Dread hit the red carpet premiere of Summit Entertainment’s Drive Angry 3D (releasing wide this Friday, February the 25th) last night at the Arclight in Hollywood, CA, and brought back some ocular candy and video from the event (see our interview with star Nic Cage below) as well as interviews with the flick’s principal cast and crew.
The film, co-written by Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier (and directed by the latter), revolves around ‘Milton’ (Cage), a hardened felon who, in a chance for redemption, breaks out of hell (literally) in order to save his granddaughter from the vicious cult that murdered his own daughter. Joining him in this dubious escapade is actress Amber Heard as a waitress who donates her ex-boyfriend’s cherry-red muscle car and skills in an effort to thwart the cult and their leader, ‘Jonah King’ (actor Billy Burke). Rounding out the cast are William Fichtner and Charlotte Ross (already known to genre fans for the leaked Drive Angry 3D sex scene in which she and Cage engage in passionate fornication and gunplay).
Said co-writer Todd Farmer (who previously collaborated with Lussier on 2009’s My Bloody Valentine 3D) while on the carpet of the inspiration for Drive Angry, “It’s funny because the guy who had mentored me when I moved to L.A. was the guy who had written High Plains Drifter, and Patrick and I had always wanted to do something like that (film), so we had the opportunity with this. It’s a road movie, except with a High Plains Drifter element to it, and then we threw in the old car chase movies that we grew up with, and it’s a rush.”
“We wrote it and did one polish,” he continued of the film’s beginnings, “and then went out and sold it, and I kid you not, there was no development! We went to Mike De Luca, who had just come off of Ghost Rider, and Nic read the script and loved it, and we were on our way. We did some rewrites on set, because of rain, or because actors wanted to change things a little, which is good, because you want that. But as far as development and a studio coming in to make us change things, that didn’t happen. This is our movie. Love it or hate it, blame us!”
Chimed in Lussier, “We started writing it right around Groundhog Day, which is where the title came from, you know, ‘Don’t drive angry, but drive angry, please,’ with the idea of doing a big 70’s type car movie. It’s a total supernatural, bigger-than-life comic book movie, without ever having been based on a comic book. It’s so rare that you get to make a movie that you want to make, and not an assignment or something that you write because someone wants you to, or because there are eight other movies like it. We wrote it for fun!”
As for the challenges of shooting such a technically challenging film in the third dimension, “The worst thing is that you can’t go get eighteen cameras,” said Lussier, whose horror credentials include (in addition to the My Bloody Valentine redux) the flicks Dracula 2000 and White Noise 2: The Light. “We shot the entire movie with five cameras, and sometimes splitting between two units. We had one set of lenses, because you need double lenses and they have to be perfectly matched to each other, so we would have to shoot with this camera on this day and then run that camera down the road on a golf cart where the other unit was shooting, and then run back – it was a logistical nightmare, but all very successful.”
Speaking with Charlotte Ross, she of the previously mentioned cordite-charged Drive Angry sex scene, the platinum blonde actress (who will next appear opposite Ray Liotta in Street Kings 2) told us of her allure to her character of ‘Candy’: “I like really damaged characters, and interesting characters, and it’s not just a sex scene. She’s someone that’s very aggressive and very horny and someone who goes on this path, and then you see that even though someone is like that, they can still be a weak flower underneath. There’s a scene afterwards where you realize that she wasn’t really expecting that, and that she’s not as tough as she puffed her chest out to be, which I thought was really kind of cool.”
Of the scene in question, Ross expounded, “The truth is that I knew that it wouldn’t blend into the woodwork. It was an extraordinary scene just on paper because of what transpires during it, and I really had to gear myself up emotionally for it, because I’m actually kind of shy, but once I got in the heels of that girl, I really got to lose myself, which is one of the things that’s awesome about what we do for a living, because in hindsight sometimes I wonder, ‘What the hell did I do?’ But when I was in it, I couldn’t have been more ready to go. It was actually really freeing.”
Speaking with actor Billy Burke (known to Twilight fans for his portrayal of that film series’ ‘Charlie Swan’), “I had more fun making this movie than I have in a very long time. He’s an absolutely heartless character. Everybody in this movie is a bad guy. My character happens to maybe be just a hair worse than the rest of them. I hope audiences go home experiencing the ride that was intended because it’s great fun. It was great working with Cage, too. I mean, I grew up watching his movies. It sets you back a little bit when you are introduced to someone and start working with them when you have watched them onscreen for a long time. I mean, one of his films, Racing the Moon, is one of my absolute favorite movies, and ever since then, I’ve been a total fan, and he could not be a cooler, more down-to-earth guy.”
With that, Dread chats with star Nicolas Cage, who amusingly drops what ultimately attracted him to Drive Angry 3D.
“It’s a pretty out there reason,” said the film star, “but it was because when I did Season of the Witch, I kept trying to get the producers to let me have one of my eyes shot out with an arrow, and they never quite got there. For some reason I had this passionate connection with having one of my eyes taken out as a character in a movie, and within the first five minutes of my conversation with Patrick (regarding Drive Angry), he said, ‘You are going to get one of your eyes shot out,’ and I immediately said, ‘OK, I’m making a movie, I’m in.”
On the driving stunts, which are at the core of Drive Angry 3D, “I did most of them,” communicated Cage. “I enjoy driving, and I’m pretty comfortable in a car. The only time I’m not comfortable with pushing it is when I have someone else whose life is at stake. If they aren’t in the car, then I just go for it. I go into kind of a trance state and just hit it.”
With Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance poised to release on February 17, 2012, Cage said of reprising the titular role, “I just got back from finishing it, and I had an amazing time working with Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (of Crank fame). They are so brave and so willing to go for it and so out there. Mark is a stuntman/director, really. He does things with the camera, where he’s hanging off of bungee cords, where he’s rollerblading with the camera, and he’s put a patent on it. It was very encouraging that I got to play (the character) of Ghost Rider as well as Johnny Blaze because I feel that in doing both that it informed each role. I don’t want to say too much about it just yet, because I want to see how it all cuts together, but I’m pretty excited about it, as you might be able to tell.”
This writer couldn’t resist gauging Cage on his interest in participating in a potential sequel to the 1988 cult fave Vampire’s Kiss (were there one), and the actor responded enthusiastically.
“Wow, I hope so,” enthused Cage. “I would love that. That would be a great experience if I could get Robert Bierman to do another Vampire’s Kiss. But I don’t know how I would do it since the character died, but maybe there is a way?”
Dread posits that perhaps Cage’s character of ‘Peter Loew’ in that film actually became a vampire, as opposed to simply being an unhinged New York publisher.
“There you go!” replied Cage. “You’d really go into the abstract with that if he just wasn’t losing his mind. I like that idea! That’s one of my favorite movies I’ve ever made!”
In the newest 3D action-adventure from the director of MY BLOODY VALENTINE, DRIVE ANGRY stars Nicolas Cage as Milton, a hardened felon who has broken out of hell for one last chance at redemption. Intent on stopping a vicious cult who murdered his daughter, he has three days to stop them before they sacrifice her baby beneath a full moon.
He’s joined by Piper (Amber Heard) – a young, sexy waitress who liberates her ex-boyfriend’s cherry-red muscle car in order to help Milton. Now, the two of them are hot on the trail of the deadly leader of the cult, Jonah King (Billy Burke), who believes it is his destiny to use the baby to unleash hell on earth.
But the bloodthirsty cult is the least of Milton’s problems. The police are after him too. And worse, an enigmatic killer known only as “The Accountant” – who has been sent by the Devil to retrieve Milton and deliver him back to hell. With wicked cunning and hypnotic savagery, the Accountant will relentlessly pursue Milton at high speed across the country until his mission is accomplished.
Fueled by high octane and pure rage, Milton must use his anger to go beyond all human limits to avenge his daughter’s murder, before his last chance at redemption is revoked.
Check out our exclusive premiere coverage below!
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