Adam McKay felt "chills" when he first saw Christian Bale in costume for new film Vice.
The filmmaker is gearing up to release the movie, which explores how American politician Dick Cheney quietly became Vice President to former U.S. President George W. Bush, reshaping the nation and the globe in ways still felt today.
McKay tapped Oscar-winning actor Bale, who he directed in The Big Short, to portray Cheney in the film, and he has now shared how he was blown away by the 44-year-old's look for the project.
"When it comes to physical transformation, if anyone can do it, he can," he told Empire magazine of Bale. "Boy-oh-boy did we pick the right guy. He found all these idiosyncratic tics and movements. I'll never forget the day when the (prosthetic) make-up started to work. He put it on for a test. He'd gained the weight and was wearing the suit and he did the Cheney walk. I got chills. He was just playing this guy - he summoned him."
Previously, Bale has undergone major transformations for films, losing lots of weight for his roles in movies like The Machinist and The Fighter, as well as bulking up for his part as Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight movies.
In addition to being able to alter his appearance, McKay was also confident Bale could convey the nuances of Cheney's character, with the director having been fascinated by the former Vice President's behaviour and decisions over the years.
"The more I read, the more astounded I was by how brilliantly this guy gamed the system. He had a Zelig-like knack for always being in the middle of things,” McKay added of Cheney, comparing him to a Woody Allen character. “Where did this guy come from? What was driving this guy?"
Vice, also featuring Steve Carell, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, is due to hit cinemas in the U.S. on 25 December (18) and around the world later in January.