Vice star Christian Bale has said Donald Trump is a “clown” who does not understand how government works.
Bale earned a best actor nomination earlier this week for his portrayal of controversial former US vice president Dick Cheney, an instrumental figure in the country’s foreign policy decisions post-9/11.
Bale, who under went a drastic transformation to play Cheney, said he and Vice director Adam McKay had no interest in painting the politician in a purely bad light, “because we’re not children who think that monsters look like monsters. Monsters don’t look like monsters”.
And he discussed the differences between Cheney and Mr Trump, insisting the current occupant of the White House is the less dangerous of the two.
Bale told the Press Association: “He’s (Trump) bombastic, he’s loud. Cheney was quiet and secretive and far more capable, far more brilliant.
“In terms of their ability to understand government, there’s no comparison. Trump doesn’t understand it, Cheney did, that’s what made him so powerful, these decades within the government.
“Whereas Trump is sort of a clown by comparison. Clowns can do a lot of damage but fingers crossed in the next two years that doesn’t happen.”
Bale added: “But I would say because of his enormous ego, Trump is actually far less dangerous – providing he doesn’t go bloody pushing the button – than Cheney.”
Cheney is portrayed in the film as the most powerful vice president in US history, whose influence in the War On Terror following the September 11 attacks in New York had dire consequences for American soldiers, Iraqi civilians and the world at large.
The film was categorised as a comedy at the Golden Globes, however Bale prefers to class it as a tragedy.
He said: “It is bloody funny in places but in an absurdist, ridiculous manner. And in a way that makes it more possible to look at tragedy because you look at it through the lens of some comedy.
“And people say comedy is tragedy plus time and that applies so well to this. But also understanding that many of the people that are making decisions that change the nation’s lives, the global life, the trajectory that the world is on, are often quite ridiculous individuals, very dubious people who you might sit in a room with and think, ‘How on Earth did we put faith in this person to actually run the country?’.
“It’s absurdist, it’s satirical but it’s very emotional as well. I find the film really poignant, there’s something about it that talks to the human condition and being a family, and being a nation, that goes beyond Dick Cheney.”
Vice is nominated for best picture at the upcoming Academy Awards, one of eight nods including supporting actor and actress nominations for Bale’s co-stars Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell.
McKay is also up best director and original screenplay while the film has been recognised for its editing and makeup.
Bale, already an Oscar winner for 2010’s The Fighter, said being nominated for best actor was “delightful” but the main reward comes from making the film.
He said: “It makes it worth it just doing it. Because you get no guarantee as an actor that the film is going to end up being a great film, it’s always a gamble.
“It’s a good gamble when you’re dealing with Adam McKay and a great script and a great cast, everything is kind of being handed to you on a silver platter, it’s really mine to mess up. Then you’ve got Hank Corwin editing, it was an incredible combination of people.”
Bale, 44, added: “In my mind the whole point of it is get a kick, get satisfaction out of the day-to-day work. It’s gravy and wonderful gravy if the film ends up really being what you hoped or even somewhere close to what you hoped.”
Bale was born in Wales but now holds US citizenship. He said the Brexit vote was a “mirror image” of Mr Trump’s 2016 election and both left his jaw “on the ground”.
Bale said he saw “fertile ground” for drama in the Brexit situation, adding: “Definitely a good film could come out of that.”
Vice is out in UK cinemas on Friday January 25.
- Press Association