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Nicolas Cage's best Christmas present ever was a giant wooden Pinocchio puppet which grew out of the ground. Nic was amazed to see his Christmas present appear from the back garden when he was four years old. Cage, 36, recalls, "I used to have a toy Pinocchio that was riding a car, but his head fell off. My father planted it in the garden, I didn't know why, then on Christmas day it grew out, this four foot tall wooden Pinocchio." He adds, "After that I was planting all my Hot Wheels and all these toys, hoping they would grow into giant cars, but I guess what my dad was really trying to do was teach me to use my imagination." »
Nicolas Cage almost cried when he first read the screenplay to his new movie Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001). The heart-throb admits that the love story between a Greek beauty and an Italian soldier was almost too much for him to take in. He explains, "When I first read the script I was very emotional. I don't know why. I think I was moved by the story's romantic aspects. It seemed to me to be unlike anything I'd done before. I've normally avoided period pictures. I've felt inherently I was a contemporary person." »
Hard-nosed actor Nicolas Cage (photos) doesn't like being the nice guy - he prefers playing characters with a darker edge. Cage, who won an Oscar for his role as a suicidal alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas (1995), finds truths in characters classed as 'baddies'. He says, "I like flawed characters because somewhere in them I see more of the truth." He's about to begin work on a new film in which he plays two roles, a man and his imaginary twin brother, a role Cage describes as "two sexually frustrated fat guys who may not really be fat". Cage will have to put on about 20 pounds for the roles and says he's a bit worried about giving up his usual exercise regime. He adds, "It helps me relieve stress. I start getting really paranoid when I'm not working out. It won't be the most pleasant time for me." »
Actor Christian Bale was so thrilled when he received his own private jet while making Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), he flew his wife Sibi Blazic all over the world and took snapshots. Bale has always dreamed of having his own jet and admitted he was disappointed when he learned Corelli co-stars Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz both had planes - and he didn't. He says, "I was like, `Oh, I'm on Olympic Airlines?' So they sent me my own private jet. I was over the moon about it and my wife and I had all these shots taken with the plane." »
Eddie Murphy has become the latest celebrity to support striking actors, donating $100, 000 to the Screen Actors Guild Foundation's strike relief fund. Eddie's gift brings donations from A-list SAG members up to $900, 000. The fund, which helps support commercial actors during the months they've been unable to work, has received huge donations from stars including Harrison Ford, Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey, Bruce Willis and Nicolas Cage. Elizabeth Hurley, publicly condemned by SAG for breaking the strike by shooting an Estee Lauder ad, has donated $25, 000 to the fund, and written a letter to the Guild telling them, "I didn't intend to cross the picket line." »
Elizabeth Hurley has penned a formal apology to the Screen Actors Guild and has promised to make a "significant contribution" to the strike fund after breaking the union's commercial strike. Liz, who attended the premiere for her new film Bedazzled (2000) in Los Angeles Tuesday night, has been publicly condemned by SAG for starring in an Estee Lauder ad during the lengthy strike over unfair pay for commercial actors. Now Hurley, who has been told she could face being kicked out of the Screen Actors Guild - an unprecedented move for the guild - is desperately trying to salvage her Hollywood reputation by writing a letter of apology to the union, and joining the likes of Nicolas Cage, Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey by shelling out to help the fund. A spokesman for SAG says, "Elizabeth Hurley has written a letter of apology and has promised to make a `significant contribution' to the strike fund. She has expressed regret, but is definitely going to have to appear before the board." »
Nicolas Cage is always Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) - unless he has to deal with a manual transmission. The actor was stuck in a London restaurant recently and had to call out for a substitute driver because he couldn't get to grips with his flashy rented Saab Turbo. Self-employed designated driver Aubrey, favoured by Tom Cruise when the superstar is in London, was called out to help Cage get back to his hotel. Aubrey says, "There's a low-key exclusive club, of which I'm a member, which means the big shots can call me out to help them get home if they've drunk too much to drive or simply find it's too late. Nicolas Cage called because he wasn't happy with his car and I had to drive him home. I arrive on my moped, which folds up, put it in the boot, drive the client home and then leave on my moped. The best client is Tom Cruise - he uses me because he hates driving, but he loves to speed about. He sits in the front and asks me to step on it and seems completely unfazed as I whizz around." »
Nicolas Cage has revealed that the best research he's ever done for a part involved getting very drunk in Ireland. Cage went to Dublin for a two-week drinking binge for his role in Leaving Las Vegas (1995). The actor who played a Irish alcoholic in the movie, drank a 'ferocious' amount of Guinness and got a pal to videotape him under the influence so he could study the footage later. The star who won an Oscar in 1996 for his part in the movie, admitted that it was being away from home that gave him his drinking freedom. He says, "That's the beauty of staying in a hotel; you can drink and drink until you fall over, and no one need see you. I must admit, it was one of the most enjoyable pieces of research I've ever had to do for a part." »
Nicolas Cage looks all set to wear green makeup, fly around on a mechanical bat and lob exploding pumpkins - if he accepts the role of super-villain the Green Goblin in the upcoming big-screen version of Marvel comics' Spider-Man (2001). According to the spidermanhype.com website, the same source that tipped them to Tobey Maguire's nailing down the title role, has informed them that Cage is negotiating to play the Green Goblin. Director Sam Raimi had previously revealed that Spiderman would see the webslinger battling both the Green Goblin and the multi-armed Dr. Octopus. »
Actor Nicolas Cage is so desperate for privacy that he has bought his own Bahamian island. The star got a taste for island life whilst filming the movie version of Louis de Bernieres' novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001) on the Greek island of Cephalonia. The actor bought his very own 50 acre island from top island broker Dr. Farhad Vladi, who has sold over 700 islands to the rich and famous. Vladi says, "It's very isolated, very beautiful with wonderful fauna. We flew there by helicopter - me and Nicolas and his wife, actress Patricia Arquette - and within a few minutes of landing I could see the look on their faces that says 'Yes, at last, I can be happy here.'" The couple who were said to be on the brink of divorce last year, are looking forward to spending time alone on the island. »
Soccer hardman turned actor Vinnie Jones has landed a role starring opposite Hollywood's John Travolta - after the star hand-picked him for the movie. The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) star will pocket $3.2 million for his role in the $96 million blockbuster Swordfish (2001), which also stars Ben Affleck and will begin filming in September. Vinnie says, "This really is a dream come true. Travolta is a hero of mine and it's hard to believe he personally wanted me for this part." A friend adds, "Vinnie is over the moon and realizes he's made it into the big league. It's incredible to think how far he's come - he will have second billing in the film." Vinnie was back in Britain yesterday for the premiere of Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), in which he appears with Nicolas Cage. »
Barbra Streisand came out of retirement to sing for him and now it has been revealed Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro, Gwyneth Paltrow and Harrison Ford all give American presidential candidate Al Gore their cash. Although Gore is trailing to George W. Bush in the opinion polls the stars are queuing up to donate the legal maximum of $1, 000 to the election hopeful. The list of celebrities who have given money to Gore reads like a who's who of stardom - including 17 Oscar winners. Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, Jerry Seinfeld, Nicolas Cage, Sheryl Crow, Steven Spielberg and Tommy Lee Jones have all expressed their support for the Democrat financially. Bush can only boast celebrity support from singer Pat Boone and action movie hero Chuck Norris. The outside Green candidate Ralph Nader fares better, calling upon support from actors Paul Newman, Warren Beatty and Oscar-nominee Susan Sarandon. »
Christian Bale is having a miserable time filming Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001) - and he's losing weight fast because The Food's so awful. The British heart-throb is on the remote island of Kefalonia filming the romantic movie with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz. But friends of the American Psycho (2000) star claim he's very unhappy and only took the movie because his character Mandras was supposed to swim with dolphins. But a pal says, "That's the only part of the book, they've cut out from the film, so he's not going to get his chance to swim with dolphins. He hates The Food and I get e-mails every day from him saying that's he's lost another 5 pounds (2. 3kg) because he can't eat anything. He says the weather is too hot as well, he's not enjoying it at all." »
Nicolas Cage has revisited his youth by snapping up the same make of car he fell in love with as a teenager - a Triumph Spitfire. The Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) star, 36, spent hours as a youth sitting in his garage-bound car pretending the vehicle was roadworthy and he was driving along his local lanes. Cage explains, "My first car was a Triumph Spitfire. It was a beautiful little roadster in a faded yellow. But it also needed a lot of work. I couldn't get it registered, so I would sit in my car in the garage and pretend I was driving to the beach with the sun on my face. But the only light was this tiny bulb overhead." And when the car was finally registered Cage eventually gave up on his wheels. He adds, "I found out that this car was going to break down every week. So I gave up on it." But the actor is now re-living his carefree teenage years by splashing out on a newer version of the same model. Cage continues, "I found that car again a year ago and I bought it. I wanted it to know that it hadn't got the better of me." »
Nicolas Cage's new movie Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) has smashed Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) off the top of the box-office charts - but it's making the cops a little nervous. The flick, starring Cage and Angelina Jolie, made $25. 5 million over the weekend, and police officers are worried the popular film, which depicts the theft of 50 top-of-the-line cars, will serve as a tutorial to would-be car thieves on how to steal vehicles. One officer admits, "You get the impression car theft is simple, and that there isn't much risk involved. It shows how alarms are cut, how ignitions are started. It's worrying." »
Nicolas Cage has pulled out of the fifth instalment of the Superman films in frustration at constant delays. The Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) star was to have played the superhero in the role that shot Christopher Reeve to fame, but has given up waiting for Superman Lives to ever be made. He says, "At first it seemed like fun but too much time has passed. I wanted to part company with it." »
Like a stolen car driven into a chop shop during the dead of night, "Gone in 60 Seconds" has seen all of its major components stripped away. Gone are logic, character development and nuance; this is moviemaking pared to the bare essential of movement. But having streamlined this admittedly commercial vehicle for a fast boxoffice payoff, its producers have astonishingly failed to deliver the anticipated jolts and thrills. How can a movie about an auto-theft ring contain so few car chases?
Starring no fewer than three Academy Award-winning actors -- Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie and Robert Duvall -- and directed by video and commercial director Dominic Sena, "Gone" is an action movie without much action. So much footage is devoted to the design of the "boosts" -- the recruitment of thieves, tracking down of cars and establishment of their exact locations -- that there is time for only one substantial car chase during the final reel.
Disney can shrug off negative reviews for this Jerry Bruckheimer production as the cost of doing action-movie business. But what should worry the studio are downbeat reactions from young males disappointed with its PG-13 rated mildness and lack of hot action. Shots of parked cars just won't cut it with this bunch, so those huge opening-weekend grosses may take a dive once word-of-mouth gets around.
The film is based on a 1974 cult movie of the same name made by the late H.B. "Toby" Halicki, a Southern California car collector and junkyard owner. There wasn't much of a story in Halicki's indie film, but it featured a 40-minute extravaganza of revved-up chases and car wrecks, a giddy, what-the-hell destruction derby unequaled by any studio film.
How ironic is it that this new Hollywood version shies away from such profligacy? Its most conspicuous waste comes in forcing three Oscar winners to take a back seat to overpriced sports and luxury cars.
Cage plays a reformed car thief dragooned back into his old life when his kid brother, Giovanni Ribisi -- who has followed in his brother's footsteps -- messes up a big order. Unless Cage steals 50 cars in one night, malevolent businessman Christopher Eccleston will kill Ribisi. Cage recruits several old buddies including Duvall, Jolie and Chi McBride to perform this automotive mission impossible.
Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg throws every conceivable roadblock into Cage's path: auto-theft task force police detective Delroy Lindo, who vows to nail his arch nemesis; a rival gang of auto thieves murderously determined to enforce its territorial imperative; Ribisi's youthful teammates, who do more harm than good; and even a key-eating dog that must be force-fed laxatives to extricate three vital keys.
Rosenberg paints his characters in only primary colors, without moral shading or intriguing personality tics. Similarly, his setups reek of the obvious. If a license plate reads SNAKE, you can bet a snake is coiled up inside the car. And character backstories emerge at strange times, holding up rather than fueling the narrative drive.
Sena -- who made one previous foray into feature directing with 1993's "Kalifornia", an uneven though often-tense road drama -- fails to find his footing amid Rosenberg's haphazard dramaturgy. He never sustains a pace that would build dramatic conflict.
Technical contributions are adequate for the genre but not outstanding. Even the major chase is accomplished more in the editing room than on set as stunts are pieced together with quick cuts from hundreds of camera angles.
The movie's cars dominate like prima donnas that must be coddled rather than driven hard. Consequently, the stars are turned into supporting players, stuck with trying to make sense of Rosenberg's comic-book melodrama. Cage is in nearly every scene, while Jolie is scarcely in the movie. Yet their impact is the same: They are here to make love to their automobiles, wax rhapsodic about engine parts and get teary-eyed over gleaming pieces of chrome.
As a result, minor actors in
Ultimately, the film indulges in the wrong sins. It feels sluggish and tired when it should suffer from too much fuel-injected pep.
GONE IN 60 SECONDS
Buena Vista Pictures
and Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Mike Stenson
Director Dominic Sena
Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg
Executive producers Jonathan Hensleigh,
Director of photography Paul Cameron
Production designer Jeff Mann
Music Trevor Rabin
Costume designer Marlene Stewart
Editors Tom Muldoon, Chris Lebenzon
Memphis Raines Nicolas Cage
Kip Raines Giovanni Ribisi
Sara "Sway" Wayland Angelina Jolie
Detective Roland Castlebeck Delroy Lindo
Atley Jackson Will Patton
Otto Robert Duvall
Raymond Calitri Christopher Eccleston
Kenny Chi McBride
Running time -- 119 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
Nicolas Cage spent time with convicted car thieves in order to get into his role for Gone in 60 Seconds (2000). The Oscar-winning actor met with experts in order to learn the best ways to steal a car for the action thriller. He explains, "I did meet with car thieves. They were on probation and would come to the set with their probation officer. It would make me feel that I was made out of cardboard as I was meeting the real thing and I was just the actor." »
British actress Kate Winslet and Hollywood hunk Nicolas Cage are providing voice-overs for a new film of A CHRISTMAS CAROL Titanic (1997) star Winslet, 24, and Leaving Las Vegas (1995) star Cage are joining Notting Hill (1999)'s Rhys Ifans on the British project. SCROOGE will be played by Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) star Simon Callow. The movie, to be completed by next summer, is being co-financed by the FILM CONSORTIUM with NATIONAL LOTTERY backing. Combining hand-drawn animation with live action sequences involving Callow, the finished film is provisionally set for release around Christmas 2001. »
Actor Matt Damon has competition - Nicolas Cage and Christian Bale are both after his girl. Damon, who is reported to have split from Winona Ryder to date Spanish stunner PENELOPE CRUZ, now has two more suitors to battle against. Actor Christian Bale, is the latest in a long line of Cruz admirers, having signed on to play her love interest in the eagerly-awaited Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001). Bale, who will play MANDRAS - a local fisherman who plans to marry PELAGIA (Cruz) - finds his plans go astray when she falls in love with the Italian commander Corelli (Cage) in his absence. The movie is being directed by Shakespeare in Love (1998) director JOHN MADDEN. »
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