Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:
I have never concealed my nuttiness for Nic Cage. And I don’t mean indie-drama, alcoholic downbeat Nic Cage, but bug-eyed, wig-wearing, attention-deficit-crazed Nicolas Cage. Or maybe I just have a thing for bad wigs. (William Shatner and the late Wally George are also faves. But then there’s Burt Reynolds, who never did much for me.) Nicolas Cage in 3D is a dream come true. Just give me one massive closeup of his face in full freakout mode. Summit’s DRIVE ANGRY, which based on the big-screen logo they showed is not merely going to be called DRIVE ANGRY, or even DRIVE ANGRY 3D, but rather DRIVE ANGRY SHOT IN 3D, sounded on paper like a DEATH WISH-type story. But then they roll the preview: “He escaped from Hell.”
Wait, what? Is this metaphorical? Nope. That’s William Fichtner as a demon named The Accountant. Seems that Satanists killed Cage’s daughter, and are planning to sacrifice her baby. Also, Cage is named “Milton,” as in PARADISE LOST.
Cage is driving into the camera in 3-D. Now pointing his shotgun at a fat bloody dude, who says, “It’s too late! First full moon, she’s dead, and hell’s gonna walk the earth!”
Cage: “Hell already is walking the earth.” BLAM!
Shotgun blasts into camera. Explosions. Air conditioner falling onto some guy’s head, in 3-D.
Cage is wearing yet another horrible hairpiece, this one straggly blond. I’m lovin’ it, Cage with a massive, fantasy-looking shotgun. Fichtner: “How did you get out with the God-killer?” Cage: “I just walked in and took it.” He fires it at Fichtner. In bullet-time style, Fichtner dodges in slo-mo, and the bullet grazes his cheek.
Amber Heard looks ridiculously movie-star beautiful.
Cage’s car has a bumper sticker reading “I brake 4 pussy.”
Amber: “Anyone NOT tryin’ to kill you?” Cage: “I need to reload. You drive.”
Trailer plays well with this crowd.
Panel: Director Patrick Lussier (MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D, which was mostly lame; hope this is better, and with Cage, how could it not be?). Amber Heard. William Fichtner. And Nicolas Cage. OMG he’s wearing what looks like a bad rug right now! Awesome.
Lussier says he was inspired by ’70s car chase movies like VANISHING POINT and DUEL. Needed to be sure 3D cameras would work with moving vehicles, as there were no CG cars used.
Cage: “It’s no secret I like characters that raise more questions than answers. He’s still a mystery to me in many ways…He doesn’t do drugs, but he does enjoy a bit of sugar now and then.” (The way he says it, I think “sugar” may be a euphemism.)
Cage was very attracted to the idea of 3D, wanting to know “what moves I could do that might go into the fourth row of the audience.” (Dude, you do that already in 2D.)
The actors did a lot of their own driving. Fichtner: “I didn’t get to drive the muscle cars as much as my costars – I did get to drive a hydrogen tanker, which was pretty exciting.”
Cage: “It’s no secret I like to drive, and drive fast.” Was worried in this one only because stuntwomen, and Amber, were often on the hood while he was actually driving 80-100 mph.
The movie title comes from a line in GROUNDHOG DAY: “Don’t drive angry.”
On set, did Cage asked more like a Big Daddy or Bad Lieutenant? Herad: “A little bit of both.” Prior to working with Cage, she called a mutual friend and asked: “is he gonna be a total creep?” But now she wants to work more with him.
Would Cage recommend living in Louisiana, and does he know how much a haunted mansion costs? He absolutely recommends it, especially in a haunted mansion…but doesn’t know how much they cost, alas.
Considering this and GHOST RIDER, does he have a specific fascination with beating the devil or escaping from Hell? Cage: “You mean like what’s happening to me right now?” Big laughs. “If I can play characters that have a supernatural element to them, it opens up my options.” Says when you play a supernatural character, or one who’s high on drugs, it gives you more things you can do. “The other way is to play someone who’s completely insane…and that’s next.”
What are Cage’s favorite movies to watch over and over again? Anything Kubrick, especially 2001. (Good man. That’s my favorite movie too. And Tom Hanks’.)
Heard did many of her own stunts, which was part of the appeal. “Maybe that’s the Texas in me.” Fichtner adds “And the Buffalo, New York in me!”
What type of role does Cage enjoy most? He says all kinds. He loves his roots in independently produced dramas, but “I love it all, I don;’t wanna go through my career with one hand toed behind my back.”
Indeed not. We’d lose 50% of those wild gesticulations that way.
Panel ends by showing the trailer again – it plays better the second time. The Satan stuff kinda threw me for a loop the first time, but now that I’m clear on the concept, I understood it a bit better. Not that plot probably matters too much. But hey, it can’t hurt.