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DEAUVILLE, France – After receiving rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival and just days before the film made its North American debut in Toronto, Nicolas Cage brought Joe to the American Film Festival here, garnering a standing ovation from the crowd.
Director David Gordon Green, co-star Tye Sheridan and producer Lisa Muskat joined Cage on stage to present the film. “I’m thrilled to share this movie I’m so happy with. It was a marvelous experience for me,” he said, before comparing Sheridan to a modern-day James Dean and giving a bit of career advice to the audience: “Any actors out there, if you want to make a movie with a director that really cares about performance and character analysis, go with David.”
With both Joe and The Frozen Ground making their French premieres here, Cage was also honored with a career tribute by the festival in a ceremony Monday night.
“I just want to thank Deauville for staying warm to me over the years,” said Cage, who told the audience he feels a special affection for the film festival that premiered his directorial debut, Sonny, in 2002. “For some reason it really connected here at Deauville. I’m deeply grateful and honored that you brought me back once again.”
Joe‘s brutal depiction of rough rural life in Texas is being hailed as a return to more dramatic roles for Cage, but the Oscar winner doesn’t see it that way.
“I don’t see it as a comeback,” he said at a press conference earlier in the day. “If you look carefully at my filmography, in between the adventure films that I make you will find a World Trade Center tucked away or a Bad Lieutenant or a Lords of War, so I think I’ve always been trying to keep it eclectic. It’s just that for some reason the adventure films got a little more attention.”
Perhaps alluding to his highly publicized financial problems, Cage said he used recent emotional upheavals as a source for this role. “It wasn’t about putting things on it, it was about taking things off of the performance so I could be as naked as possible in terms of emotional expression, which meant recalling memories in my personal life in the last couple of years,” he said.
“Whether other actors like me or not, I consider all actors my brothers and sisters, because I know what it means to get in front of the camera and bare your soul like that,” he added. “I know what it takes to be able to have the guts to do that.”
And while he said he hasn’t found the right project, he does hope to direct again and bring his second project to the seaside town. “I’m sorry I have not directed again, genuinely; I just haven’t found anything that speaks to me in that way.”
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