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Post Info TOPIC: National Treasure: Book of Secrets - Part One, Nick Cage


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Posts: 6722
Date: 4:49 PM, 06/09/11
National Treasure: Book of Secrets - Part One, Nick Cage

This was interesting to read, I don't believe it has been posted here. Trying to find part 2, lol.

(Note the last line, this is from 2007.)

Ever notice that Nicholas Cage has never done a sequel before?  Yup, it’s true.  Well then what, you ask, has brought Nick back to the roll of historian Ben Gates?  Nick sat down with a group of journalists to discuss just that question as well as being a family man and the appeal of Bathonians.

“You change the treasure you change the story.”  Nick never likes to repeat himself.  He figures the sequel has to promise to be as good as or better than the original.  You have to raise the stakes, be more interesting. Cage sees Book of Secrets as a movie unto itself: new clues and new locations. A fan of Basil Rathbone and Sherlock Holmes, he sees Gates as the modern historical, archeological version of these classic characters. Additionally Cage had every confidence in director Jon Turteltaub: “[he] really cares about the story.” Turteltaub’s “genius” is that he has made movies without a gun that are entertaining for the whole family.  There are worse things to do that to inspire youngster to look in their history books.

It was the idea of incorporating the American Civil War, Confederate gold, John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln assassination into a new and exciting script that cinched Nick’s participation in the follow-up to the first National Treasure (2004). The writers one-upped the stealing the Declaration of Independence to kidnapping the President of the United States. Nick takes joy in the humor and absurdity of it. He added that casting Bruce Greenwood as the President lent believability to it all.  He thinks Bruce looks “marvelously Kenndey-esque” and has a terrific gift for comedy.

Nick came to uber-Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and asked: “It’s been 3 years.  I’m not the same guy.  How am I going to go back into Ben Gates?” Well that was the key.  It had been three years for Ben as well.  Word around Disney was that Ben was now lighter, smiling more, happier.  “The weight has been taken off the character. He’s been accepted academically, not considered a wacko anymore (from the first movie) so he feels happier.” What’s changed for Cage over the last three years? A result of being the dad of a young child his priorities have “improved.”   In fact his wife called during the Press Conference but he refrained from answering the call in front of all those journalists: “I KNOW you want me to talk.”

Nick gushed about his co-stars a bit.  First thing he said to Helen Mirren was how he loved her at Morgana le Fay in Excalibur (1981).  One of Cage’s strongest crushes was on the actress in that role.  “She’s down to earth, within two minutes she puts you at ease, funny and never takes herself too seriously.”  He “tipped” his hat to her that she was able to do something like The Queen, win the Oscar for it and then turn around and do an adventure film.  To him that showed a lot of spirit and zest for life.  He’d love to work with her on every movie

When speaking of Ed Harris he classified him as: “one of those actors who are brutally real on film, always has this gravitas that’s compelling.”  The pair had worked together on The Rock (1996) but had very little screen time together.

“I always said if you’re going to cast someone for my father cast the greatest actor in the world. They said ‘what about Jon Voight?’ And I said that works for me. Jerry always casts the best actors. Everyone got along very well.”  With the addition of Ed and Helen Nick knew they had the makings of something very exciting.

When the subject turned to Jerry Bruckheimer Cage described him as: like his logo he’s “always trying to capture lightening in a bottle.”  He gets actors together that he trusts.  Which comes in handy for what Nick calls “High-wire or no-net productions where you never really know what the dialogue is going to be until the last minute.  That’s enormously frustrating but at the same time it gives you a spontaneity and a buzz where everyone is electric together and he captures it.” 

Some traits that Nick and his character Ben share are: ancestry (Ben believes that everything he is is because of his ancestors.  They aren’t dead to him and he’s honoring them,) and history (Nick appreciates history now, probably as a result of playing Ben and enjoys being in places where he “feels the weight of past events”). Ancient history and civilizations is Nick’s personal interest. He remarked about some skulls found in Belize that indicated that some ancient societies were conducting brain surgeries.  “But that’s another movie I think.” He’d like to see Ben go some place like Easter Island. 

The most challenging scene to shoot was the balancing platform sequence: “a mathematical, physical conundrum to act”.  The actor had to try and keep in his head what happens in terms of “leverage and physics: if you step there and he goes up there or she goes down there.” The sequence took 3 weeks to shoot and had to be re-shot once or twice to get it to make sense.

There is a scene in the film where a plea is made to President regarding the upholding of the “office” of the President. “Ben is speaking what we all want to believe. In a way he’s charging the President ‘you took this office, this is oath.  Are you going to perform or not?’”.  A political hot potato this scene was a concern from day one for Cage.  Everyone realized the importance of it.  The writers, producers and Cage kept tweaking it.  They didn’t want it “to lapse into something overtly political or sentimental or maudlin.”  It was an “overture to the President to step up.” Nick believes you can “question Authority with manners and dignity. There’s no reason to be rude about it.”  You can continually request “clarity”.

*small spoiler* At the end of the film the President asks “what’s on page 47?”  Cage tried to come up with something intriguing and came up with “life altering.” So the writers have a difficult task ahead to find the right kind of event.

The question was brought up about working with Uncle Francis [Coppola] again.  The last time the two worked together was Peggy Sue Got Married 20 years ago in 1986.  If the call came with the opportunity to work together again Nick would love to. Recently he wrote his Uncle an email expressing his belief that “the world needs more of your movies.”  Speaking for a moment about his artistic family Nick reminded us that his grandfather Carmine Coppola played first-chair flute for Toscanini.  He recalls a time, two years ago, when he was asleep in a chair, with the TV playing and he awoke to the sound of his Grandfather playing “The Dance of the Blessed Spirits.” He felt like Carmine was talking to him.

Cage believes the power of film is intense and you have to think about it responsibly.  Keeping that in mind, he’s doing projects both in front of and behind the camera.  With his producing partner Norm Golightly, an enormous Police fan; there is a documentary in the works on the influential musicians. The band has been the soundtrack of Nick’s life professionally and personally (Stewart Copeland the composer for Rumble Fish [1983], the first sound you hear in Leaving Las Vegas [1995] is Sting).

In terms of acting: Bangkok Dangerous (the Pang Brothers film) is finished and looking for a release.  Nick likes that movie but he fears it’s not a film that studios or American audiences will be “comfortable” with.  “It’s an edgy film and it deals with an inter-racial relationship and it has difficult subject matter.”  Cage likes stories about cultures trying to communicate with and understand one another. He calls the Pang Brothers “gifted” and the people whose opinions he trusts say it’s the best work Cage’s done since The Weather Man (2005).

The subject of holiday plans and traditions came up.  This year he’s having a “Dickens Christmas” and taking everyone to Bath, England to see how Christmas is done there.  Why Bath?  When he’s in Bath he feels like he’s walking around a snow globe and in touch with the past. “With a little imagination, you can time travel.” And he’s always excited to meet people and ask “are you Bathonian?”

The best Christmas present he’s ever gotten was when he was young and his father was on sabbatical in Italy. Nick had a little toy car driven by Pinocchio.  Pinocchio’s head fell off the day before Christmas and his dad took the head and planted it in the garden.  The next morning a giant wooden Pinocchio “grew” in the spot where the head had been buried.  After that he started planting everything: all his Hot Wheels, his GI Joe slipper he thought would grow to enormous size so that he could put his sleeping bag in it.

Are we looking at a 3rd National Treasure? Possibly, “it should become more and more International Treasure.”  He was pleased that the story went to London and Paris in this one.  Nick would like to go into Africa, Egypt, Asia and further.  His hope is that Ben is “recruited”, receiving a “dossier from these other countries about their history and has to download it and learn it and then try and go on these hunts on their behalf.”  He mused that maybe they could go back into the Arthur myth, even though he knows Bruckheimer has already done a film on that subject matter.  Assuming of course the call doesn’t come through for a Ghost Rider sequel (which he’d do if the story was right, by the way).  But how likely is that, right?

-- Edited by Lady Trueheart on Thursday 9th of June 2011 04:51:07 PM




Status: Offline
Posts: 450
Date: 5:51 PM, 06/12/11
RE: National Treasure: Book of Secrets - Part One, Nick Cage

Lol, very likely as it happens! flaming

NICe to read this again Meg, especially in the light of  upcoming Spirit Of Vengeance! Thank you for posting. starry

Got to admit I am ridiculously keen to hear more on National Treasure 3...................

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