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PRIMAL Director Nick Powell’s Top Five Nicolas Cage Films

primal nicolas cage
The director of Nic Cage's latest thriller counts down his favourite performances from the star.


The ultimate hunter faces off against the ultimate predator in the action thrill-ride Primal! When Frank Walsh (Nicolas Cage), a hunter and collector of rare and exotic animals, bags a priceless white jaguar for a zoo, he figures it’ll be smooth sailing to a big payday. But the ship bearing Frank’s precious cargo has two predators caged in its hold: the cat, and a political assassin being extradited to the U.S. After the Mercenary breaks loose – and then frees the jaguar and a host of other exotic beasts – Frank feverishly stalks the ship’s cramped corridors in hot pursuit of his prey, as vicious monkeys, deadly snakes, and the elusive white jag cause chaos…

To celebrate the release of the Cage’s new animalistic actioner Primal on Digital Download 10 February and DVD 17 February, director Nick Powell is taking us through his top five roles from the iconic screen legend.


Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
leaving las vegas
My top five Nicolas Cage films are very different. This is the first that I think people would relate to Nic, if you’ve seen a lot of his movies. It was such a great movie and because of the Oscar (Best Actor, 1996 Academy Awards) it’s so iconic. I’ve watched it a few times, in the cinema and then when it came out again on DVD and since then too. With all these movies that I’ve picked, they are all very rewatchable and you notice something new. The first time I saw Leaving Las Vegas, I was in England at the cinema in London. I really like that he didn’t play up the drunken thing too much, it was just a very natural performance. It was that naturalist acting that Nic was really good at - it is just a virtuoso performance.



Raising Arizona (1987)
raising arizona
The next one for me is Raising Arizona, partly because it was so quirky and so different. It was one of those films where I looked at Nic and realised that he’s got such a range. This is a real comedy piece and he was funny but in a weird and quirky way that you wouldn’t really expect. Obviously, it’s a Coen Brothers’ movie and you do expect that from the Coen Brothers. The film had a great cast and this was a proper comedy with an out-there performance from Nic. The Coens obviously have a lot to do with that; it is a stylistic thing, but Nic also did an amazing job.



Matchstick Men (2003)
Matchstick Men
I think Matchstick Men is a vastly underrated movie in terms of both the director Ridley Scott and Nic’s work. It’s a great story but there is a sort of vulnerability that Nic can bring to a role. On the surface he’s in control but under the surface, the whole thing is chaotic and he’s trying to keep his life together. This bubbles through in the sub-textual acting he’s doing, especially with the connection to the daughter. There’s a great performance from Sam Rockwell as well and I think it’s just a vastly underrated movie that deserves a lot better. It’s another very different performance from Nic.



Adaptation (2002)
adaptation nicolas cage
Another great performance from Nic, where he plays twins, which is never easy to do. One character is introverted and neurotic and then you’ve got the opposite to do as well. To play twins is never easy; I think Tom Hardy did it very well in Legend not long ago. When you have both characters in the same scene and you’re playing off somebody who isn’t really there - I think Nic did it really well. It’s a very quirky, interesting and unusual movie with a great cast: Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper and Tilda Swinton. It’s one you can watch a few times for the performance and the intricacies of the characters, and never get bored.



Lord of War (2005)
lord of war
The last one is Lord of War. This is one of those where he is really in control of the performance all the way through. There’s something about it, he knows who he is and what he’s doing but there’s always the sub-textual stuff going on. With Nic, if he’s got a good role which is well-written, he’s playing so many aspects of it, like any good actor. All these characters were so well defined and once he’s got a really good character to bite into, he can play so many levels. He’s one of those actors with a real movie star quality.



Primal is on Digital Download 10 February and DVD 17 February 2020 from Lionsgate UK.

Amazon DVD: amzn.to/35AuEXs




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