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Adam McKay gave his own heart attack a cameo in Vice

Alfred Hitchcock, M. Night Shyamalan, Peter Jackson, Eli Roth – these are all directors who have made a small cameo is most of, if not all, of their films. Mostly they are just fun little Easter eggs to find, but now director Adam McKay has upped the ante for a director cameo by placing a visual of his own heart attack in his new Dick Cheney movie – VICE. That’s right, the thing that attacked the filmmaker can now have its own IMDb credit.

Now, this tale needs a bit of context, and it all goes back to when McKay suffered a heart attack after VICE wrapped last January. He recounted the tale to Deadline, saying how during the movie he feared something would happen to him, given the fact he had “put on some weight and I was smoking a lot.” After his doctor told him to ease back a bit, McKay pleaded, “don’t let me have a heart attack while I’m doing a movie about Dick Cheney.”

Of course, as fate would have it, the big moment came after they wrapped shooting. However, thanks to the smarts of actor Christian Bale (who plays Cheney in the movie), he was able to act fast and identify the issue before it got worse.

”Sure enough, we finish the movie and I call my trainer. I say, we got to get on it, man. I’m too heavy. Our third workout, I get tingly hands and my stomach starts going queasy. I always thought when you get a heart attack, it’s pain in the chest or the arm. But then I remembered. When we shot one of the heart attack scenes, Christian Bale asked me, ‘how do you want me to do it,’ and I go, ‘what do you mean? It’s a heart attack. Your arm hurts, right?’ He says, ‘no, no. One of the more common ways is that you get really queasy and your stomach hurts.’ I said, ‘really? I’d never heard that before. And right in that moment [when McKay doubled over] I went, ‘oh s*it, and I ran upstairs and downed a bunch of baby aspirin, and I called my wife who immediately called 911. Got to the hospital really fast, and the doctor said, because you did that, no damage was done, your heart is still really strong. That’s because I remembered Christian Bale telling me that. The doctor said, you got to quit smoking, that’s what’s doing this to you. You need to lose weight, but the smoking’s making it four times worse.”

McKay continued, talking about how the doctor showed him an image of his heart attack. It was a black and white photo of a blocked artery, which was then cleaned out with a stent. After seeing the image, McKay asked his doctor, “Can I have a copy of that?”

“I put it in the movie. So my cameo in the movie is my actual heart attack. There is a scene when Cheney is getting all the unfiltered intelligence, and they’re like, ‘sir, this isn’t verified.’ He’s like, ‘no, give it all to me,’ and his paranoia is going through the roof. There’s a shot, it almost looks like an octopus, people don’t quite know what it is. That’s my heart attack! It actually was perfect because it was supposed to be Cheney becoming paranoid, and it was supposed to be all of Cheney’s feelings of mortality and fear. We were going to put a shot in there of a heart, anyway. In fact, I think we had one in there, and I was like, oh my god. I actually had a heart attack. This is actually what he experienced, like this is crazy, and it also looks really creepy and kind of scary, like the black and white of it. At first my editor was like, ‘this is a little morbid. I’m not sure I want to do that.’ I said, ‘it’s a personal movie and I put everything into it.’

Talk about putting your heart into a movie, and McKay is probably the only director who can say he did this literally. As strange and off-putting as that may sound the director said it actually turned out great, and that the footage is a bit surreal and comes at a rather crazy moment in the movie.

“It’s really creepy when you see it in that sequence. We’re pushing in on him, and things are getting crazier. He’s hearing scarier and scarier stuff. You kind of see this squid-like thing, and that’s the footage, and then it goes to hyenas seen through night vision.”

This isn’t much of a spoiler, and now when you see the movie, and some odd, underwater-creature-looking thing flashes onto the screen, you’ll know that was the very serious medical emergency the director experienced and then decided to throw into his movie. The fact he recalled Bale’s knowledge during the event is one cool factoid in of itself, but then add the cameo bit in and this is one hell of a segment during the Blu-ray commentary.

VICE is in theaters December 25.

Source: Deadline

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