Nicolas Cage is one of the coolest actors of this era and if you don’t agree, you can go straight to Hell. Oddly enough, that’s just where Cage comes back from as John Milton, the “badass mutherfucker” who burns rubber through Drive Angry (review here) this weekend.
At a Hollywood press conference, the Oscar-winning actor and self-described sci-fi/horror geek came out to speak about all things cinema.
On 3D: “I was very excited at first to see what I could do with the format. It’s my first live-action movie in 3D. I was like a kid in a candy store and I wanted to see if I could get my tongue in the fourth row of the audience in one scene. Thankfully they cut that out of the movie, but I wanted to try to do anything I could to mess with the format. And by the second week, it became clear to me that it wasn’t much different from making any other movie with a 35mm camera. And that’s really a credit to Patrick Lussier because he is a pioneer of the new wave of 3D and he really sorted out all the bugs might occur with it on My Bloody Valentine 3D.”
On gunfighting during sex: “I really had no idea how I would play that scene until almost 3 or 4 days before shooting it. If that scene works, it’s really because of Miss Charlotte Ross. What she does in that sequence is sexy but it’s more than that, it’s also quite tragic and heartbreaking, the nervous breakdown she goes through, and it’s a total credit to her acting ability to take us on that ride. It took a lot of guts…. I was thinking about kama sutra positions and what would be a position that would show Milton’s anti-divineness. Because he’s not a divine Hindu spirit, he’s a living dead man from Hell. Enjoying all the vices of the cigar and the Jack Daniels and the sex, to me seemed to ring true to a guy who just broke out of Hell. That’s how that scene came together. And then Miss Ross and I enjoyed a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken after the scene.”
On driving: “I’ve gone 180 mph on the 405 freeway on a motorcycle… I did it coming home from work at 3 o’clock in the morning from another film I did about cars called Gone in 60 Seconds … That’s really, really crazy but I did it.”
On acting: “I realized that I’ve developed my own style and process and school of acting called ‘nouveau shamanic.’”
On skull drinking: “Believe it or not, I was reading a lot of Walt Whitman at the time, a poetry book called ‘Leaves of Grass.’ And somewhere Whitman says in a stanza: ‘drinking mead from a skull.’ And I thought to myself, ‘I like that! I’d like to find a way to drink beer from a skull in this movie!’… I put a lot of thought into [my presentation] and did a few takes, almost like a beer commercial, to find a way to make the beer slosh out of the eye in such a way that my cup runeth over and have it look really inviting and appetizing so the audience would go ‘Wow, I know this sounds kind of crazy but I’d really like to drink beer from someone’s skull right now!’”
On why he took the part: “Initially what I was attracted to was the idea that I was gonna get my eye shot out. On Season of the Witch, I wanted to get my eye shot by a bow and arrow and the producers didn’t really go for it. When Patrick Lussier handed this to me on a silver platter, I don’t know why, but I immediately said ‘Yes, I’m in!’ It’s as simple as that.”
On genre movies: “My interests are an acquired taste that I have. The movies that I enjoy watching personally are movies that really frustrated my wife… It’s an interest in Roger Corman movies and midnight movies. I like Ray Harryhausen. I like fantasy, horror and sci-fi because I can get avant-garde with those performances in those movies. I can’t do that in down and dirty dramas, I can’t do that unless I go outside the box. Unless I’m playing a character on drugs, like Bad Lieutenant…then I can get pretty out there…otherwise I have to look at supernatural movies and science fiction movies to get more avant-garde. But again, I think the most inventive and creative and imaginative filmmaking out there is sci-fi and horror when it’s done intelligently.”
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