But Cage’s cast serves as an omen of the film’s gonzo style; the actor has long been known for playing eccentric, crazy-hearted characters in an adventurous genre fare, and he’s dubbed those crazy career maneuvers in recent years, from Panos Cosmatos to the deep red acid “Mandy” and Richard Stanley’s Madman “Color Out of Space” adaptation to the upcoming “Willy’s Wonderland”, in which he will face demonic animatronics in a Chuck E. Cheese-type family entertainment center.
“Ghostland” is ultimately a shotgun marriage between the director’s and star’s extravagant sensibilities – neither of which shows signs of softening with age.
Note: This interview was conducted by a translator and has been edited for consistency.
I know you already wanted to make your Hollywood debut with “Lords of Chaos” ten years ago. Does making a movie in English mean anything different now than it would have meant back then?
Compared to 10 years ago with “Lords of Chaos”, my feeling and my excitement about making a Hollywood movie was no different. It’s the same feeling. But this one, “Prisoners of the Ghostland”, even if it’s with Nicolas Cage and it’s my first film in English, [ended up] filming in Japan. It was actually a pretty funny and weird feeling, given the places we wanted to shoot the movie for so many years. I was like, “Is this really my first so-called American Hollywood movie?”
“Prisoners of the Ghostland” sounds like a particularly amazing start to make in English, as it mixes all of these Western genres, samurai and thrillers in a way that really speaks to that idea of “East meets West” cross-cultural exchange. How did you decide what to draw on and what genres influenced you?
First off, I’d like to explain that we are planning to shoot in Mexico, to create a classic type of tone, Spaghetti Western. But I had a heart attack, and it didn’t quite get out of the country. Everyone, including Nicolas Cage, said, “Why not shoot in Japan?” Everyone seemed to like it, so we ended up doing it.