With the Jan. 7 release of 'Season of the Witch' fast approaching -- and what with this being Nicolas Cage Week here and all -- Moviefone can now offer up our complete interview with the endlessly fascinating and highly divisive actor.
Cage spoke with us about the reasons for the film's circuitous path to theaters, why he's excited to play a knight, and whether or not his character -- who is placed in charge of a witch accused of causing the bubonic plague -- is being portrayed ironically.
We've also re-inserted a previously posted portion of the interview (which ran last November on our sister site, Cinematical), in which Cage reveals his feelings about how people see him as an actor, and tells us just how drastic of a departure 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' is going to be from its outlandish 2007 predecessor.
Do you have any insight as to why, even though fans are eager to see medieval genre films, studios don't seem eager to put them out? 'Season of the Witch,' 'Solomon Kane' and 'Black Death' have all had release-date issues.
I wasn't aware of these other movies that had been put on the back-burner. This is the first I've heard of them, so I don't really know. I know that with this film, it was a matter of trying to give it even more scope than it already had, so that's why this one was delayed. The producers just wanted to make sure people really got their money's worth by ramping it up.
I can't really explain too much the reasoning for the re-shoots except I know the producers wanted there to be a couple more battle sequences and to ramp up some of the effects in the movie, because it is a supernatural story and it is an adventure story. So they wanted to make sure they had enough of that. I know they're very happy with the results, though I haven't seen the finished product yet. I'm told that the movie is quite scary, which I am thrilled to hear, as it was my hope to make a really scary movie.
That's not to say it's strictly a horror film. I know it works on other levels as well, but I am a fan of the genre.
That's actually one of the things that surprised me about the trailer for the film. You can see its supernatural edge right away.
That's kind of the way it was with the script. I read it thinking, "This is marvelous, it's not like anything I've done before or read before." It was an opportunity for me to embrace a character from another team that had a deep belief and sense of honor in the world of knighthood that I responded to. I don't know why it took this long for me to play a knight in a movie, but I'm very glad it did happen.
Since you do tend to play characters who are all haunted by past demons, is there any particular demon haunting your character this time around?
You could say he's the movie's first conscientious objector. He sort of breaks free from propaganda -- in this case, religious propaganda -- and sees the light of not wanting to kill civilians and starts to reawaken his connection with God and his faith without a machine telling him what to think. In that regard, he's kind of an iconoclast.
And since you tend to give your characters a decidedly mischievous sense of humor, have you done the same here?
There are moments for humor in the movie, especially with Ron Perlman's character, but I don't think that Behmen has the subversive sense of humor that some of the other character's I've played have. This one was more about having a certain kind of enigmatic aura, if anything, that hearkened back to the fantastical, medieval world. And I was hoping to try and create something more like that than being straight-up ironic.
How do you feel about how some of your characters and roles have been taken lately as ironic? I don't know how in tune with online pop culture you are, but you've been at the heart of a number of products of a remix culture lately.
I think it's exciting. I want people to discover my movies and however they chose to receive it is their business. I can't help but be a little flattered by it and thankful for it.
I think in a way a lot of your roles and films operate on a time delay that takes most people a while to catch onto.
But you also seem like someone who doesn't particularly mind that it takes a while for people to be in on it.
I would agree with that. I think a movie or a performance has to find its own life. All my favorite people in media, whether it's film, or painting or music, are people who have had to be rediscovered or needed a bit of time to help frame their work. Some things mature better and are more appealing when you get a few years on them. I know I've enjoyed and even really love some of the work from the '50s and early '60s ...
The acting in some of the TV shows then, like the 'Outer Limits,' for me, has matured incredibly well. I'm amazed at the quality of acting in those early television shows. It's not really there any more in contemporary acting. You have people like Robert Culp and Cliff Robertson, and that took a while for people to take to.
Shifting gears for a minute as we run out of time, and since I believe you're filming it right now, how is the second 'Ghost Rider' coming along?
'Ghost Rider' is coming along incredibly well. I am so excited about working with Neveldine and Taylor. Mark Neveldine is combination stuntman, camera operator, director -- I've never seen anyone do things with a camera that he does. He's got rollerblades he's on, he's hanging from wires -- he's completely original.
And Brian Taylor is someone who has an encyclopediac knowledge of film. You can talk about almost any movie with him. We were just talking about Michael Powell's 'Peeping Tom' and it's quite incredible to go from 'War of the Gargantuas' to 'Peeping Tom' within the same conversation. He has a real kind of philosophical look at things. It's definitely going to be an all new experience.
Since you are such a rabid fan of Superman, what would you, from a fanboy perspective, like to see in the new 'Superman' movie?
That's a good question. I will probably hesitate on answering that one because I know when that hits the web it will be everywhere. I'll talk with you about that one off the record some time.