Category: Interviews

It seems that the apple didn’t fall from the tree when it came to Nicolas Cage’s son Weston Cage Coppola. Not only has Weston followed in his father’s footsteps when it comes to acting but he is also the lead singer of a black metal band and is a martial arts expert that has seen him win a few belts along the way. Now Weston returns to the screen with his latest film, action flick Assault On VA-33 and he couldn’t be happier.

“I think it was the actual intensity of it,” says Weston as he chats about what it was about the screenplay for this movie that made him want to commit it. “It was so high octane and there was this amazing speed of urgency that seemed to develop for the protagonist. For every character in the film everything is just so complex and I just knew that I wanted to be involved.

Weston is certainly not the hero in this story; in fact he is very much the villain as he gets to play a Russian terrorist hell-bent on getting revenge on an American Military General. “His name is Adrian Rabikov and he is ex Russian military,” explains Weston as we start to discuss the in and outs of characters. “Essentially he just wants to know the whereabouts of his brother. His brother was kidnapped during an American military operation and he is doing everything that he can to find this General Welch who would know where his brother is.”

There is a harshness to Rabikov and Weston is quick to admit that he is not a very nice guy. “It is not uncommon for him to torture people,” he admits. “He is basically willing to conduct terrorist acts in a bid to get what he needs. I guess the relief for me to be able to play a terrorist was that in his eyes he sees himself as a freedom fighter. Because of the fact that he is looking for his brother that to me kind of makes him a redeemable villain, that helped make him somebody that I wanted to bring to the big screen.”

The complexity of the character meant that Weston had to work really hard when on set and he admits that there were times when he had to try and find a way to try and relax at the end of each day, especially after the torture scenes.

“When it came to the scenes with the hostages I just used to try and make them laugh between takes,” he says when we begin to talk about how intense things were on set. “I was really carrying a lot of frightening energy. The statement that my character was so intense that I felt like I had to try and make everybody laugh between takes so there was some kind of release for everybody. A couple of times I couldn’t but I tried to as much as I could because for all of those people in the background that scene felt so real.”

A lot of that intensity came from Weston’s performance and the fact that at times he was so fired up with his performances that saliva sprayed from his at times while he was delivering lines. “I had to do a lot of meditation,” he says laughing as we discuss how he went about calming down each day when shooting wrapped. “I was taking a lot of hot baths; I was doing breath work and just meditating anyway that I could really. I just had to do whatever I could at the end of the day to try and get out of that mentality.”

“Of course that role was somebody that I think people have to be stone cold sober to play,” he says continuing. “I was just keeping up my vitamins and making sure that I got plenty of sleep because I knew that role could take people places that they didn’t want to go… even a bar.”

The intense Assault On VA-33 which stars Weston Cage Coppola and Sean Patrick Flannery is available to stream or rent online.

1. Q. How did you come up with the idea for Wrath of Man?

A. The idea came to me over 10 years ago after watching the French movie Le Convoyeur, and then one day I decided to stop talking about it and go ahead and make it.

2. Q. Then what happened?

A.  I wrote the script and called Jason Statham, who is my mate, and we ended up having a lovely time making it together.

3. Q. Your career as a filmmaker took off precisely with Jason Statham on Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. And although you haven’t worked with Statham for quite a while, was it easy to fall back into the same dynamics you had with him years ago?

A. Oh yes, it was just like the old days. We are all a bit older now, and probably not any wiser, but it’s always fun to work with him.

4. Q. How similar is your movie to Le Convoyeur?

A. That film represents only about a quarter of what this one is, which is basically just the premise of how the guy finds out who the inside man is. In the original movie he was an ordinary man that had no skills, but here there is some irony involved in the investigation and a reason for whom he is and why he was where he was when the first robbery happened. And I think it’s fun.

5. Q. So, how would you explain the plot of Wrath of Man?

A. Well, it’s a revenge action movie with some interesting hooks in it that I like quite a lot. There are different layers that reveal themselves during the process of unpacking this particular narrative. So, the story twists and turns to the point where you realize that nothing is what it first presented itself to be. And precisely those twists and turns are what interest me the most about the story.

6. Q. It seems like it is one of your more dramatic films to date.

A. That is true. Actually, I am trying my hardest not to laugh or make it funny. I just hope it feels fresh to the audience, because that’s how it feels to me at the moment.

7. Q. The mysterious man working at a cash truck company known as H – the main character played by Jason Statham – reminds us a bit of those great 70’s antiheroes.

A. I agree, I think he has a 70’s tacit antihero feel to him; although I believe H has a bit more to say in this final incarnation of the script, now that we are more into it. And that’s because I like to pretty much let these characters come alive on the day, rather than overworking them before. Jason is definitely the right man for this job.

8. Q. How have you seen Jason Statham evolve as an actor over the years since you started working with him?

A. Well, as we can all see, Jason has star quality. People just love him and relate to him. Quite a lot of those lads from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels have cracked on.

9. Q. But did you already see that star quality in him back then?

A. Yes, I did. Jason is structured like an old-fashioned leading man, and there are not a lot of those around.

10. Q. After making a movie of the size of Aladdin, you are now shooting Wrath of Man for a much lower budget. Do you enjoy working on all kinds of genres with different budgets?

A. I like trying different things and never want to feel I’m stuck in a genre. And the budget doesn’t affect me, because I always know what I am getting into. I like expensive and inexpensive movies, the same way I like foul-mouthed and family friendly movies. In the end what you want to have as a filmmaker is a broad experience of genres.

11. Q. But what movies or genres inspired you growing up?

A. I loved Spaghetti Westerns and all those Clint Eastwood movies. And I actually have his kid Scott in this film. He has a proper role as quite a naughty boy.

12. Q. Music plays an important role in your films. Should we expect another unique soundtrack for Wrath of Man?

A. Yes, I hope so. I am looking forward to doing something interesting with it.

13. Q. Your movies also have a cool look and style to them.

A. It’s hard for me to be objective about either what my style is or what is stylish. I can only put things in there that are esthetically pleasing, but I can say that every movie I make is one I would like to watch, although you are always nervous before a film comes out because you want to be able to make the next one.

14. Q. Are you more nervous while you are shooting the film or after you have made it?A. Always after I have made it because every movie has three components: the actual movie, the marketing and the day it is released, and I can only really control the first one.

Wrath Of Man hits cinemas this Thursday.

British filmmaker Andy Goddard chats to Subculture about his brand new World War II thriller Six Minutes To Midnight which hits cinemas tomorrow.

In the interview Goddard chats about what it was like researching such a little known piece of war history and what it was like working with Eddie Izzard and Dame Judi Dench.

You can take a listen to the full interview here: