Christian Bale Insisted On Taking Months To Get His Dick Chaney Makeup Right For Vice

Christian Bale has proven over the years that he's willing to do some pretty horrible stuff to his own body for the sake of acting. More than nearly any other actor, Bale has been known to make some radical body transformations for his various roles. He's been an Adonis-like specimen at peak physical condition for Christopher Nolan's "Batman" trilogy, but he's also been borderline emaciated for roles like his in "The Fighter." While what Bale does to himself is definitely not healthy, in some ways I admire his self-destructive dedication to his craft.

Even knowing Bale has taken on more vastly different physical forms than Jaqen H'ghar, his casting as former vice president Dick Cheney in the 2018 Adam McKay joint, "Vice," took a lot of people off-guard. When people speculated who'd be portraying Cheney, Bale wasn't exactly on anybody's shortlist. His casting was shocking, as he didn't exactly fit the physical bill for the role.

In order to properly embody the Iraq War architect and shooter of his friend's face, Bale had to completely change his appearance once again, putting on a whopping 40 pounds in order to achieve his desired pudginess. But Bale didn't just need to gain weight. In order to become Dick Cheney, Bale would need tons of makeup, which, according to a GQ interview with Bale, took months to perfect.

A complete transformation

There are certain roles where you'd assume more makeup detail goes into it than others. One has to imagine a lot of thought and work was put into how the terrifying clown from "It" would look, or how the decaying King Viserys would look in "House of the Dragon." For a character like Dick Cheney in "Vice," however, who is just a real, regular person, you don't expect the same level of work to go into it.

I suppose this changes when you cast someone whose physical appearance is nowhere close to the film's subject's. For Christian Bale, it took months to get the makeup for Cheney just right, as he speaks about in his recent GQ interview.

"Usually they don't allow special effects makeup artists that much time to prep. But I said, no, wait, we've gotta have, you know, months and months and months to get anywhere close to something that can work here, because it's the movement. You know, thank God, you know, had people who were patient enough with me to just kind of keep going and keep going and keep going until eventually going, 'Alright, I think we're in the realm.'"

The hard work paid off, as the final product rendered Bale completely unrecognizable in his role as Cheney. Bale's obsession with body modification may not be entirely healthy, but it certainly makes every film a bit more fun when you know that Bale could be playing literally any character at any time, just having gained or lost a bit of weight.