Christian Bale Is Bulking Up His Neck to Play Dick Cheney

The actor has packed on the pounds, but is also secretly hitting an L.A. gym to achieve the former vp's shoulders-up profile.
iStock; Paul Best/Getty Images

Much has already been made about shape-shifting actor Christian Bale's latest transformation to play Dick Cheney. At last month's Toronto International Film Festival, the Oscar-winning actor, 43, said he packed on the pounds by mostly eating pies to play the former vice president in Adam McKay's drama Backseat for Annapurna Pictures.

But The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Bale isn't completely ignoring his fitness.

In fact, word is before the film started production (it's now shooting) he had been hitting a local gym in L.A. several times a week to work out with a well-known trainer — but only from the neck up. The source said Bale and his workout buddy have been focused on neck exercises while ignoring anything from the neck down in order to plump up his neck and get it to match his now-fuller body frame. (He also dyed his eyebrows to play the gray-haired politician.)

Though Bale's rep did not provide a comment, one source said he's been working out with celebrity trainer Steve Zim. Body morphing is nothing new for Bale, who is highly regarded (and often rewarded) for how he physically and emotionally disappears into his roles, like he has in such films as The Fighter, The Machinist and American Hustle

Backseat — also starring Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld and Bill Pullman as Nelson Rockefeller — marks a reteaming for Bale with Adam McKay, who directed him in The Big Short, a role that landed him a best supporting actor Oscar nomination. 

A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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