To better get into the mindset of Dick Cheney, Christian Bale would squeeze a hamster to death with his bare hands several times a day on set.


To better get into the mindset of Dick Cheney, Christian Bale would squeeze a hamster to death with his bare hands several times a day on set.

VICE

The Abridged Script

INT. WHITE HOUSE SITUATION ROOM

The day, SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001. The place, the WHITE HOUSE’S SECRET BUNKER. The man, FAT CHRISTIAN BALE, who feels like a PHOTOCOPY of the REAL DICK CHENEY even though 90% of the role was EATING PIE and doing his BATMAN VOICE. He sits, quietly observing the chaos onscreen, as dozens of GREAT CHARACTER ACTORS do REALLY SOLID IMPRESSIONS of REAL PEOPLE all around him but because they didn’t GAIN A MILLION POUNDS like FUCKING LOSERS, no one CARES.

CONDOLEEZA RICE

Mr. Vice President, the actual president is reading a book to some four-year olds while the most devastating terror attack of all time is occurring on live TV. Should we get him down here?

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(pauses)

(considers)

(contemplates)

Nah.

CONDOLEEZA RICE

Uh, okay. So you’ve effectively usurped the POTUS?

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(pauses)

(reflects)

(schemes)

Yep.

CONDOLEEZA RICE

Sweet. What do we do?

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Shoot down any plane that looks funny.

CONDOLEEZA RICE

Didn’t have to think on that one, did you?

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

Dick Cheney was a man. Dick Cheney did some things. Some of those things were important things. Some of those things were not.

(pause)

Hi. I’m TV’s Jesse Plemmons. You might remember me as that kid who looks like Matt Damon and Philip Seymour Hoffman had a crack baby. Anyway, I’ll be droning my bland-ass way through your tedious voiceover today. Buckle in. Things are about to get condescending.

EXT. POWER LINES, NEBRASKA – THE PAST

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

Back before he was Bush Jr.’s personal Rasputin, Cheney lived a quiet life of drinking, gambling, and barfights. In between benders, he worked as a power line repairman, where he acquired his first taste for capricious displays of cruelty.

INJURED POWERLINE WORKER

Help, Dick! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

YOUNG FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Your weakness disgusts me… Return your useless corpse to the dirt… for the worms that wriggle ‘neath the topsoil… will have more joy of your carbon than you do.

INJURED POWERLINE WORKER

So are you seriously going to just stare at me while I’m lying here in pain? Are we ACTUALLY going to pretend Cheney is that heartless that he won’t even call an ambulance for a hurt friend?

YOUNG FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Speaking of heartless… I think I’m having an attack…

INJURED POWERLINE WORKER

Well good luck, Dick. With all your Pinter pauses, the 911 call will probably take half an hour.

FAT CHRISTIAN doesn’t DIE. He celebrates by drinking his weight in CHEAP GIN and DRIVING HOME. His WIFE, AMY ADAMS, is waiting for him.

AMY ADAMS

Dick, I can’t keep doing this. You’re killing yourself with all this self-abuse. But more importantly, YOU’RE KILLING MY POLITICAL AMBITIONS, YOU ASSHOLE! I WILL BE A ROYAL CONSORT! YOU ARE MY TICKET TO POWER!

YOUNG FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(pauses)

(reminisces)

(weighs his options)

Okay… No more drinking.

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

And then Cheney stopped drinking and started being evil.

INT. CONGRESS HALL

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

You see, when a quiet, obese, chronically unhealthy little nobody from Nebraska became Vice President in 2001, nobody much noticed. Now, uh…

(pause)

Uh, Adam? Are we really going with that line? Cheney had a massive media profile during the campaign, that’s just false on its face. He’s been on The View, for fuck’s sake.

WRITER-DIRECTOR ADAM MCKAY

Keep it. The movie works better if we pretend Cheney’s an enigma instead of an attention whore who’d go on Hollywood Squares if he didn’t want to compromise his image modeled on Emperor Palpatine.

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

Okay, well, anyway, during his, uh, “super secret” rise to power, Cheney used his wife’s connections to get a gig as an assistant to none other than Donald Rumsfeld, played here by the most Oscar-hungry actor in Hollywood who isn’t Will Smith.

STEVE CARRELL

Hiya, interns! The name’s Rumsfeld! But you can call me Don, or Donny, or Rummy! Haha, rum! We drink that a lot here in D.C.! Politicians are like penises, they work best when they’re lubricated! Haha! Penis!

(pauses to listen to intern whispering in ear)

Sorry, ladies, my bad. I keep forgetting we have women in this room now so I can’t have fun anymore. Vaginas! Is that better?

(listens to same intern)

Jesus Christ, there’s just no way to win. Anyway, D.C. is a wolf’s den, take comfort in the fact that if you get disemboweled by your enemies, at least your useless corpse will find solace in the belly of an alpha. Be prepared to prostrate yourselves fully at the knees of whichever Congressman will debase himself by allowing you to fetch him coffee. Okay, who wants to work for me?

YOUNG FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(pauses)

(broods)

(cogitates)

I love you.

STEVE CARRELL

Great. Your first task is to fetch me an insubstantial montage so we can gloss over most of the actual formative shit that you made you the smooth political operator you became.

YOUNG FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

On it.

We see STEVE and CHRISTIAN get into all sorts of POLITICAL HIJINKS in 1970’s WASHINGTON, such as peeping on HENRY KISSINGER plotting to BOMB CAMBODIA and hearing ROGER AILES plan to found FOX NEWS and watching the SURVIVING KENNEDY FAMILY pull off their HUMAN MASKS and lap at the blood of VIRGINS with their LIZARD TONGUES.

AMY ADAMS

Wow, husband. You’ve made great strides in transferring your lust for alcohol into a lust for power. Do you think you can help me raise our kids and deal with my abusive father?

YOUNG FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(pauses)

(ruminates)

(runs thought experiments)

Yeah.

CHRISTIAN goes to the FUNERAL of AMY’s MOTHER to confront her FATHER, SHEA WHIGHAM.

SHEA WHIGHAM

(sloshed)

Hey, Dick. Man, you’ve chubbed up. You look like you ate your younger self from The Machinist.

YOUNG FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(squints)

YOU’RE Amy’s dad? You look… exactly her age.

SHEA WHIGHAM

Yeah, it’s weird that the makeup artists could make you look like Cheney down to the molecule but couldn’t even gray my hair up. Care for a bottle of wine or three?

YOUNG FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Leave my family alone… or crows will nourish their young… with your eye jelly.

SHEA WHIGHAM

(stumbling away)

You used to be fun…

CHRISTIAN celebrates by taking his DAUGHTERS fishing.

YOUNG ALISON PILL

Father, why do we capture these meager fish? They have done nothing to harm us.

YOUNG FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Arbitrary displays of dominance over the innocent is a key asset when maintaining power.

(pauses)

Also I like the pretty fins.

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

Yep, Cheney sure got up to some shit back then. Anyway, now that we’ve neatly summarized all of the “biography” parts of this biography film, let’s skip to the fun part. Get ready for Dubya!

INT. SWANKY D.C. PARTY

Now successful, old, and PRETTY MUCH FINISHED GROWING AS A PERSON, CHRISTIAN attends a SHINDIG with D.C. ELITES.

FUTURE PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH

So glad you could come to my soiree, Cheney family. Care for some cheese bites dipped in truffle oil? Wait, oil! I just had a great idea for a war, let me write that down.

There is a CRASH in the corner. EVEN-FURTHER-FUTURE PRESIDENT SAM ROCKWELL stumbles around, choking on PRETZELS and mispronouncing the word NUCLEAR.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

…Who’s that loser?

AMY ADAMS

George Junior. Black sheep of the family. He’ll never amount to anything. Did you hear that, audience? I said George W. Bush would never amount to anything. Doesn’t it make you feel smart to know better?

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

But George Jr. DID amount to anything. He later became president of the-

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Okay, for fuck’s sake, Adam, I didn’t gain all this weight so half the film could be explained to the audience by the creepy kid from Breaking Bad. Can we have ONE fucking scene that doesn’t get chopped to shit by your handholdy monologues?!

WRITER-DIRECTOR ADAM MCKAY

Yes. Of course. Sorry, Mr. Bale. Um. How about another scene with your daughters?

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Make it dramatic.

CHRISTIAN and AMY goes to visit ALISON PILL, who is recovering in the HOSPITAL after some DOMESTIC INCIDENT.

ALISON PILL

Mom. Dad. I have to tell you something. I’m gay.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(pauses)

(figures)

(muses)

No biggie.

AMY ADAMS

Are you sure about this? We’re conservative politicians. Gays are kind of a sticking point right now.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

I am sure… I feel love in my heart right now… Also several heart attacks… Scooch over, honeybun. Dad needs a hospital bed.

CHRISTIAN almost DIES several times. Luckily for his FAMILY but unluckily for the IRAQI POPULACE, he does NOT.

INT. CHENEY HOUSEHOLD

Years later, AMY approaches CHRISTIAN with some NEWS.

AMY ADAMS

Dick, I just got a call from that Bush kid. You know. George. The William Baldwin of the Bush clan.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

The one who speaks Texan better than he speaks English…? What does that moron want?

AMY ADAMS

He’s considering a presidential run and wants you on the ticket. I laughed so hard I forgot to hang up, so he’s still on the line, I guess. I’ll tell him no.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(pauses)

(buffers)

(reboots)

I’ll go see him.

CHRISTIAN goes to meet SAM, who is reclining with his FEET on his DESK like the approachable, down-to-earth HARVARD and YALE-EDUCATED CEO that MIDDLE AMERICA once fell in love with.

SAM ROCKWELL

Howdy there, Dick! Take a load off. Care for a plate of smoked rib tips fired at ya from a bird gun? Hoo-ee, I sure do love grits and sweet tea.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

…And I thought Steve’s Rumsfeld was over the top.

SAM ROCKWELL

Lucky me, folks are aware enough of George Bush’s persona that my Yosimite Sam impression feels pretty goshdurn accurate. Want some possum? I can carve ya one if you’d-

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Let me cut you off right there, George. I’m in the private sector now, I have a gay daughter, and even I know I have the charisma of severed bear scrotum. I can’t be your vice president.

SAM ROCKWELL

Sheee-it, vice president! That’s darn-tootin’! Whattaya say, Dick?

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

I don’t think you heard me… I would rather get waterboarded… in one of my own secret prisons… than be on the Titanic that is your campaign.

SAM ROCKWELL

Shoot, son. Is there anything I can do to convince ya?

CHRISTIAN does a quick SCAN of the ROOM straight out of BBC’S SHERLOCK. ADAM MCKAY juxtaposes this with shots of FLY FISHING, because he thinks you are an IDIOT.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Sorry, George. I need some more convincing. How about we do this exact same scene again, just for the hell of it?

They REPEAT THIS SCENE ALMOST VERBATIM except this time they’re EATING BARBECUE instead of TALKING ABOUT EATING IT.

SAM ROCKWELL

So how about now, Dick? Have I convinced you in the past fifteen seconds of screen time?

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Well, George. It’s complicated. I’m thinking of applying Unitary Executive Theory to our administration. Basically-

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

Unitary Executive Theory is where-

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

IT MEANS FUCK YOU I DO WANT I WANT, IT’S NOT THAT COMPLICATED. NOW QUIT INTERRUPTING MY ACTING, BLACK MIRROR.

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

(whimpers in recording booth)

SAM ROCKWELL

Yeah, I like your style, Dick. I think we could use some of that Unitarded Expressionism or whatever in my White House, sure enough.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(pauses)

(thinks)

(thinks s’more)

Okay, then. So I’ll run the country while you give SNL ample fodder for 8 years.

SAM ROCKWELL

(does a prospector dance while firing his revolvers into the air)

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

And that’s how Dick Cheney became God Emperor of the War on Terror. You know the rest. But I guess we’re showing you anyway.

INT. WHITE HOUSE

Having successfully exploited the ELECTORAL COLLEGE and earned the PRESIDENCY despite LOSING THE POPULAR VOTE for what will no doubt be the LAST TIME EVER, CHRISTIAN assembles his team of WHITE GUYS IN SUITS to run the country on his behalf.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Alright, team… now that we’ve been 9/11’d… it’s high time we started sticking our business flags in virgin soil. I see we’ve gathered a montage… of shady military contractors…

The PRIVATE MILITARY LOBBYISTS wave from the snooker table.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

And my oil buddies… always good at a party, haha…

The OIL MEN raise their WINE GLASSES from the JACUZZI in the corner.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

And my good pals, Pestilence and Famine… glad you could join us…

The two gentlemen park their HORSES near the coat rack and grab some PASTRIES from the tray.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

And my old mentor, Rumsfeld… who seems to have become even more Muppetlike in the years since he became my toadie…

STEVE CARRELL

I’m a real actor now!

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

So I think… it’s high time… we started carving Iraq into toast points and dipping it in gravy… I’ve got a plan here to-

TYLER PERRY

Hold up. Iraq? Why are we talking about Iraq? It had fuck all to do with 9/11.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

I’m sorry… what’s Medea doing here…?

TYLER PERRY

I’m Secretary of State Colin Powell. I’m here to act as the adult in the room while all you crackers are off bombing the Middle East into a parking lot. Now, I know we’re all pretty much on board with Afghanistan, but I’m not endorsing invading Iraq. Nuh-uh. No way. Not even slightly gonna-

INT. UNITED NATIONS

TYLER PERRY

We should totally blow up Iraq, guys.

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

So they did. And things worked out great. Cheney got all kinds of backdoor deals from our capitalist overlords, Bush stood on a boat and Accomplished some sort of Mission, the Torturer’s Union got a huge bump in membership fees, and only a few of the survivors of Saddam’s downfall went on to found ISIS. Oh, and Cheney shot some guy in the face. Remember that? Anyway. Things were looking pretty great, right up until they didn’t find any WMD’s in Iraq and the whole pretext for the war was revealed to be a lie.

STEVE CARRELL

Dick! They didn’t find any WMD’s in Iraq! The narrator just said so!

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

It’ll be… alright, Rummy… we’re kicking you out of the administration…

STEVE CARRELL

How is that “alright”?! That’s the OPPOSITE of alright!

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

It’ll be alright because… the loathing I feel as I consume your political lifeforce… will give me the strength I need to withstand this new heart attack I’m having…

STEVE CARRELL

Jesus, how many is that now? Man, you can live a long-ass time with access to good healthcare.

While STEVE fucks off to go regret his greatest crimes, destabilizing the MIDDLE EAST and making WELCOME TO MARWEN, CHRISTIAN returns to the HOSPITAL, having decided this HEART ATTACK is even more HEART ATTACKY than the others.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

Well, family… it looks like it’s my time to die…

AMY ADAMS

I’ll always love you, Dick. I’ll never forget the day you brought me flowers in Saddam’s skull.

ALISON PILL

Thank you for accepting me, dad. Even though your administration was cancer for the LGBT community as a whole, at least I got to be your special queer.

LILY RABE

And I was also here. You have two daughters, remember?

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

…I just wanted you all to know… that even though I haven’t been perfect… I have always tried to-

JESSE PLEMONS V.O.

To this day, Dick Cheney has always said-

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

OKAY, THAT’S IT, TIME TO PUT YOUR FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT.

CHRISTIAN punches into JESSE’S CHEST, removes his BEATING HEART, and INSTALLS IT WITHIN HIMSELF.

FAT CHRISTIAN BALE

(pauses)

(inhales)

(assembles his thoughts)

Much better. Listen, folks. Some biopics are about layered historical figures making complex decisions that change the world. Others are paper-thin hack jobs whiffed out by directors who can’t stop huffing their own Big Shorts. You get two guesses which one this is, and if you guess number one, you get waterboarded. Now, I’m off to collect my Oscar. Enjoy the after credits scene. Because Adam thinks this is a fucking Marvel movie, all of a sudden.

CHRISTIAN waddles towards his PERSONAL TRAINER to get ready for his NEXT FILM where he will portray an ANOREXIC, TRANSGENDER GREYHOUND or something. Who knows? He’ll probably get an OSCAR for that too.

END.

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