18 Mar 2009
Nicholas Cage is back with digit-al thriller 'Knowing'
Nicholas Cage attends a screening of "Knowing."
His latest apocalyptic thriller, "Knowing," which hits theaters Friday, casts Cage as widower John Koestler.
Koestler's world is upended when his young son (Chandler Canterbury) stumbles on a long-buried piece of paper covered with numbers that accurately predict the death toll, date and location of every disaster in the last 50 years - as well as three more that have yet to happen.
"Knowing" has some of the most visceral, stomach-churning disaster sequences on film, especially a two-minute plane crash. Was that challenging to film?
It was both easy and difficult. Easy in that I really didn't have to act - I was genuinely concerned in that sequence because those people, although they're stunt people, they were on fire and I didn't want them to get hurt. If I'd made a mistake they'd have to go back to the beginning and light them back on fire. So the difficult part was not making a mistake. The easy part was I didn't have to act.
Any good souvenirs of Australia, where you filmed?
Mostly just photographs I took. I'd always wanted to see the saltwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory, in Kakadu near Darwin, and I brought my camera and got some good photographs. I also saw these marvelous lily pads, with what appear to be lotus blossoms, in black water.
"Knowing" has overt biblical overtones, especially at its climax. Religious yourself?
My father is baptized Catholic, as is my mother, but my spirituality is deeply personal to me, so I don't really discuss it.
The film also features staggeringly accurate predictions of the future: Do you believe in fortunetelling?
I have an open mind, and I believe that anything's possible. I have been told we only use 10% of our brains, so it's conceivable there have been people in the past or even now who can do these things.
Have you ever had your fortune told? I'll bet people offer predictions while you sign autographs.
That has come up, yeah. There have been people that have offered information I haven't really asked for.
You're clearly not averse to the esoteric, though you own "America's Most Haunted House," the Lalaurie House in New Orleans? Is that true?
It was indeed considered the "haunted mansion" in New Orleans. You know, other people have beachfront property; I have ghost front property - that's what I always say. I have not experienced anything, but I like a bit of mystery, and the house has such a mystery to it. Some of the stories about it are pretty horrific.
What made you want to own it, then?
I'm a child of California and I would go to Disneyland quite a bit - I consider myself something of a "Son of Walt" - and those memories had an impact on me. One of the greatest memories would be the haunted mansion at Anaheim, in New Orleans Square, no less. So for me to have the actual thing was the childhood fantasy come true.
But that's not your only unusual home. You collect castles - one in Bavaria, another in England and a replica in L.A.
My father built a little wooden castle for me when I was a small child in the backyard of my house in Long Beach, Calif. It was just this plywood castle, but I spent most of my days in it alone. I'd have my lunch in the castle. It's where I got a lot of work done in terms of my imagination, and that was like my training ground. I'm certain the reason I have the attraction to the castles I currently have is because of that.
You have been a single father, just like your "Knowing" character. What about your own children (Weston, 18, and Kal-El, 3)?
I have seen lot of movies with single mothers and their children. They're good, but there are not so many with capable single fathers. There seems to be this archetype, that if you're a man and single, you are incapable of raising a child, which I think needs to be broken. If you find yourself in that position - like I have - it's important not to give up because of what people tell you.
Did your relationship with your sons inspire any scenes in "Knowing?"
Some of the dialogue really came out of memories, scenes from my own life. The most specific example is probably the most, for me, poignant moment in the movie, when Chandler says, "Am I going to die?" and I say, "I'm never going to let that happen." There was something that had occurred with my son and he was really asking that, and I said "No" and he said. "Tell me what's going to happen if I do." That's amazing in itself that he had the guts to ask the big question in a moment of incredible fear so he could brace himself for what was happening. When that scene came up, I sort of just added those lines from my own photo album, if you will.
You co-wrote a comic book with your older son, Weston, and he's now lead singer of the death metal band Eyes of Nocturn. Any musical collaborations planned?
That's very much Weston's path, and his own thing. I have respect for that. It's a talent I admire which I was never able to do.