The famously, shall we say, unrestrained actor was asked to be "more concise" with his acting — thankfully, he did not comply.

Face/Off stands as one of the more bonkers blockbusters to come out of Hollywood and that's exactly what Nicolas Cage loves about it.

In a new interview with the Variety Award Circuit podcast, Cage discusses his new film Pig, for which he's garnering some of his best reviews in quite a while. The actor — though he prefers "thespian" since acting, he says, implies lying — reflects on his career, including the film that people most often associate with him, the 1997 John Woo thriller, Face/Off.

If like me, you've never seen Face/Off (I know, I know, I'm getting on it), the plot makes little to no sense but that's just part of the appeal!

Nic Cage plays a terrorist named Castor Troy and John Travolta is Sean Archer, a cop who after Troy kills his 5-year-old son, dedicates his life to capturing Troy. Six years later, in an attempt to find a bomb that a recently comatose Troy has planted somewhere in Los Angeles, Archer undergoes a secret face transplant surgery, and Troy responds in kind by swapping his mug for Archer's. Not only that, Troy decides to live as Archer, infiltrating his home, his job, and family, forcing Troy — er, that is Archer undercover as Troy — to try to save his family, and the city while looking like the very criminal threatening it.

And now we have a face/off!

"That movie was an interesting example of independent attitude and big-studio filmmaking," Cage says. "The fact that it worked, that it landed, and the public loved it, I was like, 'Okay, see, this is why we gotta make both. We can't give up on the independent movie.'"

Cage brought his own "independent attitude" to the role. Using his 1989 cult fave Vampire's Kiss as a sort of character lab, Cage "cherry-picked" what he thought worked from that indie and put it in this "enormous budget studio movie." He concedes it was a risky move that resulted in "some phone calls."

One particular scene inspired a call from producer Steven Reuther who asked Cage if he could be "more concise" with his acting.

"That was the scene in the jail cell where — god, it's such a trippy movie — where Sean Archer is pretending he's Castor Troy and so it was so ... cubist," he explains. "And I remember I was like, 'I'm Castor Troy!' And it went on and on, almost like a riot."

Cage says he "just kept going for it" and that's when he got the calls to reign it in. Luckily, John Woo was fully on board with letting Nic Cage be Nic Cage. The director showed him his 1990 film Bullet in the Head and that, according to Cage, "let me know how far I could go with him."

Credit: Everett Collection

But Cage might have gone a bit too far during his "I'm Castor Troy!" moment. He recalls leaving his corporeal form altogether.

"There was a moment in there where I think I actually left my body," Cage claims. "I got scared, am I acting or is this real? I can see it if I look at the movie, that one moment, it's in my eyes."

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