Nicolas Cage has been on a tear lately. Realistically, he’s been on a tear most of his career. His performance in Mom and Dad, in which he destroyed a pool table while reciting the Hokey Pokey, verged on classic Cage greatness, while I’m chomping at the bit to see him in the supposedly incredible Mandy. And now, the news out of Cannes (where Mandy is playing in the Directors’ Fortnight section) is that he’s teaming up with Japanese director Sion Sono.
Anyone familiar with Sono will surely join me in saying “holy shit.”
Cage will star in the awesomely-titled post-apocalyptic action thriller Prisoners of the Ghostland, in what will also be Sono’s English-language debut. Per Deadline:
Ghostland, penned by Aaron Hendry and Safai, centers on notorious criminal Hero (Cage) who is sent to rescue an abducted girl who has disappeared into a dark supernatural universe. They must break the evil curse that binds them and escape the mysterious revenants that rule the Ghostland, an East-meets-West vortex of beauty and violence.
Now, anyone who’s anyone is a fan of Cage, of course, but Sono is yet to find an American audience outside a niche festival and genre crowd. That crowd, though - the Birth.Movies.Death staff included - is super into him: among his dozens of credits are yakuza rap musical Tokyo Tribe, blood-soaked tribute to 35mm Why Don’t You Play In Hell, Christmas family monster flick / singalong rock movie Love & Peace, four-hour upskirt-photography-and-Catholic-guilt epic Love Exposure, and notorious teen shocker Suicide Club. Hell, I’ve been a fan of Sono's for years and I haven’t even heard of half the films he’s made in that time. My dude released seven features in 2015 alone. It's hard to keep up.
Point is: Sion Sono is one of the most imaginative directors working today, constantly surprising with extreme genre material often filled with a weird sense of heart. Nicolas Cage is a perfect foil for his bizarro sensibility. Bring it on.