Oscar Week: Podtalks with Nominated Best Director Adam McKay on His Filmmaker Philosophy

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CHICAGO – Director Adam McKay has come to the meatiest part of his long and successful career. He began with comedy in TV and film, and was first known for hilarious movies like “Anchorman,” “Talledega Nights,” and “Step Brothers.” Recently, he has moved into more complex filmmaking, like the highly touted (and Oscar nominated for Best Picture and Director) “The Big Short” in 2015, and this year’s “Vice,” nominated again for Best Picture, Best Director and for his Best Original Screenplay.

“Vice” is a biography of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale, also nominated as Best Actor), who used arcane law to maximize his power as “second in command” in the George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) administration, and forever altered foreign policy power and abused the definition of American exceptionalism. McKay used the same cinematic techniques as the “The Big Short” (which was about banking) to explain the intricate power moves that Cheney perpetuated, and the film is a stark lesson in what happens in government while most of us aren’t paying attention.

Adam McKay and Christian Bale (as Dick Cheney) on the Set of ‘Vice’
Photo credit: Annapurna

Adam McKay has roots in Chicago, he was a founding member here of the Uptight Citizens Brigade in 1990, and worked at The Second City on the main stage in 1995. He was hired at “Saturday Night Live” thereafter, and was head writer for three seasons up to 2001. After SNL, he pursued filmmaking in partnership with Will Ferrell, and directed all the films mentioned above, in addition to “The Other Guys,” and “Anchorman 2.” In 2007, he and Ferrell started the “Funny or Die” website, and in 2015 McKay helped to write the final draft screenplay for the first “Ant-Man” film. “Vice” is his seventh feature as director, and he has written or co-written all of the films.

The following Podtalks are published as audio for the first time, as Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com talked to writer, director and comedy creator Adam McKay in 2013 for “Anchorman 2,” and 2015 for “The Big Short.”

In PART ONE in 2013, Adam McKay talks about the world that “Anchorman” came from, and his early days in Chicago formulating his comic style.

In PART TWO 2015, McKay relates meeting Christian Bale of “Vice” for the first time when they collaborated on the “The Big Short,” and the origin of the story telling techniques he used both in “Short” and “Vice.”

”Vice” is available on Blu-Ray/DVD and digital download. See providers for details. The 91st Academy Awards will take place on February 24th, 2019, at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater, and will be broadcast on ABC-TV beginning at 7pm ET/6pm CT.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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