Interview: Alex Wolff Talks Working with Nicolas Cage & a Pig on PIG

Move over John Wick, there is a new kind of revenge film about a man’s relationship with an animal that is taken away from him and the lengths he would go to to get it back. Despite all the comparisons already being made about the films, Pig, starring Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff is actually nothing like John Wick. Written by Michael Sarnoski and Vanessa Block and the directorial debut of Sarnoski, Pig is a surprisingly emotional journey about love, trauma, and grief.

Related Article: Nicolas Cage Now Discusses PIG and Leaving Hollywood Behind

Nicolas Cage (Face/Off, Mandy) stars as Robin, a former celebrity Chef, who chose to leave that life behind to live in isolation in the woods with a truffle pig named Brandy after suffering the loss of his wife. Robin sells the truffles Brandy finds to a buyer named Amir, played by Alex Wolff (My Friend Dahmer, Hereditary), who then sells the truffles to high-end restaurants. It’s apparently a very lucrative business and young businessman Amir is in competition with his father Darius, a cutthroat businessman driven by greed, played by Adam Arkin (Sons of Anarchy, Modern Family).

When someone breaks in and steals Robin’s truffle pig in the middle of the night, he turns to Amir for help. Amir initially serves as a reluctant chauffeur, taking Robin into the city to an underground restaurant worker fight club in search of the kidnapped pig, but eventually the two men form a friendship, when they realize they both have traumatic pasts they have to confront. Pig is a moving exploration of relationships and loss and both Cage and Wolff turn in incredible performances in roles completely different from anything we’ve seen before from either actor. I highly recommend having Kleenex ready when you see this film.

Dread Central was delighted to have the opportunity to talk with Alex Wolff about working with Nicolas Cage on Pig, his relationship with Brandy the pig, the horror genre, and a lot more. Read on to find out what we talked about!

Also Read: Exclusive Track Premiere: “Hunting” from PIG–Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Synopsis: A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.

Dread Central: Your character, Amir, has this really complicated family history. He doesn’t get along with his father, there was a tragic incident involving his mother. What was it that appealed the most to you about the script and the role of Amir?

Alex Wolff: Well, the first thing was, the crown jewel in my mind, of acting was Nic Cage. He’s one of the main reasons why I’m even acting, I mean, if I ever get down or feel hopeless about acting, I go and watch one of his movies and it makes me feel comforted and safe, and so I thought if Nic Cage had signed on to this movie it must be really special. Now when I read it, the main thing was I couldn’t compare it to anything, it’s just its own special brand of chaos and yet I loved how it subverted any type of expectations as it goes along. It’s more akin to a Robert Altman character study than it is any other type of road trip thriller. Instead, it’s this love story between these two seemingly adversarial guys and I just love that.

DC: You already mentioned Nicolas Cage and I’m a big fan of his work as well. I have to ask what it was like working with him?

AW: It was the single greatest partnership and experience of my life, with maybe the exception of my own family. I’ve never been so close with someone I’m doing a movie with, and he’s just become one of my best friends in the whole world and one of the best people I’ve ever known, and the best artist, the best actor. It’s like he came from the sky or something; he’s not real; he was born to be an artist; the true, full package. Not just that, he’s gentle and kind and empathetic and a giving actor. He’s patient and understanding, if you are doing things that aren’t working, he will help guide you through without even making it known that he’s guiding you through, making it easy for you. It’s one in a million, working with that guy. One in a million.

DC: That’s wonderful to hear, especially the way the relationship between your characters evolves during the movie.

AW: I know, this movie could be Butch Cassidy or something. It’s more Butch Cassidy than it is John Wick.

DC: Oh yeah, I’ve heard the comparisons to John Wick.

AW: Well, that’s fun! It gets people into the theater and tricks you into being thrilling but way more moving, more deep, and not really a revenge story.

DC: What was it like making a movie that centers around a pig? I don’t think you had any scenes with the pig, right? Did you get to interact with the pig?

AW: No, I do! What about when I tell the pig to fuck off?

DC: [laughs] Oh my God, you’re right!

AW: [laughs] It makes me sad to hear you say that because the pig liked me the best, so to hear you strip away that one day I worked with the pig makes me sad [laughs]. We have one long sequence together and it was really fun, and it was fun to be rude to the pig too, because the pig was rude to everyone else, and then Brandy ended up liking me more. Tale as old as time; you play hard to get and then all of a sudden, this animal loves me.

DC: [laughs] I’m so sorry! I can’t believe I forgot your one scene with the pig!

AW: No, it’s fine! [laughs] I just had that one precious interaction with the pig but mostly they were with Nic [laughs].

Alex Wolff in Pig
(photo courtesy NEON)

DC: Pig is Michael Sarnoski’s directorial debut, so I wondered what it was like working with him on this film?

AW: I mean, what an unbelievably annoying thing that this is his first film. He made, I think, a powerful, individual character study in his first film and I just think it’s one in a million that a first-time filmmaker makes something this unique, with this much of a punch, this much soul. He’s such a visionary but he would never allow you to call him that and he works at such a humble and quiet but precise speed. His directing style is so gentle, it’s such a light touch and yet he gets such a powerful performance out of you without even realizing it.

DC: Pig is not really a horror movie, it’s almost genre adjacent. I have to bring up Hereditary because we all love you in that, and I know you have a new horror movie coming out called Old. What is your favorite thing about working in the horror genre?

AW: Well, I think it was incredibly rewarding and amazing to work in the horror genre with Ari on Hereditary. That was a really unabashed, true expression of rage and discomfort and horror, and just at its most primal and artful, and I felt really lucky to be making a really strong, exquisite, realized horror movie. With that said, Pig in my mind doesn’t even approach it. I don’t even feel it’s genre adjacent, it’s an odd comedy love story. Old, I understand more of the comparison but the funny thing about Old is it really isn’t a horror movie as well. It’s kind of an experimental, avant garde, science fiction drama. It’s more adjacent to the kind of 70s experimental anxiety films.

It’s got something very unique, and I think if people go in not expecting to be scared and to be more haunted by the thoughts the movie dishes out, and more excited about the thrill of watching life unfold in this odd world, I think the more satisfied they’ll be. I think we have a tendency as film goers to put things in a little box or locker or category and I really think this movie will really defy a category, it’s its own thing, but I think it’s very much not a horror film. Whereas Hereditary is such a horror film in such a proud and defiant way, this isn’t a horror movie. It’s a family drama that gets scary, so I think that’s a fun distinction between the three.

DC: You mentioned it earlier, but what do you think of the comparisons people are already making to John Wick, even though the movie hasn’t come out yet?

AW: It’s really fun, because people get to go in and be subversive. I love the idea that maybe people are going in with John Wick and leaving with tears in their eyes, on par with Butch Cassidy or Midnight Cowboy or Big Lewboski in its tone. I think it’s so fun. But I will say if you’re going in for any thrill kills or blood, you will be very sadly mistaken in that way but instead it’s like John Wick, if you set it in the real world. It’s more about pain and soul and what the pig represents in Rob, the lead character. It’s a friendship story, a love story, it’s The Odd Couple.

NEON will release Pig in theaters on Friday, July 16th.



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