With almost every film that he makes, Christian Bale is proving himself to be this generation’s Robert De Niro, truly transforming himself in any way that the part demands, whether it’s becoming anorexic for The Machinist, buffing up to play the Dark Knight in Batman Begins or, now, truly making himself over in the image of former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney in Vice.

The film, which comes from writer-director Adam McKay (The Big Short), is described by Wikipedia as a comedy drama that is supposed to follow Cheney “in his political rise to become the most powerful Vice President in America’s history.” Besides Christian, it also stars Amy Adams (a five-time Academy Award nominee) as Dick’s wife, Lynne; Steve Carrell as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Pullman as Nelson Rockefeller, and Sam Rockwell (winner of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), who, like Christian, is uncanny in his portrayal of former president George W. Bush. 

In an interview with Esquire, Christian was asked about his approach to acting in general, and offered, “So often I’ll have a character and I might be basing it on somebody I know, or a few different people, or there might be something I’m reading and I’m seeing it all together with all that, but it’s still my creation, right? And so I’m putting this person together and I’m doing these mannerisms, and it’s very easy to tear apart any of those mannerisms. The director can very quickly go, ‘Why are you doing that? I don’t want it.’ Then, when it’s a real person and they’re even more outlandish, when they go, ‘I don’t like that’, you go, ‘Hey, Dicky, can you come over here for a second, mate? Are you really not going to tell me to do that now?’ I called up my proof. Then the director had to concede: ‘You got me. I surrender. Go and do your thing…'”

Vice opens Dec. 25.