In the time it's taken you to flick to this page, someone could have stolen your car. , talks about fast driving, auto-eroticism and Gone In 60 Seconds. Nigel Floyd
TANNED AND RELAXED, NICOLAS CAGE is having a far better time than a man in his position has any right to. On what is meant to be his day off. (‘age has been dragged from the idyllic Greek island of Kefallonia — where he has been filming (‘upluin ('orelli's Mandolin with the beautiful Spanish actress Penelope Cruz — to the hot. pollttted centre of Athens. lie is half way through a punishing schedule of back-to-back television intervieyvs for the blockbuster movie. (June In ()(I .S'ct'unds: Si in all. six minutes at a time. the same questions over and over again.
As if that were not enough. he has taken time out to conduct a half—hour press conference vvith print journos from all over iiurope and Asia. ()ver (‘age‘s left shoulder is a breathtaking view of the Acropolis. but the good humoured actor‘s attention remains focused throughout.
The traffic-choked (ireek capital is an ironic place to be holding the international press junket for (him In 60 Seconds. a film about professional car thieves in Long Beach. California.
Nominally. the movie is a remake of
HR. Halicki‘s 1974 cult original. which boasted the immortal poster
tag—line: ‘You can lock your car. But if
he wants it it's (}().\'li l.\' (i()
14 THE usr 2: 3 2;;:
Sli(‘().\'l)S.' In reality. this ground-up re-build by \vriter Scott Rosenberg retains only the bare chassis.
With its paper-thin characters and hare-bones plot. the original movie was merely a shovvcase for its climactic 40-minute car chase. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer wanted the re-make to focus more on the shifting relationships betvveen the characters who made tip the car boosting creyvs. ‘l cairt follovv a great car chase unless i love the guy driving the car.’ he says. ’So we wanted to take time to establish the characters. and then let you get behind the wheel with them.’
:\ collector and driver of fast cars. .\'ic (‘age was an obvious choice for the role of ‘Memphis'
Raincs. an ex-car thief forced out of
retirement when his kid brother crosses the ruthless criminals who took over Memphis” old patch. To save his brother's life. Memphis must reunite his old crevv and steal 50 cars in one night. An artist when it comes to boosting cars. Memphis gives names to all the cars he plans to steal. and has an unusually intimate relationship with one in particular: the most elusive of all. lileanor. a 1967 Shelby Mustang (i'l‘ 50f).
'When I get out on the race track, I go through every emotion: I laugh, I cry, I get angry, I start yelling at the car.’
His passion for fast cars notvvithstanding. (‘age is quick to disassociate himself from Memphis' fetishistic love of metal. ‘1 first would like to say that my fascination with cars does not verge on the auto-erotic. the way it does with Memphis Raines.‘ he laughs. ‘I don’t have names for my cars..
Asked how many cars he actually ovvns. a slightly embarrassed (‘age has to admit that he hasn't checked lately. but that he has pared dovvn his collection quite a bit of late. Nevertheless. his passion for auto design and the call of the open road remains. '.’\ car is a sculpture. it is a work of art that you can actually drive.‘ he says. 'l've alvvays been passionate about cars because. to me. they were symbolic of freedom and movement. Some of my best memories have been in cars. vvhere I felt like l was my ovvn man and I had become independent. So i guess that’s really vvhere I found my love affair. my emotional relationship to cars.’
in his tyventies. (‘age collected handfuls of speeding tickets: these days he saves his fast driving for the race—track. llovvever. he did do most of his ovvn stunt driving on (in/1v In ()0 Seconds. something [)isney was not keen on but which Bruckheimer