Based on Larry Brown’s novel of the same name, “Joe” centers on ex-con Joe Ransom (Nicolas Cage), a man who’s trying to stay out of harm’s way. His quick trigger temper, which is usually aimed at police officers or town irritants (Ronnie Gene Blevens), isn’t making that job any easier.
Our protagonist’s solitary life takes a turn for the better, as he befriends a troubled teenager named Gary (Tye Sheridan) who lands a job with Ransom’s tree poisoning crew. Both Cage and Sheridan share an innate chemistry, and the narrative also contains chilling work from novice actor Gary Poulter as Gary’s deadbeat, alcoholic father. Sadly, Poulter died before he could fully appreciate the fruits of his labor.
Directed by David Gordon Green (“George Washington,” “Undertow”), the Southern set drama features has Cage approaching his role in a subtle and naturalistic manner. The actor also tried to make his character as real as possible, as he impressed the crew with his handling of a real cottonmouth snake. Cage, in his own eccentric fashion, described the experience as “very calming..and kind of beautiful.”
The highlight from this week’s “Joe” press conference came from an out of left field Nicolas Cage story, in which he attempted to connect a scene from “Joe” with the importance of eating Häägan-Dazs ice cream and watching a Bruce Lee/Chuck Norris action sequence.
For Cage, attempting to link seemingly incongruous elements is a process he gleaned from his father, who spent his career as a professor. “As a result of my relationship with him, sometimes I talk around in circles,” said the actor. “And sometimes I say things that either land or don’t land. Sometimes I say something really succinct.”
To hear Mr. Cage link “Joe” with Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, his dad, and Häägen-Dazs ice cream, click on the audio below:
“Joe” opens April 11 in theaters and On Demand.