Vice was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, but it could have been nine if director Adam McKay hadn’t cut a musical number featuring Alabama Shakes vocalist Brittany Howard. (Not that it would have mattered: “Shallow” for Best Original Song was the one lock of the night.) In the scene, Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) explains to Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) how things work in Washington, D.C. while a song-and-dance number, with Howard singing “do the leak,” takes place all around them.
“It’s breathtaking. It’s incredible. And it just didn’t work,” McKay said. “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.”
In terms of musical numbers in Christian Bale-starring movies, it’s no “Santa Fe” from Newsies Then again, what is? Watch the scene below.