Everyone who follows film knows that Christian Bale gives his all to a role. He is one of the finest method actors working in the business and transports himself into a character in a way few others could, and his latest role in the Dick Cheney biopic Vice is no exception.
While Bale's explosive acting chops are plain to see, his physical transformations for certain characters have also been well-documented. For his role as Dick Cheney, Bale put on over 3 stone in weight, which yet again proved that the Welsh actor was willing to put his role before his physical health. And it makes sense.
A major part of the role requires Bale to become acquainted with the symptoms of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, problems that besieged the deputy president, who eventually underwent heart transplant surgery at 71.
Yet it was Bale's director, Adam McKay, that experienced a major health scare on set.
The ironic incident saw McKay suffer the early onsets of a heart attack. Luckily, actor-turned-on-set doctor Christian Bale was on hand to help.
"We finish the movie and I call my trainer. I say, we got to get on it, man. I'm too heavy," the director recalled to Deadline.
"Our third workout, I get tingly hands and my stomach starts going queasy. I always thought when you get a heart attack, it's pain in the chest or the arm.
"But then I remembered, when we shot one of the heart attack scenes, Christian Bale asked me, 'How do you want me to do it?' And I go, 'What do you mean? It's a heart attack. Your arm hurts, right?'
"He says, 'No, no. One of the more common ways is that you get really queasy and your stomach hurts.' I said, 'Really?' I'd never heard that before.
"And right in that moment [when McKay doubled over] I went, 'Oh shit,' and I ran upstairs and downed a bunch of baby aspirin, and I called my wife who immediately called 911. Got to the hospital really fast, and the doctor said, because you did that, no damage was done, your heart is still really strong.
"That's because I remembered Christian Bale telling me that. The doctor said, you got to quit smoking, that's what's doing this to you. You need to lose weight, but the smoking's making it four times worse.
"I called Christian a week later and said, either you or Dick Cheney just saved my life."
Despite the traumatic ordeal, McKay turned his near-death experience into something positive by using an image of his heart attack in one of the scenes.