Nicolas Cage Talks First Western, The Old Way, Face/Off 2 & Renfield

Jan 10, 2023

From director Brett Donowho, The Old Way stars Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage as Colton Briggs, a gunslinger who hung up his hat and traded his life of bloodshed for love and family. When the consequences of Colton’s past catch up with him, costing him his wife, nothing will stand between the retired killer and his vengeance.

Cage’s very first Western, which sees him as a John Wick of the West, lends the classic tale of revenge a fascinating layer with Briggs’ daughter Brooke, played by up-and-coming talent Ryan Kiera Armstrong (Firestarter). Cage describes the two as “social misfits” with a “propensity towards violence” who work together to blend into society before teaming up to reap retribution from their matriarch’s killers.
With the movie now in theaters, Collider’s Editor-in-Chief, Steve Weintraub, had the opportunity to speak with Cage about the film, and his other upcoming projects. In his interview, Cage breaks down what it was about The Old Way that drew him to the first Western in his 45 years of acting, from scenes with Armstrong to the heart of the story. He also shares what the Face/Off sequel would be about if they get to make it (please make this happen), discusses the inspiration behind his take on Renfield’s Dracula, and gives a few recommendations from his filmography for fans old and new. For all of this and more, you can watch the interview in the player above, or read the full transcript below.

COLLIDER: You’ve done such incredible work over so many years, if someone has actually never seen anything that you’ve done before, what is the first thing you’d like them watching, and why?

NICOLAS CAGE: I would probably pick something – because I am eclectic, but my roots are dramatic, independently-spirited drama – I would probably pick something from that because that’s my first love. I would probably go with Pig or Joe or Bringing Out the Dead.

I love Face/Off and I know that there’s been talk for a while, (filmmaker) Adam Wingard, about maybe doing a sequel, is that actually going to happen? Is that something that interests you?

CAGE: No, I love Face/Off too. And I think Face/Off is a sequel that lends itself to a lot of twists and turns and unpredictability. It’s almost like if you factor in the idea of offspring, and Castor and Sean having children, and these children grow up, then it becomes like three-dimensional chess, and then it’s not just the two – John Travolta and myself – it’s four of us ping-ponging and going at different levels, and it becomes even more complex. I think there’s a lot of fertile ground there. I had maybe one meeting in an office, but I haven’t heard anything since, so I don’t know.

If Adam is directing, I really want it to happen.

CAGE: Me too. He’s great and I think we share similar tastes. We have similar sensibilities. I liked everything he did with Godzilla vs.Kong and I think that he’s smart. He has respect for cinema and various kinds of iconography. I think it would be great.

Jumping into why I get to talk to you with The Old Way, most of the movie you are with your daughter, played by Ryan (Kiera Armstrong), and I think my favorite scene in the film is you teaching her to cry. I wanted to know as I was watching it – because I loved the scene so much – was that all scripted? How much was found in the moment?

CAGE: No, that was all in the script and we can credit (director) Brett Donowho for that. I thought it was a terrific scene too. In fact, that was one of the scenes that made me decide to jump in and make the movie outside of being my first Western and wanting to put that hat on after 45 years of doing this. But to me, at the heart of this story is a family drama, my favorite genre is family drama. Yes, it’s framed in the location and the period and the clothing of the traditional Western, but at the heart of it, it’s a story of a father and a daughter who are both social misfits, who are both trying to act like they belong in society, trying to act like they can feel and cry, trying to act like they can laugh at somebody’s jokes, but they really don’t have that.

I don’t know what the condition is. It’s never explained in the movie and they both have a propensity towards violence. But the idea that this family of Colton and Brooke go through a tragedy, go on the road together, and learn to love, that was compelling to me. And that scene in particular that you cited, that to me was, yes, it’s sad, but at the same time it’s hilarious because Ryan is so good in that scene. She had to intentionally act [badly], she’s a great actor. She’s trying to act like she can’t act to fit into society, and I thought it had a lot of heart.

To be honest with you, I laughed a lot watching it, like out loud laughing.

CAGE: Well, so was I. They had to cut around my laughter. She knew I was cracking up because I liked her fake crying so much. She’s so talented, Ryan. I mean she really is. For her age, the depth, the complexity, the maturity that she has in film performance is quite something to behold. I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of her. I hope so.

She’s very good. You two together are very good. Had you actually been offered Westerns prior to this and just said, “I don’t want to do it?”

CAGE: I don’t recall any Westerns being offered to me. Any. I don’t recall it at all. I really don’t. I don’t know. I think I would’ve looked at any Western very seriously. To me, it seemed like an easy match. People laugh when I say, “Grew up in California, and I live in Nevada.” But my point being, it wouldn’t be such a leap as if someone was inviting me to portray medieval England. That I could understand people may wonder, but this case was like, well, this area, I understand that. I feel like I speak with a bit of a Mojave drawl. I mean, it seemed like an easy match to me, and I am mystified that it took this long to happen, but I’m glad it did.

The first trailer for Renfield came out this morning and I could not be more excited. It looks, pardon my language, fucking awesome. I love your look in it. (Producer) Robert [Kirkman] told me that it was your idea to wear all the rings in the film. I’m just curious, could you talk a little bit about coming up with the look of Dracula?

CAGE: Well, I had a lot of help. There were a ton of super-talented people on that movie that helped design the look. We wanted it to be more homaging Christopher Lee. I favored Christopher Lee as Dracula and I liked his kind of ‘60s hairdo. But the wardrobe, the costume, no, I didn’t come up with the idea for the rings. That all came out of a wardrobe. They came in with all that. Maybe they sensed something in me that I would like that, but that was really their contribution.

Image via Universal

Because you’ve done so many roles throughout your career, what is it like getting the phone call, “Hey, we’re making a movie and we want you to play Dracula?”

CAGE: Well, first of all, I don’t know how you say no to Dracula, but two things come to mind. One, he’s a character that’s been done well many times and then been done poorly many times. So you want to be on the side of doing something well. And also, you want to be on the side of doing something fresh and something that pops. To me, because the movie’s really not about me, Dracula rather, I don’t have a lot of screen time. It’s really Nick Hoult’s movie and it’s about Renfield. I didn’t have the time, like the two-hour narrative to really dig deep into Dracula’s pathos, per se. It’s not that. But I did have enough screen time to be able to try to develop a pop art style to the character that, hopefully, will be a nice contribution to the other performers that have done it, that have had their take on this legendary character in both literature and cinema.

You can watch The Old Way in theaters now, and catch it again on VOD starting January 13. For more from Cage, check out Collider’s interview on his own rec, Pig, below:

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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