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Watch Christian Bale become Dick Cheney in trailer for ‘Vice’ biopic

Academy Award winner Christian Bale has a knack for disappearing into roles, and the first trailer for Vice offers an early look at what might be the actor’s most impressive transformation so far.

Written and directed by Adam McKay, who previously won an Academy Award for penning The Big Short screenplay (and was nominated for another Academy Award as the film’s director), Vice profiles former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and the events that led to him becoming one of the most powerful people in American history to hold that position. Bale portrays Cheney at various points in his life, and as the trailer reveals, the American Psycho and The Dark Knight star has clearly thrown himself into the performance — physically and creatively.

Bale isn’t the only actor invested in playing some of recent American history’s most controversial political figures in the film. The ensemble cast of Vice also includes with Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, Steve Carell as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Tyler Perry as Colin Powell, and Bill Pullman as former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.

One of the most influential — for better or worse, depending on who you ask — U.S. vice presidents, Cheney was the CEO and chairman of the Halliburton Company before serving as the country’s VP from 2001 to 2009, and also served in the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush at various points. An aggressive advocate for the Iraq War and both domestic and international War on Terror initiatives, Cheney left office with an infamously low 13 percent approval rating. The policies he initiated while in office, however, reshaped the global political and power map in major ways that are still being felt today.

Vice will be a reunion of sorts for McKay with Carell and Bale, who both played featured roles in The Big Short, the filmmaker’s 2015 film about the events leading up to (and during) the financial collapse of 2007-2008 spiraling out of the U.S. housing crisis. In addition to McKay’s two Academy Award nominations (and one win), the film also received three more nominations in the “Film Editing,” “Supporting Actor” (for Bale), and “Best Picture” categories.

Vice hits theaters December 21.

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