Nicolas Cage has revealed that parts of his performance in the crazy revenge thriller Mandy were inspired by Friday the 13th killer Jason Voorhees. Directed by Panos Cosmatos, Mandy follows Cage's character Red Miller - described as a "broken and haunted man" - as he goes on a berserk rampage of revenge against the religious sect who brutally slaughtered the love of his life. The movie currently carries a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviewers calling it everything from "visionary" to "mind-melting," while hailing Cage's performance as one of the best of his long, storied career.
Cage of course is known for his over-the-top acting in movies ranging from Con Air to The Wicker Man, but when the trailer for Mandy came out, it became clear that this particular Cage performance is even crazier than usual. In the trailer, a blood-spattered Cage rants and raves in grief over the death of his titular love, and goes to war against his enemies armed with a bizarre axe that looks like something out of Norse mythology. At one point, a chainsaw-wielding Cage does battle against a man armed with an even bigger chainsaw. It's that kind of movie.
Speaking to EW, Cage explained that he and Mandy director Cosmatos drew on a very strange - but oddly appropriate - source when working out how Cage's character should behave later on in the movie after he turns into a relentless killing machine. That strange inspiration? The hockey-masked killer Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies. Cage said:
"Before he drinks that supernatural drug, or whatever it is, his fighting style is more ferocious, is more cat-like and feral. Whereas after the drug, there’s a transformation where he becomes almost like a golem, the ancient Jewish golem that was a supernatural statue that came to life. And I think Panos wanted that, he wanted me to be almost like Jason-esque, you know, from those horror films that were so popular. Panos and I really both decided what the graph of the performance would be. How much more Jason-esque is he there? Or like a statue there? We built this both together.”
In most of the Friday the 13th movies, Jason Voorhees is essentially a mindless, soulless killing machine who has absolutely no human qualities left at all. The hulking Jason spends most of his time stalking his (usually) teenage victims with a relentlessness that is truly terrifying. It makes sense then that Cage and Cosmatos would turn to Jason for inspiration in working out how Red Miller should look and behave after he's taken the hallucinogen that unlocks his inner murderer, and allows him to seek revenge on the people who killed his Mandy.
When it comes to crazy things Cage has done in movies, channeling the faceless, silent killer from a series of slasher films isn't even that high on the list. This is after all the man who admitted his performance in Peggy Sue Got Married was inspired by the character of Pokey from Gumby. He also revealed that, in order to get angry enough for his performance in Mom and Dad, he thought about how much he hated "The Hokey Pokey" (a bit of genius that was later worked into the film). Now that he's done Jason Voorhees in Mandy, perhaps Cage could channel some other famous bad guys from horror movies in the future. Of course, there's one specific bad guy - not from a horror movie - Cage admits he would be game to try.
- Mandy (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018