Nicolas Cage’s newest movie Mandy is a bloody good time that’s been a surprise festival hit with its off-kilter take on the slasher genre. Director Panos Cosmatos’ revenge thriller is some simple run-of-the-mill cult madness that gets torn up by an axe-wielding (among other things) lumberjack out to make things right.
Or at least, very, very wrong. Cage is no stranger to odd performances, but this is perhaps the darkest the actor has gone in a while — even counting the kid-killing horror Mom and Dad. So what depths did the Oscar-winner plumb in order to figure out the character?
According to Entertainment Weekly, Cage had a very specific point of reference for his deranged performance. “It was a good chance to go through a narrative and have a transformation of sorts,” said Cage. “Before he drinks that supernatural drug, or whatever it is, his fighting style is more ferocious, is more cat-like and feral.” But that didn’t last for long.
“Whereas after the drug,” the actor said, “there’s a transformation where he becomes almost like a golem, the ancient Jewish golem that was a supernatural statue that came to life. And I think Panos wanted that, he wanted me to be almost like Jason-esque, you know, from those horror films that were so popular. Panos and I really both decided what the graph of the performance would be. How much more Jason-esque is he there? Or like a statue there? We built this both together.”
The towering, silent, seemingly immortal killer from the Friday the 13th series (and Freddy’s horror film peer/rival) is certainly someone who could lend a lot of inspiration to a performance — especially if it involved lots and lots of blood. Now to hope Mandy gets just as many gory sequels — no hockey mask needed.
Mandy hacks and slashes into theaters on Sept. 14.