Sundance 2021: Interview – Bill Moseley Talks Working With Nicolas Cage in Sion Sono’s PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND

If you’re a fan of Bill Moseley (and why wouldn’t you be?), seeing him opposite Nic Cage as an unhinged overlord known only as The Governor in a new film by Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Tag, Exte: Hair Extensions) should be more than enough to catch your attention. This isn’t technically the first time the two actors have met, however. That happened back in 2007 during Rob Zombie’s fake trailer Werewolf Women of the S.S. for Grindhouse.

In the below quick capsule interview, Moseley talks about the samurai world that Sion Sono has created and even deeper film connections with Nicolas Cage that include Color Out of Space and the 1986 rom-com classic Peggy Sue Got Married.

Synopsis: Prisoners of the Ghostland is set in the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town where a ruthless bank robber (Cage) is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord The Governor (Moseley), whose adopted granddaughter Bernice (Boutella) has gone missing. The Governor offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within three days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman—and his own path to redemption.

Dread Central: Ghostland looks like a place I’d be afraid of but I’d still kind of want to live there. In your own words, how would you describe the world in Prisoners of the Ghostland?

Bill Moseley: The thing that I concentrate on the most that seemed to recur throughout the script is cherry blossoms. The Ghostland that I saw was basically Samurai Town. It’s kind of a strange mashup of East meets West populated by, of course, The Governor, and his beautiful “children” and it was cold when we shot it. It was a strange and wonderful un-reality that I certainly enjoyed acting in.

DC: This must have been one of the more exciting projects you’ve been a part of. It’s just such a thrill to see you as a villain opposite Nic Cage.

BM: I met Nic on the set of Werewolf Women of the S.S. when he was doing Fu Manchu. I just walked into the makeup trailer and there he was sitting. It was fun because I saw him, too, at Rob Zombie’s…Rob and Sheri’s wedding reception. He was there with then wife Lisa Marie. So when I got to Japan, I was nervous, because I certainly am a huge fan on Nic’s but I hadn’t really met him so much. I didn’t really know what he was going to be like to work with and how intimidating that would be. Would he be friendly or one of those people going, ‘Are you going to do it that way?’

Werewolf Women of the SS trailer from Grindhouse (2007)

He couldn’t have been nicer. The first thing he did to get the cast and crew together was he hosted a Thanksgiving dinner at a really cool Japanese restaurant. Not only did he host the dinner, at one point he asked that we all go around the tables…he asked that each one of us say what we were grateful for. It was really very sweet. There was a geisha dancing at one point so it was really traditional Japan. That put me at ease and then working with him was just a lot of fun. He’s into it and that’s, of course from my career you can tell, I’m into it, too. Whatever it is, just make it real and go for it.

DC: That’s such a connection, it makes so much sense that it would be from Grindhouse to Prisoners of the Ghostland. I love those connections. For example, Nic Cage was in Peggy Sue Got Married with Jim Carrey and then you were in Pink Cadillac with him.

BM: Well, not only that but in Peggy Sue Got Married my wife Lucinda Jenney was also very much a part of that. We came to a screening of Color Out of Space and Lucinda brought a picture of her with Nic, Lucinda and Jim Carrey from Peggy Sue Got Married and showed it to Nic. He was very excited to see it.

DC: What a good story. You guys definitely have good energy together on screen because you both really bring it. But we needed more of a crazy-off between the two of you but Sion Sono must’ve had other ideas. Had you seen Sion Sono’s work before? I think I became familiar with him through films like Love Exposure, Tag and there’s even a crazy movie called Exte about haunted hair extensions that he did.

Bill Moseley as The Governor.

BM: Yes, I love Hair Extensions, I love that. I had not. The first Sono movie I saw was Tag and just the opening of Tag when all the little schoolgirls are beheaded by the crazy wind, to me was like okay, that was very cool. I saw Tokyo Tribe, I saw Suicide Club which I thought was awesome…Hair Extensions. But you know my favorite was Cold Fish, I thought Cold Fish was brutally cool. I was very excited to work with Sion.

DC: I’d like to as you about working opposite against Tak Sakaguchi. He’s a legendary actor in Japan, I think I first saw him in Versus. How was it working closely with him and getting to boss him around? It must’ve been thrilling to command an army of samurai and cowboys.

BM: Well, it was so much fun. I kind of made him my security blanket…that was fun. He was really the stunt coordinator for a lot of the samurai and a lot of the action, so just watching him work out his minions was really impressive. I loved him. I fanboyed and I gave him a copy of Versus and he signed it for me. Now one of my prized possessions.

DC: Well, you’re always signing things at horror conventions, you’ve signed some things for me before, so it’s only natural that you should get some karma that way.

BM: Yes, except he didn’t charge me, so I was really excited.

RLJE Films has acquired the US rights to the action/adventure film Prisoners of the Ghostland ahead of its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Look for the release of the film later this year!



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