Post Magazine

January / February 2019

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 17 of 51 16 POST JAN/FEB 2019 DIRECTOR'S CHAIR riter/director/producer Adam McKay became one of the most successful comedy directors in Hollywood thanks to such hits as the Anchorman franchise, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, The Other Guys, and Marvel's Ant-Man, which he wrote. So, he might have seemed like the last person in town equipped to make The Big Short, a seriously dense drama about the devastating 2008 financial crisis that starred Oscar-winners Brad Pitt and Christian Bale, and Oscar-nominees Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell. But he proved all doubters wrong when the film turned out to be a huge critical and box office hit, winning McKay an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and earning him Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA Best Director nominations as well as Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA Best Film nominations. Now McKay is getting more awards buzz for his latest film Vice, another unlikely project that is part drama, part comedy, and which takes a highly un- conventional look at the rise and fall of former VP Dick Cheney. Spanning a half-century, the film de- tails Cheney's complex journey from rural Wyoming electrical worker to de facto President of the United States, and is a darkly comic and often unsettling inside look at the use and misuse of institu- tional power. Fully inhabiting the role of the highly secretive title character who changed the world in ways few lead- ers have over the past 50 years is Bale, who heads an all-star cast that includes Carell as the affable, yet steely Donald Rumsfeld, Oscar nominee Amy Adams as Cheney's tough, ambitious wife, and Oscar winner Sam Rockwell as President George W. Bush. Behind the camera, McKay assembled a team that included famed editor Hank Corwin, his go-to editor, whose high-pro- file credits include The Big Short, The Tree of Life, Natural Born Killers, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Horse Whisperer and Nixon, and DP Greig Fraser, who was Oscar nominated for his work on Lion. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, McKay talks about making the film (which earned six Golden Globes nomi- nations, including Best Director) and his love of post. What do you look for in a project and what was the appeal of making a film about Dick Cheney? What piqued your interest? "I like a challenge and I've always been very interested in politics. I've written stuff for Michael Moore's TV show, The Awful Truth, and for the Huffington Post, so I was really drawn to this and the idea of a guy who wielded such immense power, but who did it in such a quiet, creepy way behind closed doors. And he was such a detailed bureaucrat, and yet we've never had a full accounting of what he did and what that administra- tion did. And then his career has such a dramatic arc, from his humble beginnings to the very height of Washington power. But it's not the sexiest of stories. He's not Teddy Roosevelt riding a horse, he's not a colorful character. But I just like stories like that, that I think are really important. I know some people think, this is just politics, it's really boring, who cares? But for me, cracking these sorts of stories is really enjoyable." How did you get a handle on Dick Cheney, who seems so enigmatic even today? "It's true, he is, and the whole way into making this felt like a mystery. Who is this guy? And I think most people only really know a couple of things about him — that he shot a guy in the face in a hunting accident, and that he's cold and quiet and sort of like Darth Vader. That's about it. (Laughs) So it was a deep dive into trying to find out who this guy really is and what made him tick." It's definitely not a straightforward biopic. What sort of film did you set out to make? "I didn't want to do a linear, by-the-num- bers look at his life and career, and it's a drama, but there's a lot of humor in it too, and it felt like the right approach." Fair to say, although it's partly a comedy, your outrage seems to simmer just below the surface? "Yeah, that's pretty accurate. Some of it's funny, some of it's very serious, some of it's appalling, some of it's very dark. I was surprised by how sad it made me feel by ADAM MCKAY ON VICE BY IAIN BLAIR A PART COMEDY, PART DRAMA LOOK AT POLITICS W Skywalker Sound handled the mix. McKay (seated) shot Vice on film.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - January / February 2019