Exclusive: Nicolas Cage & Brian Taylor talk Mom & Dad and Ghost Rider 2

Part of the fun of attending a film festival like TIFF as part of the accredited media, is that you get access to a wide range of stars out there promoting their films. While I mostly stick to reviews, when the opportunity to sit down with the great Nicolas Cage presented itself, I couldn’t pass it up. Here’s my interview with Cage, and director Brian Taylor about their new film MOM AND DAD (READ MY REVIEW HERE), along with some insight into what went wrong (and right) with GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE.

CB: You guys were the kings of Midnight Madness yesterday, was this your first time attending that part of TIFF?

Brian Taylor: Well, it was mine, it’s the first time I’ve ever been to a film festival in any way, even as a fan, so it was a hell of a way to do it. That crowd was rocking.

CB: Nic, you were the king…

Nicolas Cage: Well, thank you. But the thing is, that audience is me. That’s who I make movies for. I don’t make them for me, I make them for them - they’re the real film enthusiasts. When I look at scripts, I think, is that a midnight movie? And I’ve been here a few times as you know, I feel the love and I love everybody back. I’m very serious about film-making, and these are the best audiences.

CB: Well, I think that you can tell the audience loved it, and actually had sympathy for your character (despite playing a parent trying to kill their child). Was that intentional?

BT: I rooted for the parents, I wanted them to kill the little brats, but I used to root for Wile E. Coyote to catch the Road Runner.

NC: I was the same way about Wile E. Coyote. I know that’s there and that’s why Brian cast me, because he understands my instrument. He knows how to utilize it, and I think I'm a user-friendly actor for him. It’s just there man, and I don’t know how to describe it, or why, but I could play the most evil person in the world, but there’s something in the heart that..I don’t learn it, it don’t study it, but it just is.

CB: Well, I’ve never seen an audience so in-tune with a performance. I dunno if you guys stayed and watched the movie…

NC: We did! Yeah man!

CB: They rode the levels with you…

NC: Yeah!

CB: Laughed at the right parts…

NC: Well, like I said, I am them. He (Brian) knows that.

BT: Part of the empathy is that he knows to play it as hunger. The parents aren’t going after the children because they hate them. They’re going after them because there’s this hunger they have no way to express.

CB: What gave you this idea anyways?

BT: Well, we are parents so you don’t have to go too far. But at the end of the day, both of us just want to make movies at the end of the day that we haven’t seen.

NC: What happened was, we went everywhere with this, but nobody had the guts to make the movie. You know Nick, Chartier, Voltage? He turned us down. SORRY SUCKER! He should have made the movie - I knew when I read the script. And by the way, I like Nick, I can say that because we’re friends, I read the script , and I knew right away this was punk rock, rebellious, outlaw, bad ass film-making, and I was like, why wouldn’t you make the movie? And he knew we were going to piss people off, but like, if anyone want to ask me why I made the movie, I was practicing my belief and emphasizing my right to have freedom of speech when it comes to film-making and art.

CB: It would be kind of pussy to say it goes too far, it’s fun…

BT: Yeah, it’s a roller coaster ride and it’s fun, and I think it actually gets more fun as it goes on, it kind of builds and builds, and takes you through some pretty harrowing places, until it kind of earns this the dramatic release at the end.

CB: Whose choice was it to bring in Lance Henricksen?

NC: I wanted Bill Devane! But, Lance and I go way back to VALLEY GIRL days, I remember taking him to the premiere, Lance was sitting in front of me, and I’m looking at VALLEY GIRL for the first time, beads of sweat coming down my head. I thought it was horrible! I was like, “oh my God, I’m a disaster, I’m an embarrassment, I’m a mess,” but then Lance turns around and looks at me and goes, “do you have any idea of what kind of actor you are?” I didn’t know what he meant…

CB: A great one man!

NC: Well, Lance empowered me.

CB: Brian, I’ve always followed you career, and I like the two of you together.

NC: I’ve been really obnoxious and bold. He’s my Kurosawa and I’m his Mifune. I’m actually serious about that. If you look at the way Kurosawa worked with Toshiro, you know what I’m talking about?

CB: Of course. By the way, I always thought your Ghost Rider movie (SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE) was under-appreciated.

BT: It was definitely under-appreciated!

CB: Yeah, but it wasn’t you guys totally unleashed though…

BT: We couldn’t be, GHOST RIDER should have been a rated-R movie. We did a lot of crazy, awesome things in that movie, but at the end of the day it wanted to be a rated-R movie, and it was just never gonna be allowed to be that.

CB: Well, you got it further than most…

NC: The problem with GHOST RIDER is that it’s misunderstood. The business doesn’t really get how successful that movie is. Do you have any idea what Mark and Brian did for the kind of below the line money they spent on it? Marvel doesn’t even get out of bed for those kind of dollars, and they rocked it. They did something original, it was adventuresome, it moved, it was a roller-coaster, and they did it below the line, I don’t even wanna tell you what it was, but that movie made over $200 million worldwide, and I don’t want to get into ancillary, video on demand, it was a success!

CB: People are too hung up on that though.

NC: Exactly, and that’s why I have to talk about it and set the record straight. That movie made money!

CB: Well, speaking for your fans, we don’t look at box office, and you’re a legend man.

NC: Thank you man!

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