In the new horror film Color Out of Space, Nicolas Cage plays an alpaca farmer whose family starts to undergo terrifying changes — both mental and physical — after a meteor lands in their front garden. The movie (in theaters Jan. 24) is directed and co-written by Richard Stanley, who made waves among genre fans with 1990’s Hardware and 1992’s Dust Devil but was then forced into semi-retirement after being fired from 1996’s The Island of Dr. Moreau. So, how did Cage wind up playing Nathan Gardner in this adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft short story The Colour Out of Space?
“I’ve always admired old science fiction,” the Oscar-winning actor tells EW. “You know, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Chambers’ The King in Yellow. I love that book. Lovecraft was inspired by that book, and I admire many of Lovecraft’s stories. There was something about his writing style that I found visceral, and it appealed to my imagination. So when I heard they were going to make The Colour Out of Space, I jumped at it, because I also like Richard Stanley’s work. In fact, I almost worked with him on a movie called Dust Devil a million years ago. When I found out that he was going to do it, I thought, well, he’s exactly the right person, because he always experiments with color in his movies. One of the aspects of Color Out of Space is that the color has to be something no one’s ever seen before. It’s not a color that exists on our spectrum. I’m not entirely sure we were able to get to that level, but I thought Richard was the right man for that.”
In Cage’s own words, Stanley hadn’t directed a movie in “a million years” — not that you’d know it from his set.
“I didn’t find him rusty at all,” Cage says.” I mean, I think for Richard it was important to bond with all the actors and take time and talk about everything, just to sort of break the ice. I was more like, ‘Let’s go!’ [Laughs] In rehearsal, I nearly broke out the script and wanted to get everybody up on their feet and start rehearsing the scenes, because I knew we didn’t have a ton of time. I wanted to get a flow and a rhythm. But I thought that Richard was totally on point, and I felt like he was more than enthusiastic to be back on set as director. I think he enjoyed that role, and I think he handled it in a perfect way. He’s my favorite sort of director, in that he doesn’t fix things that aren’t broken. He lets the scenes find themselves, and he goes with them, and he’s very supportive. That’s the first thing an actor needs, is a director he feels safe with, so I think he was beautiful in that aspect.”
Does that mean Cage would be happy to work with Stanley again?
“Oh, no doubt, no doubt,” the actor says. “And that’s an important thing for me. I like finding people I can work with, whether it’s actors or directors, where there’s an ease to it, and a flow to it, and nothing is forced. I’ve had that with other filmmakers. I had it with Paul Schrader, I had it with Panos Cosmatos, I have it with Richard.”
- Color Out of Space: On the set of Richard Stanley’s wild comeback
- Tommy Chong talks Color Out of Space
- The 10 best horror films of 2019