Nicolas Cage’s facial expressions are some of the many things we love about his unhinged performances. Vampire’s Kiss and Face/Off are definitely top three Cage face movies. Mandy is a contender too. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and Cage stars as a man avenging his girlfriend after they are attacked by an evil cult.
During the film’s midnight Q&A, Cage said he modeled one of his crazy faces in Mandy after Bruce Lee’s expressions in Enter the Dragon. In an interview with Cage and the filmmakers, Bloody-Disgusting got the details on Cage’s Bruce Lee homage.
“Bruce Lee has been a huge influence on me because my dad took me to the theater, I guess it was 72 so I was eight or nine,” Cage said.
“It was like seeing a superhero come to life. I was reading a lot of comic books but I had never seen anybody move like that. It became reality that there was such a thing as a superhero. But then, he was an actor and he was also a dancer. His facial expressions have always kind of been a part of my library of things I wanted to do in film performances.”
After Lee’s death, there was a lot of Brucesploitation, from actors named Bruce Le or Bruce Lo trying to fill his shoes. Some comedians imitate martial arts movies, with dubbing and exaggerated expressions. Cage understands the power behind Bruce Lee’s mad expression.
“I don’t mock,” Cage said. “Never. I’ve never mocked anybody. There’s nobody else like him. There never will be. Jackie and all those guys are cool but they’re never going to be the Golden Dragon. He just changed it all. He is probably the most influential performer since the ‘70s. You should look at the way he’s regarded online and the books he’s written. He was a genius.”
Longtime fans of Cage may know there is often an influence of classic Hollywood. Some, Cage said, are pretty obvious.
“I’m a real cinefile and a film enthusiast,” Cage said.
“I look back on the performances that influenced me or excited me. For a while there I was pretty much a ‘50s throwback. When I was doing Moonstruck, I was thinking about On The Waterfront and even got to the jacket that he was wearing. I got a call from Elia Kazan after he saw it and he wanted me to do the sequel to America America and play Stavros. He needed 25 million, we got 24 and then he decided he didn’t want to make the movie but it would’ve been amazing. So I’m always influenced.”
Mandy premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Look for is from Spectrevision and XYZ Films to see Cage unleash the dragon.