Sam Rockwell (Matchstick Men, Iron Man 2) is one of the best actors working today so any role he takes on is worth taking a look at. But this latest news is particularly interesting. The 48-year-old actor is reportedly in final negotiations to play former president George W. Bush in the upcoming Dick Cheney biopic, simply titled Cheney, which is to be directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short).
The news comes courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter who state that Sam Rockwell is going to play the infamous president in Cheney, who was in office during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and led us into war with Afganastan and the much more controversial Iraq war. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) has already signed on to play Dick Cheney in the movie, which looks to start filming next month. The cast of the movie also includes Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Amy Adams (Arrival) as Cheney's wife, Lynne. Bill Pullman (Independence Day)is also confirmed to be in the movie, though his role has not yet been revealed.
Cheney doesn't yet have a release date, but the movie is said to tell "a story that chronicles Cheney avoiding military service in the Vietnam War, his rise to CEO of the multinational corporation Halliburton and finally becoming what some have called the most powerful U.S. vice president ever to hold office." Even though the movie is about Dick Cheney, George W. Bush is going to be a huge figure within that story and having an actor like Sam Rockwell playing him should help bring some more attention to an already high-profile project. Rockwell has never been nominated for an Academy Award, but his work in movies like Moon have proved he is an actor that can perform on that level. A role like this definitely seems like the kind of thing that could have Oscar potential all over it.
This is not the first time since George W. Bush vacated the White House that a movie has been made that will feature him prominently. Josh Brolin portrayed the former president in Oliver Stone's W, which was released in 2008 but didn't fare overly well with critics. Hopefully, Adam McKay can do something a little more universally praised with Cheney. He certainly has the talent on board to make it happen.
Annapurna Pictures has not yet set a release date for Cheney, but with the cast Adam McKay has assembled and with the intriguing subject matter, we can guess this one will be positioned for an awards-friendly release in 2018. Even though McKay is primarily known for his work in comedies like Anchorman, he has recently transitioned into more serious work like The Big Short, which earned some Oscar love. He appears to be taking Cheney very seriously. As fun as it may have been to see, he didn't have his buddy Will Ferrell play George W. Bush in this movie as he did on SNL for a handful of years. That is probably the right call.