- The InSneider
- 25 TV Show Ideas for Nicolas Cage; Early Buzz on Lionsgate's Reboot of The Crow
25 TV Show Ideas for Nicolas Cage; Early Buzz on Lionsgate's Reboot of The Crow
Plus, my power rankings for Best Visual Effects, and why 'Oppenheimer' has that Oscar locked up.
It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means — new releases on VOD. This week brings a little 3.5-hour movie you might have heard of called Killers of the Flower Moon, which won’t begin streaming on Apple TV+ until early next year. You can rent it for $20 or buy it for $25.
I caught up with Godzilla Minus One last night, and it wasn’t bad, though it felt longer than its 125-minute running time would suggest. The scenes featuring the chonky Big Boy had me on the edge of my seat — seriously, this is an impressive-looking movie for just $15 million, if that figure is to be believed — but the family drama interspersed between the action sequences left much to be desired. I’d call it a mixed effort, but I would recommend seeing it on the big screen, as the sound blew back what’s left of my hair.
In today’s newsletter, you’ll find stories about Nicolas Cage, Lionsgate’s reboot of The Crow, and the bananas lawsuit brewing against A3’s Adam Bold, plus my Best Visual Effects power rankings. Read on for more… and enjoy!
25 TV Show Ideas for Nicolas Cage Now That He’s Decided to Take a Step Back From the Big Screen
“Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.”
Yesterday, Oscar winner Nicolas Cage began laying the groundwork for his exit from the silver screen, telling Uproxx’s Mike Ryan that “after 45 years of doing this… in over 100 movies — I feel I’ve pretty much said what I’ve had to say with cinema. And I’d like to leave on a high note and say ‘Adios.’ I think I have to do maybe three or four more movies before I can get there, and then hopefully switch formats and go into some other way of expressing my acting.”
Asked to clarify, Cage said he “would’ve liked to have left on a high note, like Dream Scenario. But I have other contracts that I have to fulfill, so we’ll see what happens,” before adding, finally, “Maybe television is the next best step for me. We’ll see.”
Now, I don’t necessarily believe Mr. Cage, nor do I believe any actor under 75 who claims to be considering retirement save for Daniel Day-Lewis, who appears to be a man of his word, but let’s suppose that I take what Cage is saying here at face value. He only wants to make a few more movies, and then he wants to dive deeper into characters, and television is a medium that allows him to do that.
OK, great. So, what are some TV shows that Cage could dive into, or that could be crafted around the actor’s singular persona? Here’s a helpful list of possible projects, some of which are obvious, and some of which are a little more inspired. Enjoy!
True Detective - I think Cage would be fantastic leading a future season of HBO’s anthology series, though others may be more inclined to see him as some kind of psycho who the cops are after. If he wants an Emmy, though, he’ll stay on the right side of the law.
Fargo - Cage would absolutely crush a season of Noah Hawley’s FX series, as he can balance the kind of violence and comedy that marks the show’s signature. Please, make this happen!
The White Lotus - Cage had a great thing going with Charlie Kaufman on Adaptation, and I suspect that Mike White would likewise have a field day writing for the actor, who can play anything you throw at him, and whose casting would be a major coup for HBO’s hit series.
Black Mirror - Nic Cage losing his mind in an episode of Black Mirror would be must-see television. Charlie Brooker, are you listening?
Dr. Death - Cage as a killer surgeon? I can already see him in the scrubs. Though I could also see him playing the good doctor, and stepping into a role like Alec Baldwin had in the show’s excellent first season.
American Crime Story - This excellent FX anthology series stumbled a bit with its most Clinton-Lewinsky season, but the O.J. Simpson and Versace seasons were both incredible and if the producers could find a story worthy of Cage’s considerable talents, then he should jump at the chance, because he would be in very good hands creatively.
Brad Ingelsby’s Untitled HBO Crime Drama - Mark Ruffalo is set to star in this Philly-set series about a task force out to stop an unsuspecting family man who has been robbing drug houses. Could there be a role for Nic Cage on that task force? Do they have their psychotic family man yet? Cage would be wise to trust a writer like Ingelsby, whose Mare of Easttown offered Kate Winslet the kind of meaty role that he should be looking for.
Parasite - Speaking of Ruffalo, remember this show from Adam McKay and Bong Joon-ho? Well, it’s supposedly still in the works, and it’s supposed to have a big ensemble cast. What if Ruffalo fell out, and Cage stepped in? Or if the two of them teamed up, as I just suggested. Intriguing, right?
Mindhunter - Everyone wants this Netflix series to come back, right? Even David Fincher. The problem is that it’s too expensive, right? Well, what if the show added a star like Cage, either as a serial killer (John Wayne Gacy, perhaps? Or the Green River Killer?), or as a possible replacement for Holt McCallany, or just a new agent joining Jonathan Groff’s character in the BSU. Wouldn’t Cage’s involvement drive more eyeballs to the show and help justify the budget? Yes, it would probably rise further with Cage, perhaps prohibitively so, but the idea of Cage working with Fincher is a tantalizing possibility…
The Missing - Remember this Starz series from brothers Harry and Jack Williams? Each season was pretty damn good, as those boys can write. What if Starz brought it back and put Cage front and center? It’s a bit close to #17 on this list, but different enough to merit separate entries.
Cape Fear - A series adaptation was just announced, and though I think a female villain would be terrifying, I could certainly see Nicolas Cage as Max Cady, newly released from prison on his 60th birthday, and hungry for chocolate cake… and revenge.
24: Redux - Remember how 24 resurrected Kiefer Sutherland’s career? What if Cage had his own 12-episode limited series in the vein of 24, only every episode covered two hours instead of one? Either Amazon or Paramount+ financing. Who says no?
Manhunter - OK, this is a wild idea, but I swear that my pal Jamie Williams and I came to this one completely independently. Hannibal Lecter is a screen icon who is just sitting on a shelf. Cage would make a great Lecter, and you could figure out a way to beef up his role in this story, which hasn’t been done in 20 years — since 2002’s Red Dragon. Of course, Cage could also play Will Graham, or even the Tooth Fairy, if Lecter is a little too iconic for the actor to put his stamp on.
Boogie Nights Prequel - OK, this may be sacrilege, but these days, everything is on the table, especially at Warner Bros. Discovery. The original was a New Line title, but could HBO one day turn it into an ensemble-driven series, or perhaps do some kind of prequel? I don’t know what Paul Thomas Anderson would have to say about that, but the idea fascinates me, and I think Cage would be great as Burt Reynolds’ character Jack Horner. Perhaps a series could explore how Jack built that makeshift family of porn stars before discovering a young man named Dirk Diggler. A long shot, yes, but this could be inspired. Cage could also play The Colonel if he felt weird about taking over for Burt.
Judgment Night - I love this violent B-movie, which is the kind of title that’s ripe for a remake. A limited series set over the course of one long night could be a lot of fun, and I could see Cage taking over Denis Leary’s bad-guy role and having an awful lot of fun with it.
No Country for Old Men - Cage’s career took off after working with the Coen brothers on Raising Arizona, but could you see him in a series adaptation of this Oscar-winning film, either as the cold, calculated Anton Chigurh, or perhaps another character, such as those played by either Woody Harrelson or Tommy Lee Jones.
Ransom - Another reboot, yes, and one in which you could cast Cage in either the Mel Gibson or the Gary Sinise role, but personally, I think he could play the good guy, especially given that he’s a father himself.
Criminal - I’m told that this series is going to heat up in 2024 and that it’ll be a priority for Amazon. Cage seems like a fine fit for the world of Ed Brubaker, wouldn’t you agree?
Ghostbusters - Anyone else burned out on these movies? It might be time to reboot this IP from scratch as a series, and Cage would make a fine ‘buster, so long as he could still carry one of those heavy proton packs up a few flights of stairs.
Back to the Future - OK, so this movie is obviously untouchable, and no one will ever remake it while Steven Spielberg is still standing, but what if there was a way around that — a loophole, if you will? What if Universal decided to do a series reboot, or perhaps a spinoff? The studio can’t keep trotting out Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown. But you know who might have fun with that role? That’s right… Nicolas Cage! Can you see it, or am I crazy?
Strange Days - This Kathryn Bigelow film was way ahead of its time, but can you imagine Nicolas Cage in that world — trading clips of people’s illicit memories? This could be a killer sci-fi series, one with any number of roles for Cage.
Apaches - This is a project that Jerry Bruckheimer has been developing for years, based on a novel by Sleepers author Lorenzo Carcaterra. The book is phenomenal — it’s about a group of retired cops who take on a vicious crimelord. Cage would be pitch-perfect as their leader, and he has a relationship with Bruckheimer. If one calls, the other will definitely answer.
I Kill - Another passion project of mine, this is based on the serial killer thriller from Italian author Giorgio Faletti that is one of the bestselling books in Italy’s history. Cage would play an FBI agent who comes to Monte Carlo to grieve his recently deceased wife, only to get caught up in a series of brutal murders. This book has a great twist at the end and would make a hell of a limited series, especially with Cage as the haunted protagonist.
One Hour Photo - This is an underrated thriller that could benefit from a limited series expansion, and while Robin Williams leaves some big holes to fill, I could Nicolas Cage as a very creepy photo worker who develops an obsession with a young family.
Untitled Biker Gang Series - OK, this is an original idea, but imagine Nicolas Cage as a motorcycle cop who’s drafted to go undercover and infiltrate a deadly biker gang, only he rises through the ranks and starts to lose himself in the role. It’s Ghost Rider (a badass on a bike) meets Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (a psycho with a badge), and it would fill the void left by Sons of Anarchy. This would be an FX series, obviously.
And they say I’m not qualified for a job in development… ha!
The Crow Flies Again in Burbank, and the Buzz Is…
You don’t mess with perfection, but if you must, at least cast a Skarsgård!
The Crow had a test screening in Burbank last night, and according to someone who saw it… it wasn’t bad! Obviously, not as good as the original — a classic, in my opinion — but not as bad as they feared, given how long this reboot has been in the works.
Seeing as how the original is one of my favorite movies of all time, I gave serious thought to crashing the screening myself. Then I remembered what happened when I tried to sneak into a test screening of Funny People and got caught by security, and I resolved to wait for the reboot to hit theaters, as I’m secretly hoping that Lionsgate will ask me to moderate the film’s Comic-Con panel should The Crow fly after July. After all, I’ve said for the last decade or so that it’s the only movie that could get me to brave the geek masses at Comic-Con, which I’ve never attended in my distinguished entertainment journalism career.
Bill Skarsgård plays Eric Draven this time around, and apparently, we don’t even see him in the iconic makeup until the third act, which is… an interesting choice… though I suppose this movie had to do something different to distinguish itself from the beloved original starring the late, great Brandon Lee.
The first act develops the character of Eric and his romance with Shelley Webster (FKA Twigs), a couple of drug addicts who break out of a rehab facility to live the high life together in an unnamed city. The twist here is that the villain, Mr. Roeg (Danny Huston), not only has a connection to Shelley’s past, but he also has supernatural powers that grant him the ability to sacrifice innocent souls and extend his own time on Earth.
Also, there are multiple crows as opposed to one magical bird, as the creature serves as more of a symbol this time around rather than Eric’s eye in the sky. His ability to self-heal isn’t tied to the bird’s health, either, so Eric heals much more slowly this time around and as a result, the vigilante feels much more vulnerable.
Anyway, Shelley sees something she shouldn’t have, and Mr. Roeg sends his henchmen to kill her and Eric, whose soul is subsequently caught between the land of the living and the realm of the dead. Given the chance to sacrifice his soul to save Shelley, Eric decides to come back to put the wrong things right.
It was refreshing to hear that director Rupert Sanders (Ghost in the Shell) didn’t try to ape Alex Proyas’ gothic style and instead did his own thing visually. But it was disappointing to hear that Mr. Roeg’s henchmen came across as fairly generic and easily disposable, as one of the strengths of the original 1994 film is how memorable Funboy, T-Bird, Tin Tin, and Skank were, and how each one was given a distinct personality.
On the bright side, I’ve heard that Skarsgård is pretty good — he’s covered in tattoos and has a mullet — and that the film is pretty violent, which is what fans of The Crow are hoping for and expecting. An action scene set at an opera house is said to be a particular highlight. I forgot to ask about the film’s soundtrack, but my source didn’t mention it. It’s probably best to not even invoke the original’s soundtrack, which is one of the best ever… and also of a very particular time in music.
I’ve heard that Lionsgate may be looking at a September release for The Crow, and I imagine they’ll decide on that soon now that they have some feedback on this movie from a test screening audience.
And now, here are my latest Oscars Power Rankings, which forecast who’s up and who’s down each week…
Oscars Power Rankings: Does Oppenheimer Have the Oscar for Best Visual Effects in the Bag?
What other movie can possibly compete with Christopher Nolan’s eye-popping epic?
Best Visual Effects
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Society of the Snow
Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire
The Little Mermaid
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Analysis: I’m rushing out the door to the premiere of American Fiction, but who are we kidding? Oppenheimer has this Oscar in the bag. It may be an even bigger lock than Nolan’s win for Best Director.
What is its competition? The third installment of James Gunn’s Marvel franchise? I truly loved the work on Rocket Raccoon in that sequel, but do I think it’ll be enough to knock off Team Oppenheimer? Absolutely not.
Society of the Snow boasts some fantastic VFX work — that plane crash was simply harrowing — and I think that Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon looks pretty cool, though I’m not sure that being a Part One will help its chances.
To me, The Creator is looking good for a nomination, given what its VFX artists accomplished on a budget of just $85 million, and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon should also land a nod based on those spectacular battle sequences.
I think sequels are looking at an uphill battle this year, from Aquaman to the latest Mission: Impossible and Indiana Jones movies.
Bits and Bobs (A Daily News Roundup)
Let’s hope that this man gets the help that it sounds like he sorely needs.
Trouble at A3 - Adam Bold, the majority owner of A3 Artists Agency, stands accused of some very shady behavior by his colleagues. The agency’s CEO and president are alleging that he sexually harassed nearly every female staffer at A3 and that he has a nasty cocaine problem that spilled into the office. “A3 is in a state of chaos and dissolution as its agents jump off the sinking ship and flee to A3 competitors, or wait in shock and fear for the next shoe to drop,” reads the complaint, which also calls Bold a “sex pest” and the “office creep.” Not a good look, folks. Let’s hope that Bold gets the help that it sounds like he needs and that his employees find better jobs in the weeks ahead.
Congrats - To my former boss, Tracy Underwood, who has been promoted to president of ABC Signature. She replaces Jonnie Davis, who exited in July, and she’ll now report to Disney’s Eric Schrier, with senior VPs Sydnee Rimes, Susan Lewis, and Danny Feldheim now reporting to her. While Underwood has been a Disney exec since 2010, I was her intern back when she was an exec at Blumhouse, so I’m thrilled to see how well she’s done for herself since then. Her latest promotion is well-deserved, as she’s had a hand in acclaimed shows such as Bad Sisters, Fleishman Is in Trouble, A Small Light, and This Fool, among others.
Got a hot tip, or an interesting pitch? Want to buy an ad or ask a provocative question for future mailbag installments? Email me at [email protected].