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For awhile, it was awesome. Nicolas Cage slapped on his shades, stared into a nonexistent camera, and growled, "We’re gonna outrun the IRS." In order to pay back taxes, Cage could have sold his dinosaur bones, auctioned off his castles, and trimmed his exorbitant wealth to meet the government’s requirements. Instead, for a couple of years, he seized almost every opportunity to topline a film, no matter how dubious. We ended up with a glorious few years of ridiculous wigs, silly costumes and bizarre accents and affectations as we all rattled around The Cage with pleasure.
Eventually, though, the films would get tiresome. Cage would be less colorful in them, punching the clock in order to make it from shoot to shoot, barely awake. The paychecks shrank. The budgets dwindled. It got depressing. It does seem like Cage’s tax struggles are over, and he can return to real acting. But a few traces of that life remain. And one of them is Left Behind.
The producers of the latest in this epic saga have been sharing bits and pieces of the latest, and most mainstream Left Behind movie to date on Facebook, and they’ve just posted a short snippet of footage as well as a behind-the-scenes clip. The scene shows Cage as pilot Rayford Steele (RAYFORD STEELE!) with his daughter, played by Nicky Whelan, discussing how his wife left him for another man, than man being Jesus. The reluctance in Cage’s voice seems less about the character’s aversion to Christianity and more about his surprise that he’s reached this level: Left Behind has a blistering popularity, but it’s fairly centralized in a certain niche, one who isn’t ever going to bother to see Cage in, say, Leaving Las Vegas or Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans.
The behind the scenes footage is standard EPK stuff, though it does show Chad Michael Murray absolutely defeated at the fact that he’s in this film. Pretty cocky to be poo-pooing a chance to co-star with Oscar winner Cage as RAYFORD STEELE, particularly considering his whole leading-man thing isn’t really working out too well for the guy. Maybe he shouldn’t even be so dismissive of the franchise. Left Behind spans sixteen novels, as well as three previous smaller films, each starring the immortal Kirk Cameron (with Brad Johnson in the Steele role). The books have sold 63 million copies overall; by comparison, The Hunger Games books have sold somewhere between 25 to 35 million.
The behind-the-scenes material also features an appearance by Vic Armstrong, the director. Armstrong’s no slouch, having handled stuntwork for films like The Amazing Spider-Man, War Of The Worlds, Last Action Hero, Rambo III and dozens others. Armstrong’s only other big screen directorial effort was the actually-pretty-badass Army Of One starring Dolph Lundgren. If Left Behind is half as awesome as Army Of One, then you should probably pre-order your tickets now.