Nicolas Cage & Arcadian Team On Blending Apocalyptic Horror With Family Drama

Nicolas Cage & Arcadian Team On Blending Apocalyptic Horror With Family Drama [SXSW]

Nicolas Cage & Arcadian Team On Blending Apocalyptic Horror With Family  Drama [SXSW] - YouTube


 Arcadian is a post-apocalyptic horror film with Nicolas Cage as a father fighting monsters with his sons in a chaotic world.
 The film explores themes of love, family, and survival amid grotesque creatures in a devastated Earth setting.
 Director Ben Brewer and writer Mike Nilon discuss the genesis of the film during the COVID-19 pandemic and its unique storytelling approach.

Evil reigns in the post-apocalyptic horror of Arcadian, which made its debut at the 2024 South By Southwest Festival. While grotesque monsters fight to topple humans from the top of the food chain, a man and his two sons fight to keep their family together in a world they no longer recognize. Nicolas Cage is the father to Jaeden Martell and Maxwell Jenkins, and Sadie Soverall is their mysterious neighbor in this film about love, family, and the struggle to survive amid chaos and horror. Arcadian will be released in theaters on April 12, 2024.

In the not-too-distant future, the Earth has suffered a major catastrophe that has left it unrecognizable. In this world of monsters, the day is a temporary reprieve from the torments of night, when the humans left face unrelenting attacks by a mysterious and violent evil. Under these circumstances, Paul (Cage) and his sons, Thomas (Jenkins) and Joseph (Martell), live a half-life on a fortified farm. When Thomas fails to return to their home before sundown one day, Paul must leave that safety and attempt to find him. The family must execute a desperate plan to survive the nightmarish battle that then ensues.

Nicolas cage movies ranked Con air National treasure Ghost rider

Belting a wide range of cinematic performances, Nicolas Cage remains a cultural tour-de-force. Here’s every Nic Cage movie ranked from worst to best.

Screen Rant interviewed director Ben Brewer, writer Mike Nilon, and stars Nicolas Cage, Maxwell Jenkins & Sadie Soverall before the SXSW premiere of Arcadian. The group talked about the genesis of the film amid the Covid pandemic, the real-time evolution of the movie’s creatures, and telling a coming-of-age tale in the middle of an apocalypse.

How Arcadian Came Into Being Explained By Filmmakers

Nicolas Cage's Paul looking into the distance with his son in the background in ArcadianMaxwell Jenkins as Thomas in Arcadian
Nicolas Cage's Paul rides in a truck with his onscreen sons in Arcadian movie still
Nicolas Cage's Paul sitting in dining room chair in ArcadianNicolas Cage's Paul walking next to a house in Arcadian

Screen Rant: Mike, set Arcadian up for us. This was born in your brain, so tease what the premise is and what inspired you to write it.

Mike Nilon: It was right at the heart of COVID, when we were all kind of stuck doing whatever we could do. I was stuck in my home with my twin boys, who at the time were 12 and are now 16, trying to have as much fun as we possibly could given the circumstances. Every night at dinner, I would try to make up a story for them with themselves as the stars. Usually, I failed. But when I came up with this concept and ran it by them at dinner, they were locked in, so I thought we might have something.

I’m glad they didn’t call Ben because then it would have been really difficult. They had copious notes.

Ben, tell us a little bit from your vantage point. What excited you most about lensing this story?

Benjamin Brewer: I love the story about the brothers, because I was very close with my brother. We grew up very close together; we used to direct together. Actually, our first movie we directed was with Nic and it played here in 2016: The Trust. I just really responded to the story of coming-of-age with brothers and using this dark apocalypse fantasy world to take all these tropes I’ve loved in coming-of-age movies and really externalize them. Things like, “Coming home late will actually kill your father in this movie.” Those sorts of things are what I really responded to.

Nic, it feels like you’re always looking for a unique challenge. You’re always looking to do something you’ve never done before, which is extremely impressive considering you’ve done over 100 films now. What was it here?

Nicolas Cage: Well, thank you. It’s no secret that I’m a big admirer of family drama; independently-spirited family drama. Movies like Ordinary People and East of Eden. I’m also an admirer of horror and science fiction, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a mash-up?” Where you could have a family, particularly this dynamic where it’s a father and two boys, which is really how I grew up. Sadly, my mother couldn’t be around as much as I would have liked her to have been, so my dad did all the heavy lifting. And then you apply that [dynamic] to science fiction.

I say science fiction, not horror, because science fiction could happen. It’s not in the dream logic. It’s something that could evolve. The decision was to play it photorealistically and naturalistically, and to try to get to that place. There’s nothing abstract or surreal in film performance; we’re all trying to be as believable in a photorealistic way, and then on top of that you collide with these creatures. To me, that was a good experiment, and I’m happy with the results.

Nicolas Cage’s Dynamic With His Onscreen Sons In Arcadian Was “A Real Exchange”

Nicolas Cage & Maxwell Jenkins running in Arcadian

Maxwell, how about you? How is this different from anything you’ve done thus far in your young career?

Maxwell Jenkins: Yeah, I feel like this was different in a wide variety of ways. I think that’s what was most enticing about the project right off the bat, reading the script and not really knowing who was involved. I feel like throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to play these really incredible roles that I’ve had a great time doing. But they’ve always been kind of a squeakier clean person, and this was the first role that I got to play where my character really got to make mistakes.

It was around the time that I was growing up. I went to my local public high school my entire life, so I still maintained a very normal lifestyle, outside of this world, living two lives kind of. In a weird way, Thomas is growing up throughout this film. It felt pretty close to home, growing pains and wanting to break free a little bit and stretch your arms. I think that can speak a lot to a younger generation wanting to grow up and find themselves in a world that doesn’t really let them as much anymore, so I think that was pretty enticing about it.

Also, going into it, I didn’t really know what to expect. But I knew right off the bat the first time we looked at the schedule and read the script, it was going to be this intense, really incredible shoot in Ireland with some amazing people. So, I knew I was going to learn a lot on that project. I learned a lot from everyone here. Jaeden was always that actor who was a few years older than me, and a person I really could look up to as like, someone who I wanted to model what I wanted to do off of and someone I really admired.

And then, of course, coming to set with Nic every day felt like I was learning something new — not to talk about you like you’re not here. Everyone knows you’re an amazing actor, but I think a lot of people would be thrilled to know that you’re as collaborative as it gets on set. And you really are the most generous scene partner, so I think we learned a lot through that as well.

Nicolas Cage: It was a real exchange, and I learned from working with him. I stay forever a student, and I get a lot of inspiration working with different younger generations because they’re full of excitement to be there. They haven’t had their dreams whipped out of them yet, which happens so often in Hollywood. They’re all a billion dollars and a million Academy Awards, so working with them, I get that energy and it keeps me interested.

I want to point out that Jaeden and Maxwell are very different, and I like looking at the differences in their personalities because that’s what brothers are like. They’re similar and yet different. I was trying to locate what the differences were and the strengths were and play to the each of their different individual strengths, so we were very spontaneous and kept it loose on set.

Ben with his camera work was also very loose; he would keep it moving, shoot different things at different moments. Sometimes the camera’s on our face, sometimes it’s on our hands — you never know what he’s catching. It was the same with the acting; we kept a jazz flow to it. Little things like when Jaeden puts the knife on the table and falls over, you catch that. Little details.

But when I watched that picture yesterday, I was very impressed with Maxwell because the scariest scene for me in the movie is when he’s been captured by the people. They’re tying him up, and there’s nothing false in his eyes. He really stops the camera, and there’s a lot going on. I love that when you catch that on film.

Arcadian Team Praises “Immediate And Authentic” Storytelling & Sci-Fi Creatures

Sadie Soverall as Charlotte reading a book in Arcadian

Sadie, we haven’t talked about your character. Can you tease her, set up who she plays in the story, and also tell us what intrigued you the most about this project?

Sadie Soverall: Charlotte is the daughter at the Rose farm, which is the more wealthy farm near the boy’s house. She’s also very close with Max’s character, and I think that relationship really intrigued me because it’s just one of firsts. These are kids who don’t have the references that we have nowadays for what relationships are and what love is, so I think that was really fun with Max, figuring out how that looks.

I think it comes across as well; all the awkwardness in the scene with Max juggling and all that stuff, which was great improv stuff from Max, which he nailed. But I found the character really well-written. It doesn’t feel forced. She’s just as capable and strong as the boys, and she’s just as clever and just as interesting. I really look for that when I go for characters, so that was the main thing for me

And it’s a credit to Ben, because my understanding is he really fostered that improvisational scene where they’re talking about how they got there with this apocalypse. And you feel it. There’s a naturalist style and a flow to it. It feels very immediate and authentic, and these two — Sadie and Maxwell — were able to find the rhythm in the improv. And it’s electric when you get that on camera. Ben really was the one that asked them to do that.

Of course, there are some supernatural co-stars as well. Can we call them pollution monsters? I know we don’t see them in the trailers.

Nicolas Cage: Well, I don’t think they’re supernatural. I think they’re natural, like it could happen. It’s not metaphysical. It’s science fiction.

Benjamin Brewer: I think Mike’s idea was like, “Well, what if everything that we’ve done to this planet coalesces into these horrible things?” Ironically then, their purpose is to take care of us. They become the apex predator.

I took that, and me and my brother worked on designing the creature with that in mind, and tried to make the perfect human nightmare. Nic [and I] talked about the creature too, and the idea of the evolution of it. And so there was a lot of influences on it. Insects. But it’s fun. We’re developing a character that was done through motion capture on set, so you know it’s gonna have certain physical features, but it really did develop as we were shooting the film. I was sketching different concepts of it, my brother who sculpted the creature had sent a new sculpt, so it actually was evolving while we were making the movie. We just wanted it to satisfy certain thematic ideas about the climate and what humanity has coming for it.

Nicolas Cage: And I was really impressed with the complexity of the creatures. The symbiosis between the creature and the roaches. You see these relationships in nature, the clownfish and the sea anemone, but they kept sort of transmogrifying and a lot of thought went into the detail of the complexity. It was more than just, “Oh, that’s a scary-looking animal.” It kept transforming before our eyes, and I was taken by that.

Mike, I’d love to hear some additional insight from your perspective about how this film functions both as a dystopian thriller and also as a family drama. How did you strike that balance tonally?

Mike Nilon: Well, Nic referenced that it’s kind of a family drama and a science fiction-based horror film. We really just wanted to have as many good story points as possible, and lean on multiple genres. Ben did a wonderful wonderful job with the creatures because we were very much, “This is not supernatural. These are not ghosts. This is something very hopefully real and therefore much more scary.”

Nicolas Cage Breaks Down Career Choices & Gives National Treasure 3 Update

Nicolas Cage talking while the Declaration of Independence is the background in National Treasure imageCustom Image By SR Image Editor

Nic, you did Renfield recently. There was a cameo in The Flash, but I feel like the lion’s share of your work in recent years has been outside of the studio system in films like this. How would you sort of characterize your thousand-foot view of the studio system? Do you prefer to work in films of more of this scale?

Nicolas Cage: I do. I think there’s less cooks in the kitchen, less notes. I can get on the floor with the creatives, the director, the actors, the writer — and we have the floor. We can talk, we have the time to make our own notes without too much interference. The more money you put into the movie, the more people have something to say, and it can take all the oxygen out of the room.

That’s not to say I don’t want to make studio movies as well. If you say, “Hey, it’s Universal, we want you to play Dracula…” How do you say no to Dracula? And that’s fun in its own right, but I prefer when it’s streamlined and stripped down. When I’m with the actors and the director, and it’s just us. I had that with Dream Scenario, and I had that with Arcadian, and that’s when you really find something that I think is organic and authentic.

Nicolas Cage: Here we go! See, you’re the one that brings these things up and they go out and they eclipse everything else. No, there is no National Treasure 3. If you want to find treasure, don’t look at Disney, okay? It’s not there.

Our Privacy policy - © 2024 News