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During the first half of director Panos Cosmatos’ revenge thriller Mandy (out Sept. 14), Nicolas Cage delivers a very restrained performance as a lumberjack named Red who lives in a remote cabin with the love of his life, Andrea Riseborough’s Mandy. The film’s second half, however, finds the Oscar-winning actor in a very different mode. After Red and Mandy fall victim to a home invasion orchestrated by a cult leader (Linus Roache), Red embarks on a rampage of violence and mayhem fueled by both vengeance and a liquid hallucinogen. Cage tells EW that this latter gear was partly inspired by a very specific character: slasher icon Jason Voorhees, from the Friday the 13th horror franchise.
“It was a good chance to go through a narrative and have a transformation of sorts,” says the Con Air and National Treasure star. “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.”
Watch the trailer for Mandy above to get a glimpse of Cage’s wrath.