Few working actors immediately conjure up images of eccentric behavior both in films and on set quite like Nicolas Cage, thanks in due part to his diverse resume of compelling characters. In the upcoming film Mom and Dad, Cage plays a father who, after a worldwide affliction causes parents to want to violently attack their children, sets his son and daughter in his crosshairs. One of the most impressive things about Cage's performance, according to writer/director Brian Taylor, is that Cage memorized the film's entire script long before ever setting foot on set.
"We did a table read of the movie before our first day of shooting, and that's where the actors sit around, we go through the script, and everybody makes notes," Taylor told ComicBook.com. "We're talking about things. He was completely off-book. He had the entire script memorized and he did the full table read at full intensity as if it was the movie. The other actors were just sort of, like, in awe. They'd never seen anything like this."
Taylor previously worked with Cage on Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, with the actor going so far as to paint his face like a skull, wear all-black contact lenses and sewed ancient relics into his clothing to embody the Marvel character, despite CGI being used to created the character's visage.
"This guy is very precise with his craft. No matter how bananas he looks on screen, it's a sort of controlled insanity," Taylor pointed out. "He's learned how to do it in a way that I don't think any other actor I've ever seen can do. That's how I'd answer that. His process is unique, but it's really, really effective."
Cage won an Oscar in 1996 for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas as a suicidal alcoholic who has decided to end his life by drinking himself to death. The actor has proven to be one of the more unpredictable talents out there, choosing to embrace roles in films like The Wicker Man, Season of the Witch, Bangkok Dangerous and Con Air. His choices of roles might seem unpredictable and surprising, yet Taylor claims these moves are all calculated.
"I've been rewatching the first season of Dexter lately, which I loved a lot. Cage kind of reminds me of that guy," Taylor admitted. "He's a serial killer, but he's a very disciplined and focused serial killer."
You can see Cage's performance in Mom and Dad when it hits theaters and VOD on January 19.