Fourteen years ago, Nicolas Cage made his directorial debut with “Sonny,” a small-scale drama starring James Franco about a soldier who returns home from war and falls into prostitution. Reviews weren’t kind, and the picture hardly did any business at the box office. But time heals all wounds, and Cage is getting back behind the camera.
Cage will direct and star in an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates‘ “Rape: A Love Story.” The movie, which will have the title changed to the slightly less provocative “Vengeance: A Love Story,” has a script from John Mankiewicz (“House,” “House of Cards“), with the story kicking off on the Fourth of July, when 12-year-old Bethie Maguire flags down Niagara Falls Police Detective John Dromoor (Nicolas Cage). Bethie’s mother, Teena, has been brutally raped by four meth heads, was left for dead, and is being nursed back to health by her mother, Agnes, a strong, fierce advocate for her daughter and granddaughter who has taken on the responsibility of caring for them at great risk, as the meth heads are let out of jail on bail. Bethie’s testimony, along with the evidence collected, should be enough to put the boys in jail for life. However, the parents of the rapists hire the nationally renowned criminal defense attorney, Jay Kirkpatrick, who shifts the focus of evidence away from the defendants and puts the spotlight on Teena, challenging her credibility based on her sobriety, shoddy parenting, and sexual promiscuity.
It’s timely material given the current national conversation around sexual assault, but let’s hope Cage can balance the sensitive dramatic elements with the pulpy crime aspects of the story. Production on “Vengeance: A Love Story” will start in Atlanta on April 4th.