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Nicolas Cage: Vigilante with comic timing

Here's a NICe interview from Metro newspaper:

Nicolas Cage: Vigilante with comic timing

The star of new film Kick-Ass says although hes not obsessed with comics, he took inspiration from Batman for his hard-man role.

Contrary to popular opinion, Nicolas Cage is not a comic-book geek. He did once own a comic-book collection with an estimated value of $1.5million but hes also owned a string of supercars and one or two ancient homes and castles. Hes not a petrolhead, he just likes cars; hes not a medieval re-enactor, he just likes the period.

I know a lot of people think Im this comic-book nut but thats not really the case, he says ahead of the release of latest film Kick-Ass, a comic-book movie. Im more interested in the old horror comics than superheroes, although Ive always liked Superman.

Casting an eye across Cages CV, its true he has indulged only a smattering of comic-book fare, such as Ghost Rider (to which he hopes to do a sequel).

He also almost played Superman in a Tim Burton/Kevin Smith version that never materialised. But he is well versed in the genre.

For his latest performance as a disgruntled ex-cop who trains his daughter in the assassins arts he transforms into an off-kilter Adam West.

In Kick-Ass my two characters, the cop, Damon, and his alter ego, Big Daddy, are like two separate personalities, says the 46-year-old, and it occurred to me they would have two very different kinds of energies. Damon is this gentle, shy, soft-spoken, bland guy but when hes Big Daddy hes able to get the job done. And looking at the landscape of superheroes, Adam West, the classic Batman from TV for my generation, it made sense for Big Daddy to draw inspiration from him as he transforms himself.

And that transformed character kicks a lot of ass. Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust), who also wrote the script alongside comic-book creator Mark Millar and old-friend Jane Goldman, the film charts the story of Dave Lizewski (played by young Londoner Aaron Johnson), a wannabe superhero who calls himself Kick-Ass and enters into adventures that bring him into contact with an underground world of shady drug barons and tough street vigilantes, namely Big Daddy and his hard-as-nails daughter, Hit Girl (played by excellent newcomer Chloe Moretz).

Its pretty dark in places and quite a lot of fun, continues Cage. Getting the tone right is important, because when you read in the script that the introduction to Big Daddy and Hit-Girl is her in a Kevlar vest and him firing rounds into her chest, thats pretty difficult material.

In fact, when Cage first came across that scene he began to have doubts about the movie. But then I got the humour that Matthew was after. That relationship between Big Daddy and his daughter, well, I think there are many parents who think they are doing the best for their children but who are actually doing the worst for them. So this is like an extreme take on that; a father who thinks he is protecting his child by teaching her to be a vigilante. Theres a real ironic, comedic attitude to this movie, which is largely what appealed to me about it.

Another part of the films appeal was that it was filmed in England. Cage and his wife, Alice Kim, have bought a house in Bath and have embraced life in their new city, with Cage turning on the Christmas lights. I love it in your country, Cage beams. I feel my ancestors are there. My mother is of German descent and my father is Italian, and I have always thought that with the Romans and the Saxons, my ancestors probably came from England.

Cage does have a fascination with medieval history he recently shot medieval adventure Season Of The Witch and Merlin-infused The Sorcerers Apprentice although he sold his Gothic castle in Germany because of financial problems. It sounds really grand to own a castle but youve got to realise it was run down and needed to be restored.

Indeed, Cages financial plight means hes working non-stop, although hes still finding roles that appeal to his non-conformist nature. Next month, hell appear in Bad Lieutenant, a remake of the 1992 Abel Ferrara film, directed by the acclaimed Werner Herzog.

Its quite different from the original film and very dark, he says. Its like Kick-Ass is for the 8pm audience, while Bad Lieutenant is for the midnight audience. He smiles. I like that audience, too.


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