In the new movie Vice, Amy Adams plays Lynne Cheney, the wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney and, as portrayed in the movie, a sort of Lady Macbeth to her husband. Early in the film, a young and reckless Cheney (Christian Bale) is pulled over for drunk driving and later read the riot act by his future wife: shape up or she’s not sticking around.
Well, it’s hardly a spoiler to reveal that Cheney does indeed get his act together and Lynne stays, supporting and actively working alongside her husband as his career takes him from a Congressional internship to the Nixon White House to the Ford Administration, where he became Chief of Staff, to a decade-long stint in the House of Representatives, then into the first Bush White House as Secretary of Defense, and then eventually as the most powerful vice president in history under the second Bush.
Lynne is Cheney’s most trusted adviser and confidante along the way, while also raising their two daughters (one of whom was a lesbian, putting the Cheneys at odds with Bush’s stance on gay marriage) and eventually becoming a public figure herself as Second Lady. But in our interview below, Adams tells us that her extensive research gave her more insight into Mrs. Cheney that she ever had before.
“Everything was a surprise,” she says. “I really knew so little about her. I knew she was very outspoken. I knew she didn’t like Eminem — I knew that, because I kind of do like Eminem. So everything was a surprise. I didn’t know how well-educated she was, I didn’t know that she worked inside the government…so she was very accomplished as well, but just in a quieter way.”
Vice, written and directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short), is both a sober reminder of and acidic comment on the dangers of unchecked power and the ways in which people operating from the shadows can change history. In addition to Bale and Adams, Vice also stars Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell.
This article originally ran on Dec. 24, 2018.
Don Kaye is a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist and associate editor of Den of Geek. Other current and past outlets include Syfy, United Stations Radio Networks, Fandango, MSN, RollingStone.com and many more. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @donkaye