Hollywood actor, producer and director Nicholas Cage answers five questions during this tête-à-tête with Emirates Business 24|7 prior to the world premiere of his latest film, National Treasure.
What convinced you to sign on for National Treasure 2?
-- When they first presented the idea of Civil War, Confederate gold, John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln assassination, I was excited by all that. Then they said, ‘We have to ratchet it up from stealing the Declaration of Independence, so we thought this time you should kidnap the President of the United States’.
Did you want to do something new with the character?
-- My first question to Jerry Bruckheimer was, ‘It’s been three years. I’m not the same guy. How am I going to go back and do Ben Gates?’ And he said, ‘That’s it. The character has changed’. And the response I got at Disney was that I seem lighter and I’m smiling more and I’m happier.
Would you mind doing a third National Treasure?
-- With National Treasure, I believe that it should become more and more ‘International Treasure’. I was very happy to see that we went to London, England and Paris, France, but I’d like to see the movie go wider still. I’d like to go into Africa, Egypt, Asia, and keep going. My hope is that Ben is recruited and he gets a dossier from these other countries about their history, and has to download it and learn it, and then try to go on these hunts on their behalf. That would be a lot of fun for me.
Has there already been talk about a third film?
-- Yeah, absolutely. In this case, with Book of Secrets, we got into Zapotec. My personal interest, if you go to Belize and you see pyramids, is that they were apparently doing brain surgery if you look at some of the skulls.
If you could make any historical mystery in any country, what would it be?
-- Jerry Bruckheimer already did a movie on Arthur but I would like to see him go back into those areas and domains and try to really locate the actual person behind Merlin or the actual historical person behind Arthur and really look at that. I’m one of those people who believes with every myth, there is a kernel of truth so I’d be curious to see how that could relate.
Calling on all conspiracy buffs
by Bindu Rai
With this film premiering in the UAE before its release in the United States, you have got to watch it for the novelty value.
Nicholas Cage reprises his role of Benjamin Franklin, treasure hunter extraordinaire hot on the trail of 18 missing pages of a diary that implicate his great grandfather in the assassination of US President Abraham Lincoln, along with John Wilkes Booth. So conspiracy buff Ben, along with Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) and Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), go happily breaking into Buckingham Palace and White House. Needless to say, the CIA and MI6 need to reassess their security skills in this film.
And just when you thought this movie couldn’t suspend disbelief any further, you find the motley bunch kidnapping the US president to gain access to a book that could finally unravel the conspiracy around the death of JFK.
Yes, the plot is hackneyed and Cage seems like the perfect candidate for a mid-life crisis, but the movie does redeem itself at intervals. Also, the fast pace and Helen Mirren’s Tomb Raider antics save this film from relative doom. We just hope that a National Treasure Three isn’t in the offing in 2009.