Dying of the Light is billed as a powder keg of action! Academy Award winning actor, Nicolas Cage, recently took some time to discuss and share some insight about the movie!
The movie is the story of Evan Lake (Cage), a forced-into-retirement, CIA agent. Enter a new, young, CIA agent, played by Anton Yelchin, who discovers a mischievous plot. Lake must then go on a rogue mission to track and confront a long-time enemy.
What was it like portraying Evan Lake?
Nicolas Cage: Evan Lake is a character that is not like anything I’ve done before and that’s always exciting, to have a challenge. I never want to get too comfortable. I always want to push myself in new directions and try to take chances. I have to be totally honest, Evan Lake, as a character, terrified me, because it was an enormous, it was a beast of a challenge.
Being that he is someone who was in the marines for six years and the CIA for another thirty years, this is a trained man. And, that was always important to me that, that strength comes through, which of course makes the weaknesses even more tragic, that this is happening to somebody that is relatively young. I mean, he’s fifty. You think of people in their eighties for this sort of a situation.
Lake’s nemesis is Muhammad Banir (Alexander Karim), a man Lake seems somewhat obsessed with and is willing to sacrifice his legacy for to catch. Why?
Nicolas Cage: There’s a kind of Moby Dick-like quality to this with Alex Karim’s character, Banir. And, Evan Lake has become obsessed with the white whale that is Banir … because of what Banir did to his ear. Because of what Banir did, you know, with banging him on the back of the head, and the torturing, and also what he did to other people. Which is completely antithetical to what Evan believes as a CIA agent and a very proud American. He’s obsessed and there’s a level of that too which comes through in this character, which I enjoyed playing.
Sounds like a complicated role. What was it like preparing to become Lake?
Nicolas Cage: The preparation for Evan Lake begins very much like any of my other characters lately. Which is, now that I’m fifty, I find that I have to get all of the dialogue in my body, even before I get to the location. So I’ll get on a treadmill at my gymnasium and I’ll do four miles on the treadmill reading my lines getting it all in my body. Then I’ll do some weight training and then I’ll go back and then I’ll read the script backwards and try to memorize it. And, it’s about two months before it’s all in my body where I don’t have to think about it anymore, where I can invest it with the more, what I like to call sacred stuff, like emotion and imagination.
This movie stars another actor who is rising and gaining a lot of attention. How was it working with Anton Yelchin, who plays Lake’s protege, Milton Schultz?
Nicolas Cage: Anton Yelchin is terrific. I really enjoy that I got to do this movie with him. He’s the ultimate cinematic friend and he’s also a bad ass. It’s a marvelous character that he’s developed.
You never know when he’s going to bring out the other side where he could, really, kill somebody, but at the same time he has genuine empathy and affinity and care for Evan Lake. It’s a delicate balance and he’s doing it brilliantly.
NOTE: This article was originally published in November of 2014.