The Oscar winner was inspired by Jack Nicholson's performance in 'The Shining'
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Mom and Dad

In writer-director Brian Taylor’s just-released horror movie-cum-jet black comedy Mom and Dad, Nicolas Cage plays Brent, a father who, along with many other parents, develops a sudden desire to murder his own offspring. How did the Leaving Las Vegas and National Treasure actor get involved with such a seemingly bizarre project?

“I had known Brian Taylor for a few years,” says Cage. “We had done Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and I had really enjoyed working with him, and we had been looking for something else to do for a while. Then we sent me this script, and as soon I read it, I realized that I could do something with it in a darkly humorous way. You know, Brian and I are both big fans of Stephen King’s work. He likes the aspect of his work where you take the mundane and turn it on its head, and I was also an enormous fan of Jack Nicholson’s performance in The Shining. I’d always wanted to do something where I could explore how much menace and humor I could bring into one performance in the way that I thought Nicholson had done.”

There is certainly something Nicholson-esque about Cage’s suburban patriarch as he desperately tries to get his homicidally-inclined hands on his two kids, played by Anne Winters and Zackary Arthur.

“I really wanted to see if we could take the audience on a ride with the Brent performance and let them know that, no matter how wrong it all was, that it was really coming from an absurdist place of comedy,” says Cage. “I wanted to utilize whatever I had developed in other performances in terms of acting style and see if I could go full operatic and more larger-than-life with the performance.”

Brent’s wife — who also wants to kill their kids — is played by Selma Blair, who seems to be having an equal amount of fun with the material.

“Selma has a tremendous presence on camera,” says Cage. “I really can’t take my eyes of her when I watch her onscreen. She has a kind of Lauren Bacall-like attractiveness, but underneath there’s a real danger there, or an ability to be unpredictable, and edgy, and dangerous. But also she knows how to be marvelously funny. She’s one of these actress that really you don’t know what they are going to do, and I always find that exhilarating.”

Cage’s upcoming movies include the Panos Cosmatos-directed Sundance film Mandy, the poster for which EW exclusively unveiled earlier in the week.

“Panos, I’d seen his first picture, Beyond the Black Rainbow, which affected me deeply,” says Cage. “I couldn’t sleep for almost a week after seeing it, because it really got into my psyche. He has a way of using colors, and style, and it’s truly his own and there aren’t many filmmakers like that, that have a vision, almost like a painter, and he took every detail very seriously, and put a tremendous amount of thought into every aspect of the process.”

Mom and Dad is now screening in theaters and is also available to watch on VOD and Digital Download. See the film’s trailer, above.

Mom and Dad
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