Adam McKay Explains Why He Cut a Big Musical Number from ‘Vice’

     December 20, 2018

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Vice, the satirical film about the life of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is a pretty insane movie. But it was nearly even crazier. This is to be expected given that Vice was written and directed by Adam McKay, the guy who gave us a comedy classic in Step Brothers and then turned around and crafted a phenomenally compelling drama about the U.S. housing crisis in The Big Short, for which he won an Oscar. But while Vice has its Big Short-esque outlandish moments, it almost went one further with a full-on musical number.

Yes indeed, rumors have been buzzing that during the test screening phase, some audiences saw a musical number in the middle of the film—which stars Christian Bale as Cheney, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, and a host of familiar faces as other noteworthy figures from the Bush Administration. Speaking with Variety, McKay confirmed its existence and said the musical number would have come in early in the film, when Cheney is working under Rumsfeld in the White House:

“I couldn’t get that one to work. It was kind of when Rumsfeld is teaching Cheney about Washington D.C. and how to get ahead. It’s sort of like ‘neither a borrower nor a lender be,’ he’s kind of giving him that speech. But the speech is about, ‘Who cares about anything? You’ve got to just get ahead of people, making your moves.’ I think there was a line in it, ‘The means justify the ends,’ which I always loved.”

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Image via Annapurna Pictures

McKay says he tried to move the musical number around, but it just didn’t fit:

It’s breathtaking. It’s incredible. And it just didn’t work. You didn’t need it. It was too long in that area of the movie. We tried 15 versions of it. We moved it here, we moved it there. We played it really short. We played it way longer and put scenes in the middle of it. We tried every single thing you could do. The only reason it doesn’t pain me at this moment is because I know we tried everything we could do. You’re in the editing room and you’re like, ‘This is amazing. This is going to work.’ And you just forget the movie tells you what it wants.”

And it wasn’t like they short-changed the actual song. It was written by composer Nicholas Britell and had Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard on vocals, with Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler blocking out the sequence.

Fortunately for us, McKay tells Variety he plans on including this musical number and other deleted material on the Blu-ray. Cause yeah, I’m gonna need to see that.

Vice hits theaters on Christmas Day. Click here to read Matt’s review of the complicated film.

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