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Nicolas Cage Returns to New Orleans in Austin Stark's Directorial Debut 'The Runner'

Photo of Ben Travers By Ben Travers | Indiewire May 16, 2014 at 3:01PM

Returning to the city that houses his future grave site, Nicolas Cage has signed on to star in "The Runner" about a disgraced Louisiana Congressman.
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Joe, Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage has picked up another drama, signing on to star in Austin Stark's directorial debut "The Runner" about an idealistic but flawed Louisiana congressman whose career is ruined by a sex scandal shortly after the 2010 BP oil spill wreaked havoc down south. Production companies Paper Street Films and Back Lot Pictures announced the signing today.

"For my first film as a director, I'm honored to be working alongside one of the finest living actors, Nicolas Cage," Stark said in a statement. "'The Runner', a contemporary political drama, is new and exciting territory for Mr. Cage. I have no doubt he's going to deliver a powerful and poignant performance, as relevant as the film itself."

READ MORE: Here Are the Best Things Nicolas Cage Said During His Career-Spanning SXSW Talk

While Stark's directorial debut following his work as a producer on indies like "Infinitely Polar Bear" and "Happythankyoumoreplease" is exciting, the real story here is Nicolas Cage and his somewhat healthy obsession with the city of New Orleans. We're all well aware of Cage's brilliant performance in Werner Herzog's under-seen modern noir, "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans," as a corrupt cop who sees iguanas everywhere (and they see him). The film was intended to be the first of a trilogy before it cratered at the box office, forcing Herzog to take acting roles in films like "Jack Reacher" and Cage to look elsewhere for a career resurgance (history is repeating itself, however, as another impressive performance is being missed by many in "Joe").

Cage was also arrested In New Orleans after a too-public drunken spree in the French Quarter back in 2011, but most intriguing about the "Con Air" star's love of the swampy south is his decision to purchase two graves in a local cemetery in 2010. Shaped like a pyramid with a placard for visitors to kiss, the empty tomb awaits Cage in a gravesite filled with decorative -- but not Egyptian themed -- above-ground graves. Whether it's a tribute to "National Treasure," "Bad Lieutenant," or both is unknown, but the California native sure does like his time in NOLA.

We'll have to wait and see if "The Runner" proves a fruitful trip back.

This article is related to: Nic Cage, Nicolas Cage, Paper Street Films, Back Lot Pictures