Vice trailer

Like The Big Short, the tone of the movie can drastically change at the drop of a dime. How difficult was it finding that tone in the editing room?

It was a level of meticulous timing that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before, where the change, or the transition, if it came five frames too early, it could throw it off. If it came 10 frames too late, it could throw it off. And so, it was this crazy meticulous kind of editing, where I go, “Hank, it feels like we’re just a little quarter breath long here.” And pretty soon, Hank was like, “You’re right. This movie’s just … it’s demanding.” So yeah, all those tone shifts and sometimes you’re throwing in a montage, and then you’re sticking in your scene, and then suddenly in the scene, you’re turning and there’s a fact being delivered. So all that stuff was just like, you have to keep polishing it and polishing it, polishing it throughout the entire process. You go back to it over and over and over again.

What scenes did you cut? 

Well, the big one we had was, we had them as teenagers, Dick and Lynne, we had different actors playing them, and it was beautiful. I mean, it looked like Greig Fraser shot the crap out of this. It looked like Splendor in the Grass, Giant. We loved it, and the way they met, and their love story in that small town. I just thought, “Oh, this is perfect. This is like Americana in what it’s gonna become.” And it just didn’t work. The audiences were like, “We want Christian Bale. Okay, we get it. They’re in love. Come on, move it along. Get him to Washington D.C.” And we refused to give up. We were just like …

We cut so many versions of it, and finally one day I go, “Heck, I think we gotta just try it without it.” And the second it wasn’t in there, the movie just went whoosh, and you could feel the wind blowing through the movie. And it was like, “Here we go.” So that was a big one. We tried a musical number as well, which was Carell explaining the power structure of D.C. and that one didn’t tonally work either. It was just too much in that sectio of the movie. Beautifully done.

Which musician made the song?

It’s Brittany Howard from the Alabama Shakes. And Nic Britell wrote an original piece of music, kind of collaborated with her. And it’s this kind of … Oh, what would you call it? Like, R & B kind of just big power song. And it was amazing. It just didn’t work where it was at, and that was another one we tried, and tried, and tried, and finally cut loose. It was really those two things. Those were the two that we refused to let go of. And there was a couple of other little things that got cut, but those were the two swings. And yeah, at the end of the day, always listen to the movie.

Your blu-rays are usually packed with features and deleted scenes. Will the musical sequence be on the blu-ray? 

Oh, they’ll be on there. Yeah, we actually cut the young love [scene]. I cut it as a short film. It’s its own black and white short film, and the musical number’s on there, and then there’s one other little scene too that takes place later in the movie that’s on there. But yeah, it’ll definitely be there.

When you were writing the script, because he is so cold and distant, how close did you or did you want the audience to feel to Dick Cheney? 

We were trying to get in as much as we possibly could. We were trying to draw out his feelings and motivations. When Rumsfeld tells him about Cambodia, and you could see that look in his face as he’s feeling the power of it. When his father-in-law tells him, “Oh, big shot Dick in D.C.” You can see he’s starting to wear it. He’s starting to become the father. I mean, with these scenes, we’re trying to get it. It’s just … it’s very difficult.

I jokingly refer to it as Radiotelescope, where it’s like, “Now, wait, this star over here is reacting to some kind of gravitational pull. We don’t know what it is, but I think there’s a black hole that’s actually over here.” So you’re always putting it together, and the Cheney’s don’t like to talk about any of their personal life. I mean, Cheney himself doesn’t talk about anything.

The one who really gave us some insight was Lynne. She has biography she wrote, and that had some stuff in it that was very helpful, where you started to get a little sense of the family dynamic and the way she interacted with Dick, and the way the daughters … And that was probably one of the more helpful books actually.

Most directors of biopics seem to care what their subject thinks of the movie, but how much do you care or consider what Dick Cheney will think of the movie? 

I’ve always said the whole time we were making it, I said, “He has no problem with this movie all the way through 98% of it.” I go, “The only part he’s not gonna like is the end with the fissure between the daughters and the kind of showing what America’s become. He’s not gonna like that.” But I think everything before that, from what I’ve heard about him and from people I know that have met him and talked with him, he doesn’t back off his legacy.

I think he’ll watch it and be like, “Yeah, we thought Iraq … We thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We took him out. He’s a dictator, he’s a bad guy. I stand by that. And the use of the enhanced interrogation, yeah, I didn’t believe that was torture.” And so, I don’t think he’s too rankled by anything up till the last couple … Now, this is just my theory. It’s very possible he starts it, and within two minutes he punches me in the face. But I think Lynne will hate it. I think Liz will hate it. She’s climbing the tower ladder right now in Congress. She doesn’t want to deal with any of this. I guess the one I’d be most curious about [what] Mary [thinks], which I don’t think I’ll ever find out, but I would be very curious.


Vice is now in theaters.

Pages: Previous page 1 2

Cool Posts From Around the Web: