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‘Vice’ Director Adam McKay Says Dick Cheney ‘Way Worse’ Than Trump, and Trump Is a ‘Maniac With a Meat Cleaver’

McKay's awards contender 'Vice' opens this Christmas from Annapurna Pictures.

Christian Bale, "Vice"

Christian Bale in “Vice”

Greig Fraser/Annapurna Pictures

What’s worse than a maniac with a meat cleaver? Dick Cheney, at least according to “Vice” writer-director Adam McKay. The filmmaker recently spoke to Maureen Dowd of The New York Times ahead of the December release of his Cheney biopic, and he didn’t need a lot of time to think of an answer when asked which political figure is the lesser of two evils: Donald Trump or Dick Cheney?

“Here’s the question,” McKay said. “Would you rather have a professional assassin after you or a frothing maniac with a meat cleaver? I’d rather have a maniac with a meat cleaver after me, so I think Cheney is way worse. And also, if you look at the body count, more than 600,000 people died in Iraq. It’s not even close, right?”

“Vice” stars Christian Bale as Cheney and tracks his manipulative rise into becoming one of the most prominent vice presidents in American history. Dowd screened the movie before speaking with McKay, and she writes for The Times that “Vice” asks a fundamental question in the wake of Trump’s presidency: “Is insidious destruction of our democracy by a bureaucratic samurai with the soothing voice of a boys’ school headmaster even more dangerous than a self-destructive buffoon ripping up our values in plain sight?”

McKay clearly believes Cheney’s controlled chaos was far more damaging to America than what Trump’s behavior is causing now. “Vice” is set to explain why that is, as Dowd says McKay’s script explores “the irreparable damage Cheney did to the planet, and how his blunders and plunders led to many of our current crises” long before Trump became Commander in Chief.

“Vice” is McKay’s first directorial effort since “The Big Short” won him the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. McKay was also nominated for Best Director, while the film picked up additional noms for Best Editing, Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actor for Christian Bale. Given the success of “The Big Short,” expectations are high for McKay and Bale’s follow-up. Dowd did not review the film, but she did mention Bale “brilliantly shape-shifts into another American psycho,” while Amy Adams “commandingly portrays” Lynne Cheney. The supporting cast includes Sam Rockwell as George Bush and Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld.

Annapurna will release “Vice” in theaters Christmas day. Head over to The New York Times to read Dowd’s advanced preview of the film in its entirety.

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