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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Dick Cheney's many heart attacks indirectly saved Adam McKay's life

Illustration for article titled Dick Cheney's many heart attacks indirectly saved Adam McKay's life
Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty Images)

Dick Cheney suffered at least five heart attacks before a dark ritual granted him a new heart that had yet to be spoiled by a lifetime of evil, and with Adam McKay directing a movie about Cheney—Vice, starring Christian Bale—he naturally had to film a number of scenes about Cheney having a heart attack (so many scenes that he had to cut one, apparently). As it turns out, those many, many heart attack scenes actually helped save McKay’s life when he had a heart attack of his own after filming on Vice wrapped.

McKay told Deadline that he had “put on some weight” and was “smoking a lot” due to the stress of making Vice, so once he finished filming, he began working out with his trainer. On his third workout, he says he got tingly hands and his stomach started feeling queasy, which he recognized as possible signs of a heart attack because those were the exact symptoms that Christian Bale utilized in his first heart attack scene as Dick Cheney. McKay managed to get to a hospital before any serious damage was done to his heart, and he says it was all because he remembered Christian Bale telling him during the scene that some people get queasy when they have a heart attack. He even notes that he called Bale a week later and told him “either you or Dick Cheney just saved my life,” which is a thing that nobody has ever said before.

The fun heart attack story doesn’t end there, though. McKay recognized the irony of having a heart attack while making a Dick Cheney movie, so he slipped an image of his actual blocked heart into a scene in Vice where Cheney is having a paranoid freakout about the pressures of manipulating the president and scamming the country into a bullshit war with Iraq. He notes that it looks “really creepy and kind of scary” in the scene, and even though his editor warned him that it was “a little morbid,” he said they paired it with “hyenas seen through night vision” and that it turned out “amazing.”


So yeah, Cheney indirectly saved McKay’s life and made one scene in the movie a little better. Let’s all just be thankful that the inspiration McKay took from Cheney had to do with heart attacks and not hunting.

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