Nicolas Cage, the Oscar-winning actor who has starred in more than 80 films, has a new personal favorite to add to his résumé, and it comes out Friday.
Cage stars as Brent Ryan, or the dad, in this weekend's new horror-comedy called "Mom and Dad." The movie will screen in select theaters across the country and will be available on demand, for rent and purchase through various sites.
"Mom and Dad" is a bonkers, crazy ride about two teenage siblings trying to survive for 24 hours while mass hysteria causes their parents (Cage and Selma Blair) to turn into murderous, relentless creeps. Directed by Brian Taylor (who worked with Cage previously on "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"), the movie is dark, over-the-top and one of Cage's favorite films that he's done in the last decade.
"It's easily one of the top 10 of films I've done in the past 10 years," he said.
Critics, including ScreenCrush's Matt Singer agree. Singer called "Mom and Dad" a must-see for Cage fans as it gives the actor "his most plausible in-story excuse to unleash his total Cageosity since 'Face/Off.'"
In a brief interview with The Advocate, he spoke about why he's so proud of "Mom and Dad," the craft of acting and why he loves New Orleans and Louisiana so much.
Yes, we also talked about "Face/Off."
Read the full interview below. Answers have been edited for clarity and length.
What were your thoughts after you read the script for "Mom and Dad"?
I thought right away that I was going to do it. I thought it could be a hit. It was irreverent, original, taboo, hilarious and menacing. I’ve always wanted to do something that married menace to comedy. I thought I could have a lot of fun with this, and hopefully take someone on this wild ride with me. It's a comedy in the darkest way, and I think we did well with it.
In a recent interview, you said "Mom and Dad" was one of your more recent favorite films. Why is it a favorite?
I feel that way because I’m happy with the result. I think it was a hard target to hit, the combination of menace and comedy. I wanted to try and do something original, something unlike other movies. This is perhaps the most dysfunctional family ever put on celluloid.
It took a chance, too. I mean, nobody wanted to make this movie. It was a highly risky, taboo subject, but I think the end shows it’s ironic, comedic and satirical.
Who do you think would win in a fight – Castor Troy (from "Face/Off") or Brent Ryan (from "Mom and Dad")?
Castor Troy. There’s no question. (Laughs) There’s no doubt about that. He has so many guns. He was relentless. That guy was a machine of everything bad.
At this stage in your career, what do you want to get across in your performances? What keeps you going?
I just want to be able to tell the truth, whether it’s in an operatic, highly-stylized, larger-than-life way; or if it’s in a minimal, contained, inner-life way in something like (the 2013 David Gordon Green drama) “Joe.”
I’m not going to play a part I don’t think I’ll be able to achieve results with. I have to know that I have the ability to access the emotional content, imaginary content and life experience to play the part. What I want to do is hopefully provide the audience with something on some level that will be thought-provoking, that will give them something that they can perhaps relate to.
I feel like no matter what the subject or movie is, you’re always trying to find that interesting angle.
I have to stay interested. I have to choose roles that often are eclectic to learn something and challenge myself. Hopefully, I can provide something to the viewer that is different or unique or a new take on something because I was a student of film performance.
I want to learn. I want to constantly evolve and hopefully progress, but it has been a long time. I started when I was 15 years old, I just turned 54. We’re looking at 40 years. The earlier work was more innocent. I do feel now I have become seasoned and have easier access to my ability to perform.
Is there one movie people always ask you about?
In terms of the general public, it's a lot of "National Treasure." For a while there, years ago, it was "Moonstruck." I couldn’t go on a date without a girl telling me to “Snap out of it.” (Laughs) I would say that "Face/Off" and "National Treasure" are the ones that come up the most, though.
Is there a movie you’ve done that you felt didn’t get the attention it deserved?
“Bringing Out the Dead” (the 1999 drama directed by Martin Scorsese) was a great movie that was perhaps promoted in an inaccurate way. I had done a lot of action movies around it, and that kind of ability to do action movies and more thought provoking drama wasn’t really so common back then as it is now. Now, we see more and more actors mixing it up to be more eclectic. When I was doing it, it was almost considered taboo to do something like “Leaving Las Vegas” then “The Rock,” or "Face/Off" then “Bringing Out the Dead.”
But I would also say (the 2008 action film) “Bangkok Dangerous,” which I had seen recently until I went to a retrospective in Austin, Texas. That played really well. I thought that was a brave and thought-provoking movie, and that didn’t get any time of day. If people could re-view it, they would see that there’s something there.
You have a history with Louisiana, and I was wondering if there was anything specifically that you love about the state or New Orleans. Any memories that you would like to share?
I have so many memories. I’ve gone through so many changes in Louisiana. I feel like I grew up there. I went out there at a young age. I did (the 1990 David Lynch drama) “Wild at Heart,” (the 1991 drama) “Zandalee.”
I’ve had experiences there during Mardi Gras and just in my own life that have been totally unique. New Orleans is not like anywhere else in the world. There’s a confluence of culture, spirituality, cuisine, and you know that it’s just it’s own special place.
I’ve gone into barber shops and they’re listening to Wagner on Royal Street, you know?
There’s a tremendous amount of poetry. I find that people have a command of the language there that is unlike other places.
I remember I was flying into the airport, and I get outside, and it’s late September. The gentleman that was there to get me to my hotel, I say, “Wow, this is really hot,” and he says to me, “September is a tease.” (Laughs) What a great line.
I was in a Tennessee Williams play, down there. I was walking down the street, and this young man says, “Hey man, hey Nic, I saw you in ‘Gone in 60 Seconds,’ you touched the will of Eleanor (the car he drove in the 2000 action film).’ ” (Laughs) Nobody talks like that. There’s such a beautiful poetry to the language there.
So many places are simply like other places. New Orleans is not.
'MOM AND DAD'
In select theaters and available on demand, for rent or purchase, beginning Friday, Jan. 19.
STARRING: Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Lance Henriksen and Zackary Arthur
DIRECTOR: Bryan Taylor
RUNNING TIME: 1 hr., 23 mins.
MPAA RATING: R (Restricted) Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
WHY IS THIS MOVIE RATED R? For disturbing horror violence, language throughout, some sexual content/nudity and teen drug use.
For more information, visit momentumpictures.net/mom-dad.