Back in 2004, Christian Bale starved himself down to a terrifyingly skeletal frame for his role in The Machinist. Just a year later, he gained the weight back and immediately got completely ripped for Batman Begins. Now, the method actor has gone through another incredible physical transformation for his next movie—by chowing down "a lot of pies" and doing exercises to literally bulk up his neck in order to morph into former Vice President Dick Cheney.
On Wednesday, we finally got to see the results of his mind-blowing transformation when Anapurna Pictures released the first official trailer for Vice, Adam McKay's upcoming Cheney biopic—because Bale is almost completely unrecognizable.
The trailer opens with Bale's Cheney sitting across a table from George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell), during the fateful meeting when Bush asks Cheney to come onboard as his running mate for the 2000 election. Rockwell is fantastic as a clueless Bush, but Bale is on another level—the actor has every one of Cheney's looks and mannerisms down perfectly, from his hand gestures to the way he moves his jaw to that piercing, beady-eyed stare.
"I don’t know if there’s anyone like Christian Bale on the planet Earth," McKay told Deadline in a recent interview. "The man’s just amazing… I didn’t just want someone to do an impression of Dick Cheney. What Christian Bale really does is he psychologically breaks someone apart and puts them back together again. I’ve never seen a process like it. I’ve never seen someone work so hard at it, and it is hard on him, but really amazing to watch. The second I thought of doing the movie, I knew right away, the most exciting person to play him is Christian."
Along with Bale and Rockwell, Vice stars Steve Carrell as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Amy Adams as Cheney's wife, Lynne. Adam McKay already had a hand in the brilliant first season of HBO's Succession last summer, and if Vice turns out to be anywhere near as good as it looks, the director is going to have a pretty spectacular 2018. The film is headed to theaters on Christmas Day.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow VICE on Twitter.