Nicolas Cage Interview, Drive Angry 3D

Posted by: Sheila Roberts

In the newest 3D action-adventure from the director of My BloodyValentine, Nicolas Cage plays Milton, a hardened felon who breaks out of hell for one last chance at redemption. He is joined by Piper (Amber Heard), a young, sexy waitress who liberates her ex-boyfriend’s cherry-red muscle car in order to help Milton hunt down a vicious cult that has brutally killed his daughter. 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” (William Fichtner), 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.

Last week in San Diego, the stars of Drive Angry 3D, Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, and director Patrick Lussier debuted footage from their high-octane, blood-spattered road trip through hell to enthusiastic fans at Comic Con. Afterwards, MoviesOnline had the opportunity to sit down with them to talk about their exciting new action horror film shot in 3D. They told us about their characters, what it was like working in 3D, and why they think the aspect of retribution resonates so strongly with an audience. Here’s what Nicolas Cage had to tell us:

Q: Nicolas, what attracted you to this project and can you talk about the essence of your character?

Nicolas: The first thing I would offer is that this is a movie that hails from ‘70s classic films, like High Plains Drifter -- movies that were a major factor in my decision to become a film actor. And then, on top of that, it’s in 3D, directed by one of the pioneers in this day and age of 3D, Patrick (Lussier), and he’s a purist.

So, I knew it would be in the camera and I knew that I would have an opportunity to try to work with the 3D camera and see how that would inform my performance in terms of different body language and different ways I could play with the format. That was a big draw for me. In terms of the character itself, I try to keep my characters raising more questions than answers. I don’t want to leave too much on the table. I want you to have your connection with it, your secret understanding of the character, so I hesitate to talk too much about anything specifically about him.

Q: Why do you think the aspect of retribution resonates so strongly with an audience when we see these kinds of films?

Nicolas: Because everybody gets angry. Everyone feels like they’re being tested or they’ve gone through trials in life and, especially when loved ones are involved, this fierce, protective nature comes alive. This is happening in Milton. He’s on a tear to save this little child.

Q: Do you consider Drive Angry one of your midnight movies, like Wild at Heart and Vampire’s Kiss and can you talk about your love for these types of movies?

Nicolas: Absolutely. I definitely feel that Drive Angry fits into that audience. I think my love for those kinds of films is the intensity and the adrenaline of them. They don’t compromise. They’re honest and they give it everything they have. I used to enjoy punk rock music, and I feel like it’s that kind of relentless intensity that I respond to.

I feel that Drive Angry achieves that. I was very excited by the footage I saw today. I haven’t seen the finished result yet, but I do think that this movie is really in your face and it’s tough and it’s cool, and I’m excited about that.

Q: We saw Avatar which was shot specifically in 3D and then there’s Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender where they go back and convert it to 3D in post. For you, as an actor, what is it like to actually shoot this film in 3D?

Nicolas: For me, there’s no fun in that. If you shellac the movie, I have nothing to do with it. It gives me no opportunity to work with the 3D camera. That way, it’s in post. This way, it’s a much more collaborative experience, where the actors get to work with the director and with the camera and talk about it. Therefore, it’s exciting. Otherwise, I really have nothing to do with it, as an actor.

Q: How do you work with a 3D camera?

Nicolas: For me, in terms of perspective, I wanted to know how I was going to become friends with this new mechanism. How do I become friends with this new machine? I would talk with Patrick, like “Can I move like this?” I even went so far, at one point, as to try to stick my tongue out all the way so I could get into the fourth row of the audience to see if that would have an effect.

I don’t know if it made it into the movie or not. But, my point is it’s that relationship with perspective in the camera and body language and dance and movement, and I wanted to see if there was anything we could do with that.

Q: Nicolas, you saw the various incarnations of 3D when you were growing up. Do the 3D movies of today bring something different to an audience and how do they compare to the 3D movies of the 50s?

Nicolas: The 3D movies in the ‘50s never worked for me. I just thought it didn’t look right. I would not go into that dimension. They just turned me off because they looked so goofy. Today, this is the time for 3D. I think Avatar really showed that, in terms of not just pop-ups, but perspective and depth.

It’s almost like painting. Some of the shots that we did in Drive Angry, when I would look at the monitor, I saw those depths of field by the pool and the pool was lit at night and Amber and I would be running. You see the dimension. There’s no better word for it than beautiful. It’s a very beautiful format for filmmaking.

Q: Could you you tell us what your favorite car was throughout the film?

Nicolas: I’ve always preferred the Chevelle. It just has a gorgeous aesthetic. But, I predominantly drive a Charger in this movie, which is also beautiful. My character prefers a Chevelle as well, so it works.

Q: Can you talk a little about your character’s relationship with anger and how does that play out in the film?

Nicolas: It’s really not that simple for me. I can’t encapsulate everything about Milton in the word anger. There are other things also motivating his drive. Hopefully, when you see the movie, there are other dimensions to the character. It’s more like a sense of otherness and a purpose, but the anger is an anger that’s almost like a residual anger of something that happened in another life. I’ve probably said too much already.

I do want to talk about the relationship that Milton has, not with anger, but with Piper. There’s a relationship here that is actually… Piper provides the heart in the movie. When you see the movie, you’ll see what Amber did with that so beautifully. There is another element that may surprise you, where the film actually has a pretty deep, strong heart that’s not romantic. It’s like a partnership. It would be great if we could do another film because I love that relationship between Milton and Piper.

“Drive Angry 3D” is scheduled to open in theaters on February 11, 2011.


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