Christian Bale’s Knowledge of Dick Cheney’s Health Issues Saved Adam McKay From a Heart Attack

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, a face you can trust. Photo: Annapurna Pictures

We all know that Christian Bale goes deep into his characters, and fortunately in the case of Vice, he learned enough about former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s health problems to help director Adam McKay avert serious disaster when the filmmaker suffered a heart attack of his own. In an interview with Deadline, McKay says he knew he was in bad shape at the end of filming his biopic of the former vice-president. McKay says he had bulked up to about 275 pounds and was smoking nonstop during production, so when the end of shooting came around, he started getting serious with his trainer again. At one of their sessions together, he felt pain in his stomach, and his hands start to tingle. That’s when something Bale told him on set snapped back into his head.

I always thought when you get a heart attack, it’s pain in the chest or the arm. But then I remembered. When we shot one of the heart attack scenes, Christian Bale asked me, ‘how do you want me to do it,’ and I go, ‘what do you mean? It’s a heart attack. Your arm hurts, right?’ He says, ‘no, no. One of the more common ways is that you get really queasy and your stomach hurts.’ I said, ‘really? I’d never heard that before. And right in that moment [when McKay doubled over] I went, ‘oh s*it, and I ran upstairs and downed a bunch of baby aspirin, and I called my wife who immediately called 911. Got to the hospital really fast, and the doctor said, because you did that, no damage was done, your heart is still really strong. That’s because I remembered Christian Bale telling me that. 

So thanks to acclaimed actor and casual cardiologist Bale, McKay is all right, and he felt at peace enough about the whole experience to sneak an image of his own blocked arteries into the movie. “There’s a shot, it almost looks like an octopus, people don’t quite know what it is. That’s my heart attack!” How creepy!

Christian Bale’s Research Saved Adam McKay From Heart Attack