Lynch Cheney, Cheney, Christian Bale discussed on Fresh Air

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

This is fresh air. I'm Terry gross. Let's get back to my interview with Adam McKay, he wrote and directed the new film vice which is about Dick Cheney and how he became one of the most powerful vice presidents in American history, it stars Christian bale is Cheney any atoms as Lynch Cheney and Sam Rockwell as George W Bush there each nominated for Golden Globes as McKay for both his writing and directing McKay. Awesome made the comedies anchorman. Talladega nights and the big short. He's a former Saturday Night Live head writer, Christian bale is really fantastic in the movie as Cheney, particularly as the Bush era Cheney and some of it is the makeup and press FedEx. But he gets the voice so well, and the breathing like you can always hear Cheney when he's breathing when he's inhaling before the next phrase, he's about to speak, and he gets the. Pacing and the breathing perfectly. Right. And also, you know Cheney when he speaks. It comes out a little more on one side of his mouth and the other and Christian bell got that perfectly. Why did you think of him? I mean, physically he's the opposite type of Cheney. He's you know, he's he's got a very narrow face, or at least, I think of it as opposed to Cheney's much, you know, kind of rounder or more more square face Cheney's, heavier than bale bale had to put on a lot of weight for the role. Christian Bale's, Australian which I never remember when he's playing an American Welsh Welsh. Okay. Yes. Well, but I never remembered that he he's not like. A native American accent speaker? So why in the world did you think of him? I think you just said it I I didn't really care about him. Looking exactly like him. I was more interested in the kind of psychological build of the character. And there are just very few actors like Christian bale and Amy Adams that can do that kind of work where they really build a character, psychologically, and so it's not just mimicking gestures or mimicking motions. They know why that motion is happening. They know why that gesture is happening, and there's a psychological history to it. And there's an evolution to it. And man, I've never seen anything like it with this movie as far as getting to watch Christian put this character together as everyone on set everyday. He would walk on. This quiet reverence for what he was doing and the depth to which bell went, wow. Hey, it's I'll never forget the first day where his weight gain mixed with the makeup mixed with all the psychological work mixed with all the character work when it all came together. I just literally harass stood up on my arms. I've never experienced anything. Like it. So in your film. There was supposed to be a musical number. Sure would have been really funny. And when I read that that was supposed to be in. There got really kind of angry be edited it out. And I I really wanna see it. Okay. So it'll be a DVD extra. But how long I'm I going to have to wait for that. So tell us something about the production number. What would you can sing it? You can see some of the lyrics was so good. It was so good. We have Britney Howard from the Alabama shakes the choreographer of Hamilton. Christian bale corral. It was basically Don Rumsfeld teaching Cheney neither a bar norlander be except, you know, always a bar always borrow borough. Be and. Yeah. It was amazing. It just tone wise, and story wise did not work in that part of the filming we tried and tried and tried it almost worked, and it definitely I've had a little Pang recently. A man maybe I should have just left that in there. But the good news is it will be out with the when the release of the movie happens, and streaming DVD and all that kind of stuff, and it really is tremendous. You should call me because here's what you could have done. Okay. So you could have in the close credits had them roll over that number. So it'd be kind of like an extra within the movie. Yeah. We actually did discuss that call me. But why did you why did you not do that? Because it felt weird. It felt like you're going way backwards in the movie it felt like you're like, oh now we're back to him as a young, man. Like it didn't quite work. My daughter and her friends were so pissed they're like how could you cut that? I may have made a mistake I will openly admit that. I may have made a mistake on that one. But boy it did not quite feel right? We tried and tried that was probably our biggest cut in the movie. I mean, the nice thing is most of the other stuff state in. But that was a tough one. So making vice was a very eventful period for you. You had a heart attack before the movie was finished. Thank goodness. You survived seem to be in good shape. Now. What point of the movie were you in when you realize you're having a heart attack? We had just finished filming. I think we'd raft for about a week. And it's that period where the editor is putting together the rough assembly of the movie, Hank Corwin was working on it. So you kind of have this little week and a half two week break. And I have a company with will Farrell. Gary Sanchez, productions were always working on TV and movies. So I was doing a little bit of work producing. And I just realized I was not in the best shape put on weight during the movie, I was foolish enough to continue smoking. Not a ton. But I was you know, about a half, a pack a day below half a pack a day, and it just I didn't feel good. My doctor was warning me. And I was working out with my trainer and in the middle of it. My hands started tingling and my stomach felt queasy. Well, those aren't normally symptoms you think of with a heart attack, usually think of pain in the chest and the arm and so I told my trainer, I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm just tired. This is just weird and he left and as soon as he left, I remembered, the heart attack seem we shot with bail when he was running for congress in Wyoming in the late seventy s and pale. It asked me he said, how do you want to do the heart attack? Do you want it to be a pain in the arm the chest? He goes, I could also do the queasy stomach. That's really common. And I remember asking like, what do you mean? I've never heard that before queasy stomach, and he goes, oh, yeah. It's very common. And so that moment just flash back to me while I was sitting on the couch, and I went holy. Lord. And I ran up stairs and Graham upstairs. You're you're having heart attacks. So you run upstairs. Yeah. I mean. Maybe run is not the right stumbled staggered. Careened? I got upstairs, and I just down for baby aspirin and called nine one one. And God bless nine one one within three minutes they were there, and they had me at the hospital another three minutes after that. And the doctor was like why did you take those baby aspirin like I think he knew usually the queasy stomach thing. People don't react to that one. And I said, oh, my lead actor in our movie told me. Heart attack works and the doctor said because you acted so quickly. You have no damage to your heart. Your. And then he said not only that you have an extra strong heart. So he said the only dumb thing you're doing a smoking. So he said if you stop smoking, there's no reason you shouldn't live to be one hundred years old. So I have stopped smoking. That is the good news. And and my heart is as good as new, but man, what a scary experience. So I called Christian bale week later. And I said either you or Dick Cheney just saved my life. Did the doctor think the baby aspirin helped? Oh, yeah. For sure. No, no. That's what they give you. And when I got in the ambulance, they gave me more. I mean, the aspirin thins the blood which allows it to get around the blockage. It's it's definitely one of the moves you want. It's not going to save your life. You still have to go to the hospital, but it mitigates damage. There's no doubt about it. Did you at any point think that your life was in danger? It's funny. You're going through an experience like that. It's such a roller coaster. You don't even really think in terms like that. It's just moment by moment feeling by feeling and there were a couple moments that got very intense where I thought oh, and I remember the one doctor saying when I was in the hospital because I started to feel better. And then all of a sudden, I did not feel better. And I remember hearing a doctor going he's having a hard right now. And I thought oh man, I could really die in this moment. And the craziest thing was they took me they call it a cath lab, which I had never heard of before the catheter lab, and they take you in there. And that's where your heart. Doctor comes in your cardiologists. And this was a guy named Dr Henry is one of the best in the world. Thank god. And they get to work on you. And they're you know, they're going to clear out that blockage. And they did and they were amazing, and then towards the end I was on drugs, obviously. And for some reason, I thought it was very important that everyone at the table. No that I just done a movie about Dick Cheney. How ironic this is that I'm on a table having a heart attack. And of course, no one cares. But I saw sort of mumbled it. I was like this is weird. I just said a movie about Dick Cheney and everyone ignored me as they should have except one voice to my rate. Just after beaches said they're chain. Great american. Of your movie. I went. You know, it's in my mind. I was like I don't want to argue with this guy think these people just saved my life. So I just went I it's complicated. For anybody who doesn't know Cheney head. I think like eight heart attacks and heart transplant. So the whole heart connection is is very very relevant. Yeah. It's pretty crazy. I mean at one point he had it basically a little EKG or little jump starter in his heart. So when he would have a heart attack. It would give his heart kick to keep it alive and had like a little computer in it. And I guess a couple of years after he had put in they were worried that terrorists could crack the computer code on his heart computer that he had in there. So they actually took that out at one point. But yeah, he had I think he had five heart attacks. But. Well, no, no, no. Transplant if you count the device they put in. I mean, you might be right. It might be that high. It's kinda hard to calculate, but he turned the nineteen seventies. When he was working in the Ford administration the youngest chief of staff in history, he was smoking three packs of cigarettes a day inning a dozen donuts every day. So. Clearly, not treating his heart that well. Well, let's take a break here. And then we'll talk some more. If you're just joining us. My guest is Adam McKay who wrote and directed the new film vice about Dick Cheney, and he also wrote and directed anchorman and Talladega nights and the movie the big short, which is about what led to the financial meltdown of two thousand eight. We'll be right back. This is fresh air. Support for NPR comes from this station and from the Kauffman foundation working together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their lives and be more successful more online.

Coming up next