Nicolas Cage on ‘Drive Angry’

Cage talks 'Drive Angry', 3D and 'Ghost Rider'.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Nicolas Cage on 'Drive Angry'

Every time I see Nicolas Cage, my man crush on him gets stronger. I’m just enamored with the extremity of his characters (I only just discovered Vampire’s Kiss two years ago) but hearing him talk about it is even cooler. Drive Angry lets him loose in 3D and he gave a press conference about his latest performance.

Nic Cage in your face
Nicolas Cage: “I was very excited at first to see what I could do with the format. I was like a kid in a candy store and I wanted to see if I could get my tongue into the fourth row of the audience in one scene. There’s a scene in the diner where I kissed the young lady. Thankfully they cut that out of the movie but I wanted to try to do anything I could to mess with the format. By the second week, it became very clear to me that it wasn’t that different than making any other movie with a 35mm camera. That is really a credit to Patrick Lussier because he is a pioneer of the new wave of 3D. He really sorted out all the bugs that might occur with it on his first, My Bloody Valentine, with 3D. He knew where to put the camera at any time so that the actors didn’t blow out the effect because you can do that very easily. If you line up in such a way, you blow out the effect and it’s caused a lot of headaches for many filmmakers but not Patrick so he was very confident. He knew exactly where to put the camera and we really got the movie done quite quickly as a result of his expertise.”
The gunfight sex scene
Nicolas Cage: “One of the things I would like to say about the now infamous gunfight/sex scene in the movie was I really had no idea how I would play that scene until almost three or four days before we shot it. If that scene works, it’s really because of Ms. Ross, Ms. Charlotte Ross. What she does in that sequence is sexy but it’s more than that. It’s actually quite tragic and heartbreaking the nervous breakdown that 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 had this idea that Milton is a character that would raise more questions than answers and he’s the sort of character that would make you ask what is he thinking? How would I do that in that scene? I was thinking of Kama Sutra positions and what would be a position that would show Milton’s sort of anti-divineness because he’s not a divine Hindu spirit. He’s something from hell, a living dead man from hell. So then the idea of being in the clothes before a gunfight enjoying all the vices, the cigar and the Jack Daniels and the sex to me seemed like it would ring true for a guy that just broke out of hell. So that’s how that scene came together, and then Ms. Ross and I enjoyed a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken after the scene.”
Drive Environmentally
Nicolas Cage: What’s in my garage is a Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie. I have a pickup truck. I like it. It’s a diesel Cummins engine which is the same engine they use in the trains and it’s actually really good for the environment. Unlike the hybrids which so many people think is good for the environment, you actually have to dump those batteries and it actually pollutes the environment so the diesel truck is a better way to go.
The actor that wouldn’t slow down:
Nicolas Cage: I thought it was just a real opportunity to drive as fast as I wanted and not get a speeding ticket, and that’s what I did. The only time it’s a problem for me is when somebody else is in the car like Ms. Amber Heard and then I start getting nervous that if something happens to them that I’m responsible and then I’m not quite as effective. Amber’s still raising her eyebrow at me because I said that I’ve been 180 miles per hour on the 405 freeway on a motorcycle and she doesn’t believe me but it’s a true story. I did it coming home from work at 3 in the morning on another movie I made about cars called Gone in 60 Seconds. I bought a Yamaha R1 and I was doing 180 miles per hour home on the 405 and that’s really, really crazy but I did it. In this movie I went about 70 miles per hour at any given moment because we had cameras on the car and that’s about as fast as I could push it with cameras on the car mounted down onto the car. But still, it was mostly me driving and going into oncoming traffic. Those were some pretty fun days.
Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage: The best way to characterize it is it’s like a party and not to take it too seriously, because it’s not the Olympics. How do you say one actor is better than another actor. You can definitely say that in the Olympics if it’s the same race and someone wins the race, someone wins the race. The only way to really do it and have it be sincere would be if you get all the actors together and they’re all playing the same part and then you rate which one made you feel the most. Otherwise it was subjective. I mean, it was a great experience and I felt very thankful for it but it’s not the sort of thing I think about on a daily basis. I am excited that science-fiction movies have been included in the Oscars now because they’ve opened the Best Picture category up to 10 movies. So now movies which have every right to be there like District 9 which was arguably the best movie in my opinion of that year. It was like Apartheid told through the eyes of science-fiction, are now included. So that’s in my opinion positive. I think that some of the most inventive and creative and imaginative filmmaking out there is science fiction when it’s done intelligently and horror when it’s done intelligently.
Nicolas Cage, NRA spokesman?
Nicolas Cage: Unfortunately, we live in a world where guns are necessary because there are people routinely throughout history who like to take people’s homes from them and their land from them. Until we live at a time when people are more kind to one another and one another’s differences, they’re still going to be there. So it’s hard for me to be a spokesperson in any way about guns. It’s just something that is around for a reason. Any time you have guns on the set, they’re dangerous. You have to be careful. We all know what happened to Brandon Lee. You always have to be vigilant about it and remember that you’re around explosive substances. But I find that I work with very thorough stunt people and gun wranglers and they know what they’re doing and I’m also very vigilant and I’m proud to say that no one’s really ever gotten hurt in one of my scenes.
Ghost Rider returns
Nicolas Cage: That Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is really going to be an amazing movie. I don’t normally talk like that about things I’ve worked on but I just got finished with it and I’m so excited about what Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine got up to in that movie. It’s just really fresh and original. Mark is like a stuntman, camera operator, director all rolled into one. He’s literally risking his life to get shots. On roller blades, on bungee chords, he’s even patented the roller blading stuff because no one else in the business is doing it. And then Brian Taylor is just a walking encyclopedia about movies. We’ve had great conversations about all kinds of films whether it’s Brian De Palma to Inishiro Honda. He’s the reason why I played Ghost Rider. He encouraged me to be the Ghost Rider as well as John Blaze.