With a contentious election barely behind us, Hollywood may well tap into the nerviness of our fractured political environment with a major bite. One such project, first reported over at Deadline, is particularly eye-catching. The Big Short director Adam McKay appears set to direct a currently untitled biopic of controversial former Vice President Dick Cheney. The film is set up at Paramount with Plan B (Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner) as well as McKay’s Gary Sanchez shingle producing the title.
According to Deadline, McKay has been quietly working a screenplay for his Cheney opus since winning the Academy Award for penning last year’s economic crisis panic attack The Big Short. The thinking currently is that the screenplay will be sent out to talent shortly with a early spring production start date desired and the hopes of the late 2017 release. As of now, it doesn’t appear clear as to whether the film will focus solely on Cheney’s tenure as George W. Bush’s number 2 or his entire life story. Interestingly, this would mark the second time that the Bush Administration played into a major Hollywood production, following Oliver Stone‘s 2008 take that starred Josh Brolin and featured Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss as Cheney.
Whatever the focus, there’s clearly tons of material when it comes to Cheney’s complicated story. Before becoming VP, Cheney served in the the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerard Ford as well as George H.W. Bush before becoming the chairman/CEO of Haliburton, a post he served before joining the George W. Bush ticket in 2000, an infamously contentious election in its own right. On terms of policy, Cheney was also a polarizing figure due to his hawkish leanings and considerable perceived impact he may have had on Bush’s tenure as Commander-in-Chief. He also held surprisingly progressive tendencies particularly on terms of marriage equality. “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.”
The film marks a further genesis in McKay’s career. The former Saturday Night Live writer transitioned successfully into films beginning with successful broad comedies like Anchorman and Talladega Nights and Step Brothers before expanding last year with the headier, more serious The Big Short. Aside from the Cheney bio, McKay has another hot-button project in the pipeline – Bad Blood, a docu-drama set to star Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence as controversial Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. Bad Blood appears likely to get in front of cameras following the Dick Cheney film and will come as well with a script credited to McKay; Legendary Pictures is producing that title and Universal is distributing.
The next logical question becomes: who will be eyed to play Dick Cheney? Watch this space.