on him physically and mentally.
“It was the first time that I’ve really gone, ‘Oh, I’m unable to do this,'” he said.
“I can’t keep this up. And I wasn’t eating cream pies all day. I’ve been in this game long enough to know when I can’t do something physically.”
Bale also discussed his approach to playing Cheney and trying to understand the former vice president’s perspective.
“Let me try to convince him, because I do believe Cheney is a very strong-minded individual,” Bale said.
“The nature of ‘What does it mean to be a patriot?’ That’s a real amorphous word.
It’s like ‘obsession’. It can be a healthy thing, it can be incredibly unhealthy as well.”
The actor revealed that he had several meetings with Cheney, who was portrayed as a Machiavellian figure with a large amount of power behind the scenes during the George W. Bush administration.
Bale said he found the former vice president to be a charming and polite man, but he still had to put his personal opinions aside to play the character convincingly.
“There’s no interest to me in making a film where my opinions are in there,” Bale said.
“Adam [McKay] is the storyteller and we agreed early on, let me counter his points of view. Let me advocate for Cheney.”
Director Adam McKay had previously worked with Bale on “The Big Short,” a film about the 2008 financial crisis.
Bale won an Oscar for his role in the movie, and he said that he and McKay had a good working relationship.
“I’m lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to work with Adam twice now,” Bale said.
“He’s such an extraordinary filmmaker and I enjoy his company so much.”
McKay has a reputation for making politically charged movies, and “Vice” is no exception.
The film takes a critical look at Cheney’s time in office and his influence on US foreign policy.
Bale said that he wanted to be a part of the project because he thought it was important to have a conversation about the role of politics in society.
“It’s an incredibly divisive time in our history,” Bale said. “But that’s a good thing. That’s democracy.
You’ve got to have these discussions. You’ve got to have these arguments. That’s how we figure out how to move forward.”
Bale’s performance in “Vice” was praised by critics, and he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
He lost out to Green Book’s Mahershala Ali, but the nomination was a testament to the effort he put into the role.
Bale has become known for his ability to transform himself physically for his roles, and “Vice” was no exception.
However, the experience of gaining weight for the role made him realize that there are other ways to approach a character’s physical appearance
He acknowledged that these transformations were difficult, but he felt they were necessary for the characters he was playing.
However, his experience with “Vice” has made him rethink his approach to physical transformations.
“I’m starting to realize that it isn’t necessary to do that,” he said.
“There are other ways of doing it, and there are actors who are so brilliant at changing their physicality without doing that. So I think I’m done with it.”
Bale’s decision to put on weight for “Vice” was also influenced by his desire to be faithful to the character of Dick Cheney.
“You’ve got to be able to say, ‘OK, that’s what this person looked like,'” he said.
“Otherwise, you’re not doing your job properly.”
Despite the challenges of gaining weight for the role, Bale said he enjoyed playing Cheney and exploring the character’s motivations.
He also praised the makeup and prosthetics team that helped him achieve his transformation.
“I loved it. I really enjoyed it,” he said.
“And the prosthetic guys were brilliant. I mean, I couldn’t have done it without them.”
“Vice” was released in 2018 to mixed reviews but was still a commercial success, grossing over $76 million worldwide.
The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for McKay, and won one for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
Bale’s performance as Cheney was widely praised, with many critics noting his ability to disappear into the character.
“Bale’s transformation into Cheney is so complete, it’s easy to forget that it’s him under all that makeup and padding,” wrote Brian Truitt of USA Today.