Christian Bale doubts whether he can put his body through another gruelling physical ordeal for a film role.
The British actor piled on the pounds to play controversial US politician Dick Cheney in Vice, in which he stars alongside Steve Carell and Amy Adams.
Bale is known for going to extreme lengths for different roles, undergoing drastic weight loss to play an insomniac in The Machinist and bulking up to play Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy.
For his latest role as President George Bush’s vice president, Bale, 44, reportedly ballooned by 40lbs and used a combination of make-up, prosthetics and wigs to pull off the look.
But he does not think he would be able to push himself through it for another role.
Speaking at the Vice premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday, he said: “Everything hurts now, I’ve got to really start thinking about if I can manage this again and the answer is probably no.”
Cheney, a politician and businessman, is often cited as the most powerful vice president in history. The role is usually ceremonial but Cheney wielded significant power within the Bush administration.
He played a key role in the White House’s response to the September 11 attacks and the ensuing war on terror.
Bale carried out extensive research on Cheney while preparing for the role and said he was surprised by aspects of his character and suggested he would never have pursued a career in politics if it was not for his wife, Lynne.
He said: “He was a wonderful family man, he was a great dad, he was an avid reader, he has a brain like a vice, he constantly reads history, he was a very laidback youth, he would have been very happy to be a lineman in Wyoming if he hadn’t met Lynne, who said no, that doesn’t cut it, you need some ambition.
“What would have been if they hadn’t met?”
Bale hopes the former vice president will find something to enjoy in the film.
He said: “Hopefully he’ll certainly find it entertaining, at the very least. He’s very thick-skinned, he has no remorse or regrets about what he’s done, he always says I’d do it again in a minute.
“He doesn’t back down. He doesn’t apologise about anything so I think he’s a thick-skinned guy and I’d love to hear his thoughts. He’s a very intelligent individual, no matter what your thoughts are about him.”
Vice, written and directed by Adam McKay, stars Carell as former US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld, Adams as Cheney’s wife, Lynne, and Sam Rockwell as President Bush.
McKay, who worked with Bale on 2015’s The Big Short, which examined the 2007 financial crisis, hopes the film can help reevaluate the Bush administration’s legacy.
He said: “I feel there’s an open debate right now in the United States, there’s a lot of confusion about where we are, how did we get here.
“With this movie, first and foremost, it’s a character portrait and brilliantly done by Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell and everyone.
“But second off, it reminds us, we went through this. There’s nothing very debatable about it, it all happened. And it’s going to be funny to see some people want to debate it, but it happened.
“I just feel like we all need to have a sure footing about how we got here through history.”
Vice is set to be released in UK cinemas in January.