March 14, 2016
Nicholas Cage to direct and star in Joyce Carol Oates adaptation
by Kait Howard
Is it any surprise that Nicholas Cage has committed to directing and starring in a film adaptation of Rape: A Love Story, one of the darker of Joyce Carol Oates’s dark novels?
Following rave reviews of his performance in David Gordon Green’s 2013 film Joe—in which Cage regained some lost cred by playing an ex-con who must decide whether to risk everything to protect a boy from his abusive father—the actor has committed to a project with similar violent dimensions, as Variety’s Dave McNary reports.
Re-titled for obvious—and kind of depressing reasons—as Vengeance: A Love Story, the film will reimagine Oates’s novel about a child who witnesses her mother’s rape by multiple attackers, and the horrible aftermath, on the big screen. Described by the New York Times’s Andrew Ervin as “unnerving but never gratuitous, despite the novel’s provocative subtitle,” it’s the kind of story we can imagine few actors but Cage would dare to tackle, especially given that his role as the “gun-loving Persian Gulf war veteran” has unmistakable parallels with Joe.
And Oates must agree. Despite reservations, she professed admiration for Cage’s work in Joe, tweeting:
Heroic actors in “Joe” led by Nicolas Cage making their way through steamy jungle of hysterical melodrama & barking dogs. Deserve medals.
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) April 19, 2014
Excellent as Nicolas Cage & other actors are in “Joe” the film is crammed to bursting with too many explosive scenes & repetitive violence. — Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) April 19, 2014
Some may remember that the brutal gravity of Joe crossed uncomfortably into reality when, as Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak reported, a non-professional man was recruited to play the abusive father in the film—described as a drifter who’d been in and out of rehab—was found dead in a homeless encampment before the film was released. Vengeance: A Love Story will start shooting in Atlanta this April. No word on whether this film’s casting crew will will go the same potentially exploitative route.
Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.