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While playing a real person is frequently a solid path to awards consideration, it's a dicey affair as people will scrutinize the performance, closely, comparing it to the real thing. Playing somebody who is still alive can be an even tougher job, because the real person will have the ability to comment on your performance directly. Christian Bale played former Vice President Dick Cheney last year in Adam McKay's Vice, and it seems the real Cheney did tell exactly the actor exactly what he thought of that.
Christian Bale never spoke to Dick Cheney, but Bale recently revealed that a message was passed to him from the former Vice President through a mother whose child went to school with Bale's son. Clearly, based on the comment, Cheney was far from impressed with the fact that Bale played him in the movie. According to the actor...
Strangely enough it was through my son's school, one of the moms was at a party that [Cheney] was at, and she said, 'Oh, I'm going to be seeing Christian tomorrow, you have anything to say to him?' 'And he said, 'Tell him he's a dick.' I went, 'Oh, at least he's got a sense of humor. And she said, 'No, there was no humor to that whatsoever.'
Depending on the tone, it's possible Dick Cheney could have been making a joke. He could have been saying "Tell him he's a Dick" because he was, after all, playing a guy named Dick Cheney. However, according to what Christian Bale tells Yahoo, that was not how Cheney meant it. It was the insult that it sounded like.
Of course, it has to be said that this comment may have come without Dick Cheney actually seeing Vice. Christian Bale can't confirm if Cheney ever saw it, and it's certainly possible that Cheney's comments were independent of the movie itself. If Cheney was angry he was being portrayed in a movie at all, he might have said something like this without having seen it. Christian Bale thanked Satan when we accepted his Golden Globe for playing the role, and depending on when this comment came through, it might have been directed more at Bale himself than the role.
And you don't need to have seen Vice to know that the movie isn't exactly complementary of Dick Cheney either. He's basically portrayed as a puppet master and the real power behind the Bush Presidency. Vice was nominated for several Oscars including Best Actor for Bale and a Best Picture Award. It only went home with one prize, the well deserved Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling for the work that transformed Christian Bale into Dick Cheney.