April 6, 2017

Does anyone want to see a biopic about Dick Cheney? And can you picture Christian Bale in the role?

Apparently, this is something Hollywood is attempting to do.
Mr. Bale, 43, is a three-time Oscar nominee and a one-time winner (for his crack-addled boxer in “The Fighter”), but he is best known for playing Batman in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy.
And Dick Cheney has been called "The Dark Knight":

1. "Cheney is the Dark Knight." ("I loved The Dark Knight.... And Christian Bale plays an excellent Batman.... But its message was deeply statist, and the movie really reflects the sort of fear that scares Americans most, post-9/11.... This fantasy is precisely the Cheney/Bush approach to fighting the war on terror. The Bush administration couldn't find better cultural-ideological support for this approach than The Dark Knight and its chaos-driven bad guy and its omnipotent hero.")

2. "Dick Cheney is the Dark Knight." ("The Dark Knight, however, is conservative fantasy – someone who cuts through the red tape and throws bad guys off of balconies.")

3. "The Dark Knight: An Allegory of America in the Age of Bush?" ("Batman is a vigilante who works outside the law in order to combat crime; operating in the dark policy corridors to which Vice-President Dick Cheney alluded in speeches following 9/11.")

4. "Dark Knight: Former Vice President Cheney in the Global War on Terror." ("In a world of suicide bombers, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), covert financial sponsors, and enemies unconstrained by the laws of armed conflict, Cheney emerged as the man in the shadows who would do whatever he deemed necessary to address these threats. The power he acquired, however, and its implications for the future of a democratic society, caused many Americans to fear a greater potential threat from within.")

5. "The Dark Knight Turns Out to Be a Dick Cheney Fantasy." ("But as the film reached its climactic denouement, I found myself getting more and more perturbed at its underlying message, which seemed straight from the office of the Vice President.")

Quite aside from the specific connection to Batman/The Dark Knight, Cheney has been relentlessly characterized as "dark":

1. A NYRB review of 3 books about Cheney is titled "In the Darkness of Dick Cheney." ("[S]ecret power. Untrammeled power. Hard power. The power behind POTUS. The Dark Side.")

2. Just last November, Steve Bannon said: "Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they (liberals) get it wrong. When they're blind to who we are and what we're doing."

And I don't know what Dick Cheney thinks of the comparison to The Dark Knight, but "Dick Cheney embraces the Darth Vader meme":
While attending his granddaughter’s high school rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, Cheney showed reporters a trailer-hitch cover in the shape of the infamous “Star Wars” villain. “I’m rather proud of that,” he told them with a smile....

President George W. Bush also cracked a joke about it during Halloween season in 2007 while he was still in office. ”This morning I was with the vice president... I was asking him what costume he was planning. He said, ‘Well, I’m already wearing it.’ Then he mumbled something about the dark side of the force.” That same year Cheney said, “I’ve been asked if that nickname bothers me, and the answer is, no. After all, Darth Vader is one of the nicer things I’ve been called recently.”

50 comments:

Fernandinande said...

I'd like to see Dick Cheney as Batman and Obama as the Boy Wonder.

Michael K said...

Cheney still lives in the heads of the left.

I have the highest possible regard for him and his career is amazing.

His good humor about leftist idiots is another endearing characteristic.

traditionalguy said...

How about 3:10 to Yuma with Russell Crowe as Bannon and Jared as the son. Bale has to play Trump... but play Trump as an incompetent farmer and not as Hitler.

Roughcoat said...

I agree, Michael K.

Dave D said...

I never got the "Darth Cheney" thing. Every time I hear him talk, I think that it would be GREAT to have a beer with him and hear some insider stuff. OTOH, the lefty hate machine has taught me to severely mistrust anyone on their side of the aisle. I learned it from them!

Fernandinande said...

And Harry Whittington as one of the super-villains.

rcocean said...

Are they going to show Dick Cheney having his annual heart attack every August?

eric said...

Darth Vader turns out to be a good guy in the end.

rcocean said...

Dick Chenny = evil mastermind. He ate NYT reporters for lunch.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Does biopic rhyme with myopic? just asking.

tcrosse said...

They might as well do a Buddy Movie about Cheney and Rumsfeld while they're at it.

BudBrown said...

Funny thing I recall about Cheney is watching TV at a friends house in 2000 there was
some short video of Cheney walking around and my friend's 7 year old son's question was "why is he so old."

Ron said...

"I'm like a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it."

-- The Joker, AKA, the MSM

rhhardin said...

I don't get Batman, but Dark Knight Rises had a single good scene at the end.

mccullough said...

The Dark Knight wasn't statist. Bruce Wayne built the system using his company and Batman wasn't the police. The police and local government were corrupt or ineffective, except for Jim Gordon who circumvented police procedure.

Spectre was an excellent movie about the dangers of statism and technology. And 007 and M also acted outside normal government channels because, like the Dark Knight, the government itself was corrupt.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Cheney can't be Batman.

Batman had a strict policy of not shooting people...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I don't know about The Dark Knight being statist.

But the third movie certainly understood socialism.

Catwoman, at a house-trashing party, sadly: This used to be somebody's house.
Her Friend, cheerfully: Now it's everybody's house.

Scott M said...

People want to see a biopic of Dick Chaney about as much as they want to see a dramatized version of the Obamas' first date.

Scott M said...

I don't know about The Dark Knight being statist, but the third movie certainly understood socialism.

I was actually surprised that it did such a good job of showing that.

Ann Althouse said...

"I never got the "Darth Cheney" thing. Every time I hear him talk, I think that it would be GREAT to have a beer with him and hear some insider stuff."

Me too. I remember watching the VP debate in 2000, having no interest in him and completely planning to vote for Gore/Lieberman. I liked him so much I considered voting voting for Bush/Cheney. In the end I didn't (not in 2000), but it amazed me that Cheney had that effect on me, especially since I was predisposed to like Lieberman and his manner and style came across, to me, as distinctly worse than Cheney's, even though Lieberman had seemed to be a warm, nice person.

J. Farmer said...

Wasn't it Richard Perle who had acquired the nickname "Prince of Darkness" back in the Reagan administration?

YoungHegelian said...

Hollywood will follow its lefty dogmas off both the financial & the artistic cliff every time. Some folks will say "Hollywood's a business. It's all about the bottom line.".

Well, no, it isn't. During the Bush years, Hollywood made 13 anti-Iraq war movies. If more than two of them made any profit I'd be amazed. Redacted, a big budget film directed by Brian DePalma, made only $65,000 in the US, making it one huge mega-flop.

Hollywood will make this film, it'll flop, & the creative team behind it will feel that they bought themselves a plenary indulgence by speaking truth to power.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's what Cheney said answering the first question, which made such an impression on me that I still think about it, 17 years later. The question was "Why do you... predict surpluses you cannot possibly guarantee to pay for your proposed programs?"

"I think this is an extraordinarily important decision we'll make on November 7th. We're really going to choose between what I consider to be an old way of governing ourselves of high levels of spending, high taxes, ever more intrusive bureaucracy or a new course, a new era, if you will. And Governor Bush and I want to offer that new course of action. With respect to the surplus, Bernie, we have to make some kind of forecast. We can't make 12-month decisions in this business. We're talking about the kinds of fundamental changes in programs and government that are going to affect people's lives for the next 25 or 30 years. And while it may be a little risky in some respects from an economic standpoint to try to forecast surpluses, I think we have to make some planning assumption to proceed. We care a great deal about the issues at stake here. One of the difficulties we have, frankly, for the last eight years we ignored a lot of these problems. We haven't moved aggressively on Social Security, on Medicare. There are important issues out there that need to be resolved. It's important for us to get on with that business. That's what Governor Bush and I want to do."

That might seem completely bland, but that's what I like about it. Straightforward. Saying we had to choose between 2 ways of governing. For contrast, here's what Lieberman had just said and notice how un-straightforward it is and how it's loaded with preliminary fluff as if he's running out the clock and preemptively accusing Cheney of negativity:

"Before I answer that very important question, let me first thank you for moderating the debate. Let me thank the wonderful people here at Centre College and throughout Kentucky for being such gracious hosts, and let me give a special thank you to the people of Connecticut without whose support over these last 30 years I would never have had the opportunity Al Gore has given me this year. And finally let me thank my family that is here with me. My wife, Hadassah, our children, our siblings and my mom. My 85-year-old mom gave me some good advice about the debate earlier today. She said, sweetheart -- as she's prone to call me -- remember, be positive and know that I will love you no matter what you're opponent says about you. Well, Mom, as always, that was both reassuring and wise. I am going to be positive tonight. I'm not going to indulge in negative personal attacks. I'm going to talk about the issues that matter to the people of this country; education, health care, retirement security and moral values. I'm going to describe the plan that Al Gore and I have for keeping America's prosperity going and making sure that it benefits more of America's families, particularly the hard-working middle class families who have not yet fully benefitted from the good times we've had. And Bernie, I'm going to explain tonight how we're going to do all this and remain fiscally responsible. Let me get to your question. We're not spending any more than is projected by the experts, unlike our opponents. We're setting aside $300 billion in a reserve fund in case the projections the nonpartisan experts make aren't quite right. ["You have about ten seconds."] We understand that balancing the budget, keeping America out of debt is a way to keep interest rates down and the economy growing."

J. Farmer said...

@YoungHegelian:

Well, no, it isn't. During the Bush years, Hollywood made 13 anti-Iraq war movies. If more than two of them made any profit I'd be amazed. Redacted, a big budget film directed by Brian DePalma, made only $65,000 in the US, making it one huge mega-flop.

Well, it is still a business. I think the majority of productions fail to turn any profit, while the studios rely on one or two big hits a year to stay in the black.

JAORE said...

The best thing about the movie? If you are one of the ones wanting to see it, the lines will be short, very short.

Michael K said...

Cheney and Bush had good plans that did not survive 9/11.

Clinton left Bush with a recession and the terror threat, both of which had been ignored while Clinton dallied with Monica, then survived impeachment.

Michael K said...

" the studios rely on one or two big hits a year to stay in the black."

The studios increasingly rely on foreign sales to break even and anti-Americanism sells in third world hell holes.

Dave D said...

"especially since I was predisposed to like Lieberman and his manner and style came across, to me, as distinctly worse than Cheney's, even though Lieberman had seemed to be a warm, nice person."

I like Lieberman as well. He was much warmer and "human" than AlGore. Not enough to consider voting for AlGore, though, for heaven's sake!

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

The studios increasingly rely on foreign sales to break even and anti-Americanism sells in third world hell holes.

Hmm...I don't think "third world hell holes" are a tremendous source of ticket sales. Anti-Americanism may play well to the European art house crowd, but I think most foreign countries want to see action and superheroes, not discourses on the American political system, of which most could not care less.

Bob Boyd said...

The abundunce of Dark Knight Cheney examples says more about the media narrative machine than it does about Dick Cheney.
They tried the "Dark" meme on Trump for while, remember?

J. Farmer said...

@Bob Boyd:

The abundunce of Dark Knight Cheney examples says more about the media narrative machine than it does about Dick Cheney.

The media narrative surrounding Bush and Trump are actually quite similar. According to the narrative, Bush was a childish buffoon in over his head more interested in cutting wood in Crawford than being President, while Cheney was the sinister, shadow force who really controlled the White House. They've just swapped Trump for Bush and Bannon (or occasionally Miller) for Cheney. An affable midwesterner like Pence would've never fit the mold.

tim in vermont said...

All art must serve The Party. But it's Republicans they call fascist.

I wonder if they will include a subplot about his meetings with energy executives and our current status as a net exporter of energy and our drop in CO2 and mercury emissions due to switching to fracked natural gas? Naah! That was pure eeevil! Look at how they ratcheted up prices! Oh... wait.

tim in vermont said...

I have switched to the '90s for my media. Just finished all ten seasons of Friends. It became a slog at the end, but I made it! Still think Rachel and Ross should have kept that rent-controlled apartment at the end though.

I am just starting Infinite Jest, (1996) and it is great so far. I think I missed the '90s when it was actually happening, but I really sick of media that is owned by people who made their billions doing something else, then bought the companies to push their personal political agendas. It was better when they were nakedly and purely out to make buck.

Mr. Majestyk said...

Who DOESN'T want to see a biopic of Dick Cheney? That's the question!

Michael K said...

China seems to be the source of the most ticket sales but I am sure there are other places in the total. Those numbers are one weekend. I don't know how that applies to Muslim countries.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I still find it hilarious--Dick Cheney was the old fogey, the solid, dependable, seasoned government professional with the practical streak and the solid grounding as far as everyone in the Media and DC was concerned riiiight up until he became GWB's running mate. Then, POOF! A crazy zealot, a hardliner, an extremist, a dark force. They couldn't call him stupid or unhinged (his calm debate victory over Lieberman and his dominance of Edwards were impossible to ignore) so they went with nefarious and dark. I guess that's not "othering," though.
Anyone else remember the myriad jokes about Cheney's health/health problems, or all the Leftist prayers for his death? I do. I guess that's not "eliminationist rhetoric," though.

Anyway, make whatever movies you want. They made a movie depicting Dan Rather's document fiasco as some sort of noble truth-telling martyrdom, and did just about the same with a movie about the Plames, so what the hell?

William said...

Years ago I saw Sunrise at Campobello. It was supposed to be a dramatization of the marriage of Eleanor and FDR. Greer Garson played the role of Eleanor. It had that level of verisimilitude throughout.......I'm surprised they're thinking of Christian Bale. I guess Danny Devito, their preferred choice, has no box office pull.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

China seems to be the source of the most ticket sales but I am sure there are other places in the total.

Yes, the growing importance of China as a source of film revenue has been well commented on for years now. Hence the churning out of big budget effect-laden superhero movies that don't require a lot of complicated subtitling. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that a Dick Cheney biopic would generate about zero interest in the typical Chinese cinema goer.


p.s. Every single time I see your profile pic, I think I'm looking at a pic of Martin Mull. Have you ever gotten that before? (just curious)

Michael K said...

Don't know who that is. Somebody (probably Ritmo) complained about my previous avatar because I had a bow tie on. This one is my daughter's favorite photo of me. Taken years ago sailing. I hadn't shaved in a week. In the reflection in the sun glasses, you could see my boat. That's the larger version.

J. Farmer said...

I agree it's a great photo. Martin Mull is a comedian and actor.

rehajm said...

A biopic about Cheney could be compelling. A revisionist Hollywood hatchet job is probably what we'll get.

mockturtle said...

Actually, I would want to see a biopic of Cheney if it was done honestly. But after the Hollywood hatchet job done on Margaret Thatcher, I'll never watch another biopic.

Kate said...

I don't understand. What would be the plot? Cheney hasn't done anything climactic. That sounds like a punch line, but really. He's the best kind of civil servant: his life isn't story material.

But if they must, Bale has a weird upper lip, kind of like Cheney's, and he's one hell of a mouth breather.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

After Steve Bannon is executed for his treasonous affiliation with Bekah over Ivanka, Christian Bale can play him in the movie, Bannon of a Hundred Days.

Michael K said...

"He's the best kind of civil servant: his life isn't story material."

His life is a great story but you are right. Nothing has gone wrong for him but his heart, He and Lynn were high school sweethearts.

Flunked out of Yale because he was a country kid. Got his degree from U of Wyoming, which made a political career possible.

Asked Rumsfeld for an intern job when he was working on his PhD.

Ended up the youngest White House Chief of Staff ever.

Ran Ford's campaign against Reagan.

Went home to Wyoming when Ford lost. Elected to the House from Wyoming.

Wanted to be Speaker but was asked by Bush to be Sec Defense.

JackOfClubs said...

I thought Dick Cheney was Yoda not Darth Vader. Can't really see Christian Bale in the role. Ed Asner would have been perfect. Maybe Gene Hackman?

Penny Bonnar said...

Cheney was my congressman when I lived in Wyoming. Took my 8th-grade son to meet him at one of his regular "meet with the locals" events in our town (pop. 3,000). (Son told him he wanted his job someday--not gonna happen!) Then I was lucky enough to cover his commencement speech at one of Wyoming's many small-town high schools--maybe 50 grads in the class? And interview him for a few minutes after the speech, which I remember as a warm, friendly, down-home kind of speech. He was secretary of defense at the time. I admired him greatly (and voted for him). Like lots of boys in the state, including my own sons, he spent some time working oil rigs in his college years, I believe. One thing about Wyoming that people who don't live there don't get is that the politicos are accessible. They all make the rounds of the small towns, attend local rodeos and barbecues at fair time--sure, it's all about winning an election, but it's about politics being local and personal there. Of the state's current senators, Barrasso wrote weekly articles for all the community newspapers in the state for years as a doctor, and Enzi was our chamber banquet guest speaker one year. My kids met their governors, senators, congressmen, state pols, local office holders--it was a natural thing to do. As a native Chicagoan, I can honestly say that I never met any of my elected officials. In fact,the closest I ever came to my alderman was the key chains he donated to our block parties. I'd love to see a biopic of Cheney, but not one done by Hollywood.

TBlakely said...

The left are masters of projection. Since they are deeply delusional they feel that conservatives must be even more delusional. That's why the left comes up with these weird beliefs of what conservatives believe/fantasize about. It's like they are yelling at a mirror and not realizing that the frothing image is themselves.

bcorig said...

He was smarter than most all those he encountered in the Press, the Executive and Congress. That's why they converted their fear into hate.

rykscoogan said...

I'm sorry I can't post the picture here, but one of my favorite memes of the Bush/Cheney era was "10 ways Dick Cheney can kill you." I thought it was so funny and had it posted on the fridge for years.