Director and Oscar nominee Adam McKay talks about the making of ‘Vice’ on 'Popcorn with Peter Travers'

PHOTO: Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney and Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in "Vice."PlayMatt Kennedy/Annapurna Pictures
WATCH Oscar nominee Adam McKay talks the making of 'Vice'

Film director and Oscar nominee Adam McKay has made us laugh with films, such as "Anchorman," "Step Brothers" and "Talladega Nights."

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But his newest film, “Vice,” puts aside the comedy to tell the backstory of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

“I really felt like we all know that he was a powerful vice president,” McKay said in a recent appearance on “Popcorn with Peter Travers. “But the more I read about it, I was just astounded by how much this guy changed history. ... And then I was amazed [at] how he did it.”

PHOTO: Director Adam McKay and actors Steve Carell and Christian Bale on the set of the 2018 film, Vice. Matt Kennedy/Annapurna Pictures
Director Adam McKay and actors Steve Carell and Christian Bale on the set of the 2018 film, "Vice."

McKay brought on actor Christian Bale, who gained more than 40 pounds to play the role of Cheney, McKay said.

“He definitely put on some weight. He definitely transformed,” McKay told Travers.” “It was one of the most breathtaking performances I’ve ever seen in my life.”

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PHOTO: Director Adam McKay appears on Popcorn with Peter Travers at ABC News studios, Dec. 17, 2018, in New York. Jeff Swartz/ABC News
Director Adam McKay appears on "Popcorn with Peter Travers" at ABC News studios, Dec. 17, 2018, in New York.

Travers asked if the Bush-Cheney era was a prelude to the current presidency.

“It could be. And we were shocked at how much it lined up with what is going on now," McKay, 50, told Travers. "Our idea is that we’re living in these times that are so ridiculous and almost beyond comedy. But at the same time so tragic. So we tried to combine both. We tried to have a movie that was tragic, heartbreaking, but also absurd and sort of falling over itself, kind of like the times that we live in now.”

McKay said the film also delves into how Cheney’s wife played a pivotal role in setting his path for the future.

PHOTO: Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney and Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice. Matt Kennedy/Annapurna Pictures
Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney and Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in "Vice."

“He got DUI’s and he was messing up his life. And it was really Lynne Cheney who kind of set him straight," McKay said. "If you want to look at the first act of Dick Cheney’s life, it’s really Lynne Cheney, a kind of whipsmart, really ambitious, strong, strong woman from Wyoming who said, ‘Get your act together.’ And that’s kind of what changed him.”

"I really believe that we all kind of do the best we can," he added. "And it's how that road gets twisty and turny that's the story."

"Vice" can be seen in theaters everywhere.

Watch the full interview with Peter Travers and Adam McKay in the video above.