Christian Bale’s Heart Attack Savvy Saved ‘Vice’ Director’s Life And It Can Save Yours, Too

Photos: Annapurna Pictures

Everyone on earth knows Christian Bale is as method as they get. You need him gaunt, he’ll drop 122 pounds. You need him fat, he’ll load up on doughnuts. In order to become the character, he transforms himself, which is why Bale did a deep dive on heart attacks when he was cast to portray Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s 2018 film, Vice.

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McKay, who recently suffered a heart attack, says Bale’s heart attack knowledge saved his life. McKay explained, “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.’”



After filming ended, McKay was working out with his trainer when he suddenly became very queasy. He’d recently been told by a doctor to improve his diet and stop smoking. When nausea hit McKay, he suspected the worst and rushed to the hospital.

The Vice director explained that he remembered Christian Bale telling him about the connection between queasiness and a heart attack. “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 recalled.

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Regardless if your doctor warned you about a potential heart attack or not, here’s how to tell if you’re having a heart attack according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back.
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness.

If you do suspect you’re having a heart attack, don’t wait. Go to a hospital immediately. Some people wait too long because they’re not informed.