While his decision making process still remains somewhat inscrutable, the undeniably talented Nicolas Cage always defies expectation. Undoubtedly, we’re excited for his pairing with David Gordon Green on the thriller “Joe,” which the director told us at Sundance was “a slow-burn, dark, heavy movie.” And last fall, when he signed up for the awesomely titled “I Am Wrath” with William Friedkin slated to direct, it was another project that showed that the actor was perhaps returning to the kind of material of his early career highlights.
While the project seemed unremarkable, with its plot seeing Cage play a man whose wife is murdered, and who sets out for vengeance against both the killers and a corrupt police department, let’s remember that on paper Friedkin’s “Killer Joe” is about a man who hires a hitman to kill his mother. And look how that turned out. But unfortunately, ‘Wrath’ won’t come pass. We sat down with a small group of journos to talk with Cage at the Berlin International Film Festival, and he revealed that the project was off the table.
“ ‘I Am Wrath’ is not going ahead, but not because of Billy — other issues came out of the whole process,” Cage revealed, also saying, “Billy [Friedkin] knows how important he is to me. It didn’t work on that one, for whatever reason, but I’m hopeful that one day it’ll happen.”
However, Cage not only hopes to work with Friedkin down the road, but also other legendary filmmakers he’s already had the chance to collaborate with. “But there are a lot of people I’d like to be reunited with: Paul Schrader, Werner [Herzog], these are heroes that I know I’ve done good work with and I know I could again, and I have no doubt that Friedkin and I would get up to something special,” he said. “I’d love to work with Tim [Burton] — that didn’t work out on ‘Superman,’ but is Tim one of my favorite directors? Absolutely.”
And always the genre fan, there is another filmmaker Cage wants to scratch off his bucket list — Roger Corman — and even more, he’s already met him to talk about it. “I had a great idea, and I tried to get it made. I said, ‘Roger, I want to do a 1960s Roger Corman film right now, I want to do everything the same, it’s an experiment. I want the same costumes, I want the same fog machine, I want the same blood and I want to go somewhere with you and make a classic Roger Corman film in 2013 or whenever.’ And we had a great meeting in New Orleans and it was good to go,” he explained. “I was up every night watching ‘Masque of the Red Death’ and ‘Premature Burial‘ and I was like, ‘This is so artistic and psychedelic and fantastic — I gotta be in that movie!’ And he is still with us! It’s like, ‘Come on guys, this guy is a legend — let’s make a movie together!’ And I can’t get the money.”
Good Lord, Hollywood, Roger Corman movies cost peanuts! Let’s hope that Cage/Corman collaboration happens because it would truly be something unique, above anything else. Anyway, watch “Masque Of The Red Death” and “Premature Burial” below, and then imagine Cage in the lead of both of them, and then you’ll know why this team-up needs to happen. —reporting by Jessica Kiang