Nicolas Cage’s Surprising Creative Process For Face/Off

By Apeksha Bagchi | 2 weeks ago

nicolas cage

The famous John Woo directed an action thriller film, Face/Off, in 1997. The movie starred Nicolas Cage and John Travolta and is counted as one of the most renowned films ever because of many things: its action sequences, acting performances, musical score, and more. The best thing about the film was undoubtedly its unique dialogue, which is still memorable even after more than two decades since the film was released. But while the credit of the majority of the dialogue goes to the writers, Mike Webb and Michael Colleary, one iconic line in the film was actor Nicolas Cage and Alessandro Nivola’s creation. 

Face/Off is the story of FBI Special Agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) who takes on the face of the deranged terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) in an attempt to foil his nefarious scheme. But the plan backfires when Troy takes on his face in return and kills everyone with the knowledge about the reversal, thus branding Archer as the fugitive in his place. In one of the early sequences in the film, Archer (with the face of Troy) visits the terrorist’s younger brother, Pollux (Alessandro Nivola) in prison to gain knowledge about a bomb hidden by the older Troy somewhere in Los Angeles. There Pollux reminds his brother about the reason that his fellow inmate Ian Dubov harbors a massive grudge against him. Apparently, Castor Troy had a “sex sandwich” with Dubov’s wife and sister.

Recently, Alessandro Nivola appeared on the Happy Sad Confused podcast and while talking about the making of Face/Off he revealed how an R. Crumb documentary helped him and Nicolas Cage to come up with the hilariously sly innuendo. As the story goes, Nivola first showed a Terry Zwigoff documentary about R. Crumb, the artist, to Nicolas Cage. The latter was so impressed with it that the duo started doing hilarious improvisations based on the Crumb brothers while Cage’s assistant jotted down their “most absurd shit,” which they would then send to John Woo. While their creations were random, John Woo really dug one of their lines i.e., the “sex sandwich” dialogue as he found it to be very funny, and thus, he included it in the film. 

face/off 2 nicolas cage

Looks like the cast of Face/Off had as much fun making the film as we had while watching the confusing but equally amazing face swap drama. But sadly, as of now, none of the actors from the original film are set to return for the upcoming sequel announced by Paramount Pictures. As of now, all that is known is that the film, to be directed by Adam Winegard, is set after the events of the original movie, presumably with a new cast.

While John Travolta can still return to the sequel, the appearance of Nicolas Cage remains unlikely seeing that Troy died at the end of Face/Off and Archer had the face transplant surgery reversed by the end of the film. But rumor is, that the duo from the original is indeed set to make a comeback in the sequel, even if it is in cameo roles aiding the new leading cast for the film. While we would love to see Cage and Travolta butt heads again in the sequel, for now, we will make peace with the hope that the upcoming film will trump the original when it comes to iconic dialogue.