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Nicolas Cage is a Bad Lieutenant

Published November 19, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of First Look Pictures
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans kind of has a judgment right there in the title. He’s bad. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is the second film about such an officer. This time it stars Nicolas Cage as a lieutenant of questionable motives. Despite the title, Cage doesn’t judge him.

Nicolas Cage Talks Bad Lieutenant


“He just is,” Cage said. “I don’t judge him, or think of him as bad or good. It’s more existential. Not a part of any religious program, which is what I think separates it mostly from the other film. It just is.”

Some of Cage’s most intriguing work has been as wild and crazy characters. When he let loose as Bad Lieutenant, it was right in his wheelhouse. “I just felt I was in the zone, and came prepared, and did what I had to do. I thank Werner [Herzog] for letting me go. I didn’t need to be pushed, I didn’t need to be pulled, I just came in and did what I needed to do, and I thank Werner for having the guts to let me do it.”

Don’t call him crazy though. “A lot of people like to say things like ‘over-the-top,’ but you can’t say that about other art forms, such as a Picasso, or a Van Gogh. Why can’t it be the same with acting? In Leaving Las Vegas, I had a couple of drinks. I wanted to. I had prescribed scenes where I decided I would get drunk and anything goes. I’m glad I did it. But with Bad Lieutenant, I say that this is Impressionistic, because I was totally sober, and I was looking at a landscape from over 20 years ago, and I wasn’t sure I could do it. It was a challenge. But I believe that the filter of my instrument would give you something more exciting because it was Impressionistic.”

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans


Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

No alcohol for Bad Liuetenant. A little cocaine, but no liquor. “I was in Australia when I got the script. The strangest thing is that in Australia, they still use cocaine to clear your sinuses, and I had a massive sinus infection. I was trying to understand how to recall something from 100 years in my past, and I couldn’t get it, and then they sent me to the doctor, and he put this cocaine solution in my nose, then I came out and just started taking notes. I noticed that my mouth was getting really dry, and I was feeling very invincible, then I started doing the scenes, and improvising the scenes, and coming up with ideas, and swallowing a lot. Then I was graphing it in the script, finding scenes where he was doing coke, and figured out how to behave, to start swallowing a lot, or do a lot of lip smacking. Or scenes where he’d be doing heroin, and I figured he’d be very itchy, and there’s gonna be nodding, and he’s gonna be much slower. The problem is, I didn’t know when Werner was gonna cut the scene with me taking the heroin, or the scene with me taking the coke, so we’d have to regraph the whole direction of the performance.”

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans opens to theatres on November 20th.

For the trailer, poster and more movie info, go to the Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Movie Page.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of First Look Pictures
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