Watch: Christian Bale transforms into Dick Cheney in upcoming film “Vice”

Christian Bale, barely recognizable.
Christian Bale, barely recognizable.
Image: Annapurna Pictures
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The political situation in the United States is so fraught and dismaying that some observers are longing for the relatively simpler times of yesteryear, when George W. Bush was president. In the debut trailer for Adam McKay’s new film, Vice, Christian Bale is here to remind us that wishing for those days probably isn’t very wise.

Bale plays Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney—the man really behind the curtain, pulling the country’s strings. Over the course of the administration, Cheney transformed his office from a historically symbolic position into one that could wield a dangerous amount of power.

“I can handle the more mundane jobs,” Bale, as Cheney, tells Bush (Sam Rockwell) in the Vice trailer. “Overseeing bureaucracy, military, energy, and foreign policy.”

“Yeah, right. I like that,” Bush replies. Later in the trailer, a tagline in huge letters appears as Cheney walks toward the camera: “Discover the untold true story that changed the course of history forever.”

Indeed, many political pundits credit the Bush administration, and Cheney specifically, for the deterioration of American politics that led to the present moment under Donald Trump. Cheney was also the chief architect of the US invasion of Iraq (among other things), which directly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and irrevocably upended global affairs.

In addition to Rockwell as Bush, Amy Adams plays Cheney’s wife, Lynne, while Steve Carell plays US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld. Former secretaries of state Colin Powell (Tyler Perry) and Condoleezza Rice (LisaGay Hamilton) will also appear in Vice.

Most of those actors are still recognizable while playing Bush cabinet members, but Bale, per usual, is completely unrecognizable. To portray Cheney, who has a history of cardiovascular disease which has caused several heart attacks, the actor put on considerable weight.

Bale’s body shape has fluctuated dramatically over the course of his illustrious career. For American Hustle, he ballooned to 230 lbs (104 kg), and for Vice he appears to have gained even more weight. He dropped to 120 lbs for The Machinist before immediately gaining 100 lbs to play Batman in the first of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. In between Batman films, he lost a scary amount of weight for Rescue Dawn and The Fighter.

Bale has already lost his Vice weight to play race car driver Ken Miles in Ford v. Ferrari, which hits theaters next year. Vice will be released this Christmas.