Given that his most recent film, The Big Short, was met with such impressive critical acclaim – not to mention Academy Award nominations and wins – it is unsurprising that Oscar winning filmmaker Adam McKay is keen to push on with projects that carry more weight than, say, Step Brothers. With that in mind, he has written a new feature length drama script about former U.S Vice President Dick Cheney, and will be directing it for Paramount Pictures.
Following comments from McKay about the project, it seems likely that the film will take a fairly in-depth look at the whole career of Dick Cheney – as opposed to the very limited snapshot of the man that appeared in 2008’s W.
“I’ve always found Cheney fascinating. Questions of what drove him, what his beliefs were; but once we started digging I was astounded at how much he had shaped modern America’s place in the world and how shocking the methods were by which he gained his power.”
That shaping of “modern America’s place in the world” is the result of decades spent in highly influential positions within the Washington establishment. Initially working for Congressman William A. Steiger, Cheney was soon working at the White House with the administrations of both President Nixon, and President Ford – for whom he eventually became Chief Of Staff, working closely with Donald Rumsfeld. From there, Cheney was elected to Congress himself, to represent Wyoming, and he served in that role for 11 years.
With the election of President George H. W. Bush came Cheney’s appointment as Secretary Of Defense – a position from which he oversaw Operation Desert Storm in 1991. His next career move was to become CEO of Halliburton, until Presidential candidate George W. Bush invited him to join his campaign as candidate for Vice President.
It was as Vice President that Dick Cheney cemented his reputation as a ‘war hawk,’ despite never having served in the military due to his receipt of five deferments during the Vietnam War. He advocated for the invasion of Iraq after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and promoted the questionable idea of a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction being created in Iraq. He helped to establish torture protocols for suspected terrorists, and publicly supported his former Chief Of Staff, Lewis Scooter Libby, who was convicted of 4 felonies during an investigation into the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal.
Such a long and distinguished career in politics inevitably brings with it moments of acutely heightened drama, too. The Taliban tried to assassinate Dick Cheney in Afghanistan in 2007, and Cheney himself shot 78 year old Texas attorney Harry Whittington, non-fatally, in the face during a quail hunt in 2006. Dick Cheney was also Acting President for a matter of hours, in both 2002 and 2007, while President George W. Bush underwent medical procedures.
This lengthy narrative lends itself well to a fascinating cinematic exploration of this controversial and legendary public figure – and it is certainly right in the wheelhouse of Adam McKay. It’s reported that the script is complete, and will be sent out to casting agents and their clients shortly, with a view to a spring shoot. Depending entirely upon who is drawn to the roles in this project, we could well be looking at the first frontrunner in the 2018 Oscar race, if this Dick Cheney film manages a late 2017 release.