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Post Info TOPIC: NICOLAS CAGE DVD AUDIO COMMENTARY TRANSCRIPT: THE ROCK


Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

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Date: 2:17 PM, 02/19/11
NICOLAS CAGE DVD AUDIO COMMENTARY TRANSCRIPT: THE ROCK
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The Two Disc Collector's Edition DVD of The Rock features an audio commentary from actors Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris, ex navy seal Harry Humphries, director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

The following is my attempt at a transcript of the Nicolas Cage audio commentary.



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Part 1

I'm Nicolas Cage. On this track you will hear commentary by Michael Bay, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, ex navy seal Harry Humphries, Ed Harris and me.

I agreed to do the picture on the basis of working with Simpson and Bruckheimer, I had seen some of their other movies and felt that they were a very successful team, as well as trying to do things that were just a little bit different from what everyone else was doing, it was kind of timely.

[on the opening scene and Ed Harris' character]

I remember in the first scenes I was struck by Ed Harris' complex character he's not really a bad man at all and yet he's providing the antagonist thread in the picture. But somebody that we can feel for, somebody that we can identify with and understand. So in that regard I felt right off the bat stood out beyond your typical action genre piece.
 
[on the entrance of Stanley Goodspeed]

The entrance and the exit of any character in a movie is very important and I wanted to get as many different colors and shades about Stanley Goodspeed across in this first scene. I remember there was a line in the movie about Elton John's song The Rocket Man which really came out of nowhere, and it occurred to me for that line to work we would need to establish that Stanley Goodspeed was into music, really into music. And I thought it would really interesting to say he was a Beatlemaniac. And also I'd been noticing that I was becoming frustated with CDs. I didn't like compact discs because they start skipping and I'd long for the old LPs and I thought well, I'm going to put that into the character as well.

I take alot of my frustrations from life and inject my characters with them. The Rock was not a finished script when I came on board, and if anything I think Jerry really welcomed my ideas and that is unusual. I have time and time again been told 'that's crazy' or too off the wall, or offbeat, or always 'what are you talking about' you know, but Michael really encouraged it.

I think I like to hook into many different things when I'm designing a character and that includes research or pieces of information I may gather along the way. It's a combination of things, but it begins with the research, I kind of find clues that help me shape the character.

Beyond that, or on top of that, I'll start to get into movements and vocal inflections and rhythms and it really becomes more or less musical for me. This is something i've been moving towards over the years and now I feel quite comfortable with it on a musical level where I can find rhythms and really hit the notes, which are the words, in certain ways or a certain panache or sometimes I'll get into a mode where i don't want to think about it and I'll allow myself two bars of, I mean, metaphorical, a couple of sentences where I am not going to think about it at all. And whatever happens for me accidentally will be interesting for me, or not, and then I'll get back to what I've already choreographed or figured out beforehand. But for me it's all these things together, the skeleton though is basically musical.

What I don't plan or prepare is how I am going to come up with the organic goods to make it real, believable and feel like reality and truth, and that's more of a very sacrosanct place for me that I don't care to analyse, but I usually back up my already pre thought out delivery with the truth, it's a combination of the two.

I went to Washington and met with some of the people there and the one fellow in particular who is really a role model for Stanley Goodspeed, and they had some classified information and they had some unclassified information, but some of it that was really terrifying. There was 8 ounces of a poison that the Russians had developed that properly dispersed could exterminate everybody in the world three times over, 8 ounces it could just wipe everybody out. And he had a sad look in his eyes, he looked like a man who had things weighing heavily on him and I wondered what that must be like, to be somebody with the knowledge that this is in existence and could be used at anytime if it were in the wrong hands. And it occurred to me that this would be someone who would be worried about having children, and I became, I remember in the early rehearsals, interested in the idea that Stanley would be not that happy about this news. Originally Jerry was sort of into it but then he said no no, it's too dark and not positive enough, but then I sent the script to Robert Town and Town actually said no he should not want to have the baby, he should be concerned about the baby, and then Jerry thought ok let's go with it.

So that opened the door for me to get into some nuances and do a bit of writing where I could say you know, "marriage police pull over" and this whole sardonic, bewildered attitude which to me seemed more funny. I also liked the idea of playing the guitar, you know, the image of a man, a naked man with a guitar and a glass of wine at home seemed like a good image.

[On the scene where Carla tells Stanley she is pregnant]

This was a collaboration, Vanessa and I worked on it and really I wanted to be in purple speedos [laughing] because I wanted it to be just funny, I hadn't seen an actor walk around in purple speedos before and I thought it would be humorous.

Michael Bay would say it's because I'm in such good shape, sometimes he'll tease us, he'll say oh this actor wanted to be all tough and this or that, that's part of his style in frustrating people. No I realised again I only had a certain amount of time to establish that stanley Goodspeed was at home.

This kinetic style that I think Michael Bay has mastered just forces actors who are willing to go there to come up with the most original ideas in the shortest amount of time that they can, you have to always think on your feet to fit into this very contemporary style. Some days Michael would come to me and say "I need a line, come up with a line" and I wouldn't know, I'd say "Michael I can't think of any more dialogue today" and he would just say well let's just go through it and he would start shooting all these different lines, many of which were totally improvised.



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Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

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Date: 2:21 PM, 02/19/11
Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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Part 2

The shift that is occurring in films where many of the directors are coming out of the music videos, especially commercials, it's both fascinating and also for me a little bit sad.

[on the Sex scene]

I don't think anybody knew that I was gonna revamp the entire character, I don't think people knew that I was comfortable writing.
Words, I like words, I like the way words sound, I like funny words, I like to put words together and that really comes into, I guess, the writing aspect of acting for me. I like to play with words and I guess it comes from a sort of wacked sense of humour.

I guess at one time in my life I had a wild run and got into all kinds of experiences with different women and I remember I used to talk about different things with them and for some reason my mind would go into places where I would talk about Amaretto cream or peach sorbet or I guess I was a bit like cheap red wine where I would pull anything out to appeal to them in some way and in this scene I guess I pulled out some of those sayings I had from eons ago, I'm not like that any more, I'm a married man, but I still like to go back and pull these things out of my hat.


For me making action movies is sincere, I've always liked action movies, as a child I liked the James Bond movies, I've enjoyed the Leoni movies, i like the idea of not only transforming characters but transforming genres and constantly trying to do the unexpected. I admit I like to be able to keep people guessing. somebody said to me once I'd never be able to work in a big action type movie, or a movie which would be a blockbuster, that I was too quirky or unusual to really fit into that formula genre, and so immediately I felt like the gauntlet had been thrown down and wanted to say "no, I can do that as well, watch!" So there was a bit of that daredevil aspect to it.
At the same time I thought it was as far away from Leaving Las Vegas as I could go to do that, I like the acrobatics of that.

It's true that my father influenced in some ways Stanley Goodspeed. My father is a professor and a radical thinker, a brilliant man who can go off on to these tangents that are peppered with really colorful concepts and some of the things my father said to me as a child, he talked about champagne and how champagne was an accident and the Fransiscan monks and how they accidently carbonated a bottle of white wine and that's how it happened I pulled that out of the old library of memories and used that for Stanley Goodspeed.

It was also important to me to get the point across that Stanley really liked his job and stanley was happy being in the lab and doing chemisty, he really had no interest in going out in the field which was a complete role reversal from the original concept of the character. The original character was a cowboy, he wanted to get out there, it was taken, Simpson had seen Guarding Tess and he liked the idea of a frustrated secret service agent who was really beside himself working for the First Lady as the past and wanted to get out in the field, and he wanted to take that and put it into The Rock, and I really felt it would be more interesting if we took a man who was in love with his job and his chemistry and his science and just wanted to be there, and then throw him in the field and see what happens.

[On Sean Connery]

I had heard that Sean wanted to work with me, for me that was too good to be true, I mean, that was just one of those things that I had difficulty accepting because it was too much of a dream for me that a man of Connery's stature would really want to work with me, but by all accounts that was the case and I have to say it was terrific for me , to hear that.

Well I felt that Sean was a mountain of wisdom really, especially for this genre, and I was very clear in my mind that I was not going to go into 3 months of work with Sean Connery and not take advantage of the opportunity and ask him questions. And he stepped into the role as mentor in some ways for me. Which I think is as it should be, I hope in time I'll be able to have that experience with actors as well.

This scene, this interrogation scene I have with Sean I really became aware that Sean wanted to encourage the sort of Laurel and Hardy aspect between Goodspeed and Mason, he really wanted to get more into the play stuff and the kind of silly offbeat stuff and I think it was his willingness to go there, to encourage it, that made me feel free and that he was cool with it, you know, he felt that would be the life of the movie if we could play with it, have fun with it, kind of almost a slapstick groove together. He liked it that I changed the name to Stanley, I think it was originally Bill Goodspeed, and when I changed it to Stanley he immediately seemed to come to life about that, he liked that, he got into the like I said Stan Laurel and Hardy idea, and this scene really is the beginning of that chemistry, where we're more playful with each other than anything else. There is one thing in this scene, that that day I was telling Sean about Elvis Presley, there was this story going around that Elvis was into chimpanzee's and two way mirrors, because there is a two way mirror in the scene, and he would send a groupie in in white panties and say "why don't you go in and wrestle with that chimp in there" and then watch the girl wrestle with the chimp in white panties and Sean just started cracking up and so I said "why don't you go ahead and take those panties uh uh", that delivery but, "why don't you go ahead and take the handcuffs off please" and it really was coming from that, which I know sounds bizarre as hell but sometimes these ideas come from strange places.



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Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

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Date: 2:26 PM, 02/19/11
Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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Part 3


I remember there was one scene where somebody said "what does he need a gun for, he's a chemical freak" and I immediately took that and tied it into the musical thing, Ric James Superfreak, and it became chemical superfreak and got into that which was completely off the cuff but had to do with this was a guy that was really into music and into that kind of hip talk.

[On the hotel scene]

To be honest with you, that stuff with the homosexual hairdresser at the time I thought "ah, that's not going to work it's not going to be funny" but then I saw the movie and it was funny and I didn't get upset about it, I didn't think oh you know gays are going to be pissed off by this, you know I thought that it was fine. I think that all the humor that comes from the supporting players is really Michael Bay and his taste. Michael has a pretty terrific appreciation for off the wall humor, it's unusual really especially in such a successful filmmakers' tastes, I don't think he's safe at all when it comes to humor and I like that style.

[On the car chase scene]

Plus look a ferarri is doing battle with a Humvee, I mean you've got to watch that.

"Oh well why not" is a line I had that was improvised, it seems to accidentally encapsulate the whole idea behind the movie, or the more kinetic over the top action sequences, where you just sort of say, oh well why not, you know, let's go with it, and I like that about that, although I had no idea it would symbolize the whole tone of the piece, of this particular portion of the piece. For me it was a happy accident.

Well, alot of the shots are done in what they call poor man's process, where you are just sitting in the car and pretending like you're driving but you're not and that is the weirdest feeling in the world, you could say that's what you get paid for, that trying to make it feel real is almost impossible and you almost feel like a complete fool when you are doing it.

I like this sequence, I like this car chase sequence, I feel that Michael really shows what he's got in this because he's taking his style and formula that we've seen before with Bullet and we've seen it a million times before people trying to do their variation on it, and he really does make it his own and it's relentless, I really got a kick out of it when I saw it in the theater.

I think Sean Connery has what we call 'presence', part of that's natural it's something you either have or you don't, but I also think part of that, for him, was learned, and I think he learned it from an acting teacher who taught him about posture and how to become the center of any room that you walk into. I don't feel I have particularly good posture, but Sean always does, he's always standing upright, head squarely set on his shoulders, and he has this very grand presence that you immediately notice. He keeps it in alot of ways through golfing, I know he is a golf fanatic he's really passionate about golf, I really have no passion about golf, I don't really care, but he is passionate about golf and he says in a swing you have to be perfectly aligned to hit on the ball and that translates to him as an actor.

I think that Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer were very aware of what they wanted from me. They wanted me and Stan Goodspeed to supply the offbeat humour in the movie. And sometimes I found myself fighting that, sometimes I found myself wanting to be more tough, and Michael would say no it's not right now for you to do that, he will at the end you've got to go through a catharsis, you have to change, but I have to say I think of all the genres the action movie is really lack in character development, so in some ways it was also an experiment for me to try my hand at action and keep doing what I've been doing, you know to try to design characters and somehow make them fit in this format.

Through the majority of the movie I refused to swear. I wanted Stanley to try to come up with more interesting ways of being frustrated than standard swear words and I thought it was appropriate for him and his personality, he was kind of a boy scout of sorts, which, it put me in a situation where I had to come up with more interesting ways to show my frustration rather than swear words.

Sometimes I like to come up with different ideas on the spur of the moment, see how they work out and I did a prank fall in this scene where I'm walking over to this board and I just wanted to demonstrate that Stanley was out of his element in an unexpected way and I did, I fell down on my knees and got back up and had this kind of pissed off expression at myself for doing such an embarrassing act, but it was important to me that I show that Stanley really doesn't belong in this situation, he's not really meant to be in the field or to go swimming under water.
I also thought it would be really interesting to have him really vulnerable in the next scene when he's throwing up and worried.

I rarely improvise, in fact usually I think about a scene for 4 or 5 days and play with different angles on it It's like somebody once said, a good actor is a good rewriter. It would drive certain directors crazy if the script was a polished, finished, every word has been thought out work/ piece, but I don't really find that to be the case in most action movies, I find that they need the actors come in a fine tune and make them feel real.

There was one day where Michael wanted me to wear this suit, everybody got to wear these slick cool scuber diving outfits and he put me in this suit with this awful helmet and really ungainly like bubble apparatus and I just felt so ridiculous, and there's Sean you know looking all sleek and elegant in his scuber gear and I said to Michael why, do I have to where this bubble suit? And he I guess he found it very funny but there was always some little attachment to my wardrobe in this movie, some little knapsack on the back of my uniform with my chemical gear that I just wanted to lose you know, I said I look like a little Japanese school boy with this thing on, why are you making me wear these things?
Stanley Goodspeed really doesn't know who John Mason is at this point all he knows is he's a killer a psycho maniac and he really doesn't like being stuck with him.

[On the scene inside the rock /fibre optics]

This is the stuff that I liked all the accoutrements and the hardware I loved the way Michael shot that.

[On the first gunfight scene inside Alcatraz]

I wanted to demonstrate in this scene Goodspeed's horror of the killing and the shock of it. And you know this moment where I see the boy who's been shot, he falls and I didn't want to be a macho, I wanted Goodspeed to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown because I think it's important when there's killing and you're playing the hero that you don't just gloss over it that you register the impact of that, that you're I guess by some definition, responsible for it. There's too many times I've seen in movies people get killed and the body count goes up and there's just no regard to it. You don't think about the family of that person or all the suffering you just get off on the killing which is fine if it's done in such a stylized way that you kind of forget about it but I thought The Rock could be a bit more real than that and that's why I wanted Goodspeed to really be in horror.



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Date: 2:29 PM, 02/19/11
Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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Part 4


[On the fire in the tunnel scene / fireball explosion]

I did get close to jumping through a ring of fire when I was a kid I was obsessed with Evil Knieval, I would've been the star of my block but that wasn't allowed to happen

The fireball explosion was not an easy shot to get, it was very frightening, there were these giant jet burner things that just explode with a wall of flame that could really incinerate your head, I think there were like five of them, if either one of us had come up for air or just happened to float up in that three seconds when the fire was going we would have been fried. Sean wasn't happy about it he was pretty concerned about it as well, but Mike really wanted to get the shot, and you look at the movie and it's a great shot, it's as real as it gets, but probably one of the most terrifying days of my life.


[When Don passed away during filming]

When he died, I think everybody was told not to tell Michael until he'd finished the work, but nobody told me that. I went up to Michael and said "I'm sorry I'm having a hard time concentrating because of Don" and he said, "well what about Don" and I said "he's dead" and he thought I was joking and said, "well he was my friend, tell me you're kidding"
That was the first time I'd ever had an experience like that I'd never had to tell anybody that anybody had died before.


[On the scene dismantling a rocket]

The scene coming up with the dismantling of the rocket, Sean likes to go first, he likes to get his coverage out of the way before anybody else, and that's great you know that's in his contract and I'm fine with that. It usually is good because then I can figure out what the actor does and I can rehearse and rehearse and rehearse my part and come up with better ideas by the time the camera gets around on me. In this particular scene where I'm dismantling the rocket, I had so many lines and we shot for the whole day on Sean's side and I was just exhausted and I couldn't, my lines were starting to get like mud, I rehearsed it too much and it was losing all it's meaning for me. Sean looked at me and said 'let it go'. Then the camera came around and it was like magic.

One of the shades that I wanted, was really very similar to what Richard Dryfus had done in 'Jaws' when he's going through the breakdown of the shark attack victim at the beginning of the movie when he says, "do not smoke in here" and I remember it came out most clearly when I said "do not move that". Well I remember I sat here with Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay and played Jaws for them, and I said well look at this, this is how we can make Goodspeed more interesting, make him really interested in his work. So I mean I admit I steal from other places, I think actors should be allowed to do that. And in fact I ran into Richard later when we were up for the Oscars and I told him I had studied his work in Jaws for The Rock, and he said well which part did you play in The Rock, the convict, I think he thought I was blowing smoke up his ass but I wasn't, it was obvious that I did learn from some of what Dryfus had done in his movies.

One of the things that I do before I go on a talk show, which is really terrifying for me, I don't like talk shows, I find myself in complete denial and telling myself that I love pressure and I eat pressure for breakfast and I want more pressure, and I told Jerry Bruckheimer about that and I wanted to put it into the script, I wanted that to be a trade mark of the character.


[On the cart track scene]

This was not fun for me, I have a fear of heights, I really do, I don't like to be up high, I never have, and I was up pretty high in that little basket, I was never comfortable with it, I really was glad when they would wheel it back and bring me back to the ground [laughs] yeah, I hae trouble all the way round with that little scene, I didn't like it.


[On the monorail scene]

Actually this moment was very important to me, I wanted to make it very clear how difficult it was for Goodspeed to kill somebody and this was the first person I kill in the movie and it doesn't come easily. Again, when I saw the young man being shot that weighed heavily on me and also to kill someone, that weighed heavily on me. I thought that was a new way of approaching the action character.


Movies are truly a collaborative artform, and I know most directors don't agree with that, but they really are. I think that many actors shoot themselves in the foot because and they make it hard for the rest of us because they will go to dailies and go "oh I look terrible and oh reshoot it" and it's coming out of an irresponsible place. And that hurts us because directors don't want to show actors the footage or the dailies.


[on the scene where they are behind bars]

This is the scene where I had not worked out any dialogue and I really wanted to get the idea of the Russian poison where eight ounces dispersed exterminated the world, I really wanted to get that information in there but we shot it one way and I wasn't happy with it, I guess it was just too much of a downer at this point in the movie and they were looking for some humor and Michael kept pushing me to find the humor, so we were not working well together on this particular scene.
And I remember going to his trailer trying to come up with a particular way to play that scene, so I said, "why don't you show me some of the cut scenes preceding it?" and he said, "well it's not ready yet I don't want to show it to you".

Alot of actors run up against that where they're frustrated because they're denied the right to see the cut footage. And I said, "look, Michael it is a collaborative artform, we're a team, we're working together so if you show it to me I might come up with an idea that will help the movie" and he said "well ok, fine" and he showed it to me and that was when we luckily were able to get that line "I'd take pleasure in guttin you boy" from the marine and spin off on that into this whole kind of diatribe on you know 'i'm sixteen and i'm angry at my father' and 'shame on them' and all that I guess really condescending attitude from Goodspeed, which for me was fun to play.

But that really came out of Michael letting me see the previous scene. If he had not showed me I never would have got into that groove with Michael. And in this scene I say this phrase "in the name of Zeus' butthole" because my character doesn't swear, I heard it in my head almost like a rhythm or a musical thing. And I really wanted to hit those two words hard and also hit the word "maybe" hard, and I guess that's what I meant by musical, hitting my foot on the ground right after I say it it's almost percussion.
But you really have to learn to be objective, so that you can make the right choice. And I think Michael may have had a bad experience, but when he did show me that scene it really did help the movie as a whole.




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Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

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Date: 2:33 PM, 02/19/11
Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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Part 5

It's really an interesting question where your responsibility lies, with the budget and the acting and the spirit of collaboration, and on a 90 million dollar movie are you allowed to experiment?
And my argument is yeah, you've got 90 million dollars, spend the money where it counts and give the actors more time. I'm all about the actors and that's what I'm concerned about, so I would rather take the money and do a few more takes and get it right, or try something and then you have a collection of takes and experiments, and then you do your rough cut, and as everything seems to be today, go to your test screenings and see what the audience likes and doesn't like.

I mean Jerry Bruckheimer knows how to be a crowd pleaser. And he does that by really incorporating the audience and their reaction. The problem with that is on like other movies, like Leaving Las Vegas for example, you're making a more personal vision and you either like it or you don't, and Mike Figgis opted for a much smaller budget so that he could do his movie his way and that was it. If you think about movies like Citizen Kane, that movie would have been shot down by test screenings, it wasn't until later it was hailed as the great movie that it is now.

I may've gotten off the right track though, which is about where you're allowed to explore and improvise, the low budget movie or the big budget movie, and I say both places. On a smaller budget I feel like we're not you know spending all your money, let us try really new things and let's take a chance on it. And that's the way I've approached independent movies, as a lab to come up with ideas. But I find now that I've made some big budget movies like The Rock, I borrow so much from these smaller movies that there really is no difference. You just approach it with the same energy and the same creative place.


[on the scene where he has a gun pointing in his back]

This scene in a particular, this is a scene that I did two minutes after I wrote it in the trailer, I got on the set and I read the whole thing off a cue card because I wasn't sure what I was gonna say that day until I finished the scene, and Michael immediately wanted to strike that down, and I said "look Michael I've been doing this for years, I read off cue cards in times of pinch where you don't have time to memorize the lines, and sometimes you don't know what you're going to say and I need you to let me use cue cards." Finally he did, but at first he was really against it. He said he could see me reading but I don't believe it, I think that was just a phobia of his. You know this is an 80 million dollar movie, but I feel the creative process is really the same whether working on a big movie or a little movie. Atleast, I hope to try to make it the same and not be intimidated by all the money that we're spending.

Then also The Rock really taught me alot because of the style and the genre and what needs have to be met for it to work. It teaches you to be succinct, pristine in your choices or you'll get cut out. You have to really propel the plot and serve the script in these movies and so you're forced to come up with original ideas in the quickest amount of time possible. I think that's the most rewarding thing about doing these movies. But Michael again did encourage me to get more more far out with the character and be more humorous, and he also at the end of the day is the one that selects the right takes and the one that either pushes for the comedy or doesn't and I like his choices, I feel that he went out on a limb and took some chances and I'll always admire that.


[On the scene with the president]

I like Philip Baker Hall, he's an actor I worked with on Kiss Of Death and I'd seen him in a movie called Secret Honor by Robert Altman, it's one of my favourite performances so I was happy he was in this picture as well.


[On the death of Ed Harris' character]

Sean used to say go with the priority, I said well Sean here's a General he's been shot he's dying, do I play the horror of that or do I just get the information of where the last Rocket is, he said you've got the go with the priority. This was not the time in the movie where you dwell on the horror of death, at this point in the movie the audience wants to get going get moving let's save the day, and it would have been irresponsible of me to sit there and lament the horror of Ed Harrison's character dying like that, it was more appropriate in the other scene that we talked about, but in this case Sean kind of got me out of hot water


[On the Rocket Man scene]

This scene is really right on the edge of being over the top, in an entertaining way, and you go with the fun of saying, "You're the rocket man" and I didn't know how to make that work unless I could begin building Stanley Goodspeed's character from being a Beatle maniac, talking about being a chemical superfreak, talking about music, loving music, playing the guitar and that way I could say, "do you like Elton John's song Rocket Man, well it's you you're the rocket man" It had to come out of an organic place and not just out of anywhere which is where it really did at the beginning of the movie in the first script that I read. And then I said "how do you like how that shit works" which is really a tag, punchline. That's that real [sings] badaba bada bam attitude, but I went with it because of this particular case I guess it was right for the movie at that particular point in the movie, but it wasn't easy for me.


[On the rooftop defusing the rocket scene ]

This scene was the scene where Michael kept making me do over and over grabbing the pearl ball and looking at it, and I needed him to stop reset and do it over again. This was actually some of the first stuff we shot, and in fact we reshot it later at the end of the shoot when we'd got into step with each other and found our best way of working together, which really did happen. I love the way Michael shot this stuff, I love the way the ball looks, running for the ball, the leap, and they used it in the trailer, you can see his eye and his love of stuff, it's the way he photographs things, he makes them more interesting than they are, I mean all it is is a green ball!

This was a little weird for me, after all this lamenting this chemical that's so poisonous I just put it all in a crate, but there's no time you've got to hurry and go with the priority. But still it seems like I would have been a bit more ginger with all that poison. But anyway, what are you gonna do.
[scene with the green ball]
Michael Bay said look you're going to be in this movie now for about 15 minutes and there's no dialogue, I need you to say something so they know you're still there. So we did the 'I love pressure' thing.

This scene, let me tell you they wanted me to say something here that, I say "eat that you f***" which to me made sense, the character had become a hero, he had gone all the way and kind of just went for it and became gutteral and visceral and starting swearing and was just at the end of his rope, and the wanted me to say, "did i ever tell you I was going to be a Dad" tying back into the Carla scene and her being pregnant. I just, I remember Jerry called me and said would you just try it, it might work, and I said look I'll try it but it's not going to work, and Michael Bay knew it wasn't gonna work and we shot it and it didn't work and it's testimony to Bruckheimer because he said he wouldn't use it if it didn't work and in fact he didn't.




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Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

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Date: 2:35 PM, 02/19/11
Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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Part 6


[On the injecting himself scene]

How do you play being injected with atropine, what does that do to you, i didn't know so I got into the idea of Japanese kabuki where you could, you know, be a little bit larger than life there and do movement that would be a little more Kabuki like, like Harry Perry and stabbing yourself and kind of Japanese acting, and also The French Connection, there is a scene where Gene Hackman is injected or is going through some kind of withdrawal, he moves his legs in a certain way, I looked at that. Michael kept saying why do you keep talking about these things, what is it, why do you mention the French Connection? But I remember this things, these scenes from old movies that made a lasting impression on me and I tried it, I did this speed legs thing I call it, where I injected myself with atropine and my legs start kicking like a bicycle and then I stopped myself, but then Bruckheimer played it for test screening and I guess he got a laugh there he didn't want and so they cut it down, but I think it was interesting, I think it worked, it just wasn't the right audience for it. What you get is a more condensed version of it.


[on the scene with the flares]

This actually I got that idea from Matthew Modine in Birdy, there's a wonderful scene where Matthew is screaming after the birds get incinerated. The camera pulls up, there's a really good marriage between Alan Parker's character and Matthew Modine. I rather in that scene where I'm yelling at the jets I remember Michael Bay wanted me to cry, and I just thought that would not be appropriate, it's more sad to see a man try to yell to stop the jets, like even then he won't give up, than to cave and start feeling sorry for himself. I don't feel that would, the audience would not accept that.


[On the last scene at Alcatraz]

In this last scene in the movie we really demonstrate our friendship, I get Connery out of hot water and say you know "this is it, he's dead", and he's free. You can see how difficult it is for Mason to say thank you, I say there's clothes in room 26 which is a private message to my son because he was born on the 26th. Well I guess it's no longer private [laughs] atleast now he'll know it was him definitely he was thinking about.


[On the last scene in the movie]

I was not a fan of the last scene in the movie when we shot it. I really did not want that scene in the movie, but it is a coda, it is a tag to the end of the whole things and it smacks of sequel in some way, but then I saw the movie and I could see how much fun the audience got from this scene and it didn't offend me. It works somehow and that is kind of the great magic of Jerry Bruckheimer. He knows what he's doing and what he wants. He really wanted this scene in the movie. It was I think his idea. I was very pleased with it, pleasantly surprised.





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Audio transcript by Cagealot castle




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Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

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Date: 5:35 PM, 02/19/11
RE: Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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By the way, I know this is quite a read, so it may be easier for people to print it out!
At the top right of each poat is the drop down box labelled 'more', click on that and select 'Printer friendly' and you will be given a more printable version! flowerface

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Nicalicious

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Date: 6:31 PM, 02/19/11
RE: Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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That is quite amazing, Lula, that you did that. It must have taken forever to do, and the concentration would have driven me round the bend. Thanks so much. I really enjoyed reading this and I find it just fascinating.
I have always loved this movie, although it is a great action film, it is so much more, and I appreciate reading Nic's take on all the different scenes and how he approached things. I have read before that Michael Bay is a difficult man to work with, but it seems Nic can hold his own with someone like that and even develop a respect between them, probably because of his strength of character as an actor, he really doesn't seem to have an ego as an artist, just always working towards the good of the movie. And he always pays homage to the people he works with, not at all egocentric in his responses. I do admire that in him. I enjoy hearing from artists how they approach their work, and some actors just are not very expressive in that regard, so I appreciate Nic's thoughtful and detailed responses.

I assume this is from around the time of the movie, or was it done as a retrospective?

All  the thought he puts into his performance and how he will play things, the attention to detail, really interesting to see how he does it; the part about the music in particular was of particular interest to me, loved reading that. Lots of stuff to take note of in here, I will be rereading this many times, I am sure.
This is a great addition to our collection here, Lula, thank you so much for taking the time to transcribe this commentary.




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Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

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Date: 2:38 PM, 02/20/11
RE: Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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I am so glad you enjoyed it Lady Trueheart, it was a pleasure to do!
No substitute of course for listening to the full commentary in context! film

I agree with every part of all you said about Nic's commentary. I would only add that when I first heard it I was struck by Nic's openness and honesty and also the depth of insght we are given. For me this added a new layer of repect for Nic as an actor, and rather than it take away the magic or mystery (as Nic himself had said he was concerned about with DVD audio commentaries)  I found it gave me a far deeper experience of the film.

To learn the inside story about the way Nic painted or played the nuances of the character and the level of commitment that goes into bringing a character to life leaves me filled with silent admiration starry and as you all know I have this thing about Nic and writing...so probably the most thrilling of all is to know that Nic wrote his own lines and was as involved in the writing as he could be!starry

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Nicolicious

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Date: 1:07 PM, 03/18/11
RE: Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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Is this commentary on the Criterion Collection 2 Disc DVD set? I was just wondering because I've been thinking about getting the DVD myself since I haven't seen the movie in awhile, and I wanted to make sure I got the DVD with the commentary because I love commentaries, and you've got me really interested in this one!

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Faery Queen of Cagealot Castle

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Date: 11:57 AM, 03/21/11
RE: Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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Hi Quazie! It is well worth having the audio commentary in my opnion!film

The 'Two Disc Collector's Edition DVD' of The Rock features the audio commentary from actors Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris, ex navy seal Harry Humphries, director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. I am not sure if it is available on any other format. Hope that helps! starry

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Nicolicious

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Date: 1:45 PM, 03/27/11
RE: Nicolas Cage Audio Commentary: The Rock
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Thank you! It helps a lot! I very much apprciate it.



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