Following former Vice President Dick Cheney’s ascent to the highest ranks of Washington, Vice is one of the contenders for the 2019 Oscar Awards top category of best picture.
Overall, the film earned eight noms, including best director for Adam McKay and best actor for Christian Bale.
Yup. Bale’s transformation into Cheney, who was vice president from 2001-2009, was just amazing.
The biopic, directed by “The Big Short’s” Adam McKay, chronicles Cheney’s life as the former vice president under President George W. Bush.
Starting with his beginnings as a Washington bureaucrat, the film explores Cheney’s service under the Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush administrations and as the CEO of energy management company Halliburton.
To play Cheney, Bale had to shave his head, bleach his eyebrows, and put on 40 pounds.
Think of it – Batman became Dick Cheney.
That itself is Oscar worthy.
“Christian was always Plan A and there was no Plan B, C or D. He was the guy while Adam was writing it,” said Producer Jeremy Kliener.
The films producers didn’t want to make the film until Christian Bale was attached, but even after the star signed onto Vice, the team didn’t want to take another step until another things were attached, like prosthetics onto their leading man.
“The first big puzzle piece … was about makeup,” Vice producer Kevin Messick said. “We couldn’t make the movie until we had it, until I think the weekend before we started rolling.”
According to Messick, makeup tests for the film started as early as March 17, 2017, nearly a year and a half before the movie hit theaters.
The multiple makeup tests took place in a storage facility located in the San Fernando Valley during the summer.
Apparently during those days, Bale would arrive at the facility somewhere around around 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., hours before the rest of the crew would arrive.
Undergoing major physical transformation by means of strict diets and workouts is nothing new to Bale.
Prosthetics, however — that’s another story.
The Vice star worked with Oscar-winning special effects makeup artist Greg Cannom to transform into the notorious politician.
For his first time wearing prosthetics, Bale had to sit through somewhere between three to four hours of application and makeup, Cannom told THR.
In addition to 40 lbs. gained specifically for the role, Bale wore a wrap-around prosthetic that covered his neck, cheeks and chin.
The actor also sported prosthetics to make his nose seem more like Cheney’s.
The transformation, however, did not just stop there.
Bale shaved his head and sported a wig that made his head look wider at the top.
He also took it upon himself to constantly exercise his neck for a more Cheney-like one, Messick said.
Messick said that Bale started using a “crazy neck machine contraption” to bulk up.
After his full transformation, Messick recalled mistaking Bale for a fishing instructor who had wondered onto the film set.
He said he remembers thinking, “Who is that?,” upon seeing the transformed actor.
Throughout the film, Bale plays the VP at different stages of his life – ranging from a young and up-and-coming politician to the harshly criticized political figure.
“I had this moment, ‘Should we go ahead with this?’ and then we discussed it and said, ‘It’s actually more relevant. This is the story of how we got here,'” Adam McCay told THR last December. “In the filming and the editing of it, it was eerie how much it kept lining up with the present world.”
In case you missed it, here’s a preview: