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Director Terry Zwigoff is not what anyone would call a prolific filmmaker, having started his career with 1985’s Howard Armstrong documentary Louie Bluie, only to follow it nine years later with 1994’s stellar biographical documentary Crumb. Since then? Just three narrative features - Bad Santa, Ghost World, and Art School Confidential - all of which retain differing amounts of cult value. And now here we are in July 2013, reporting the second potential Terry Zwigoff project to pop up just this summer. What, is he going all Terrence Malick now? Because we’d be perfectly fine with that.
Not only is Zwigoff going back to the dark comedy genre he performs so wellin, he’s bringing in Nicolas Cage as his leading man, according to The Wrap. The film is titled Lost Melody, and will be produced by Edward R. Pressman and his Pressman Films imprint.
In the film Cage will play a character whose marriage to a bitchy wife leads him to fall in love with a prostitute (not a hint of sexism layered into that sentence at all.) Sadly, there isn’t much else to go on as far as a plot description goes, and it doesn’t appear to have either children or teenagers involved, as Zwigoff’s other features have, (assuming the prostitute isn’t 16). And we’re definitely not assuming that. We’d rather assume Elizabeth Shue would take the part, making this something of a Leaving Las Vegas reunion.
I don’t know what to do with this news. Cage isn’t exactly known for his indie cred, though I found him to be pretty amazing in Werner Herzog’s wacky reimagining Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (which was also produced by Pressman Films, coincidentally enough). His studio work, for the most part, has been absolutely atrocious for nearly a decade, so maybe this is exactly what he needs to gain back some of his former credibility. (“Bees!”)
Pressman gives the usual “everyone’s happy with this” soundbite, but he does also offer a couple up some titles comparable to what Zwigoff has in mind for his new film. “I’ve always wanted to work with Terry,” Pressman said, “and am excited to be teaming on a wonderful darkly-funny drama in the tradition of such classics as The Blue Angel and Sunset Boulevard.” I don’t think I’ve ever read a producer namedrop The Blue Angel when talking about a modern comedy before - certainly not a movie today’s teenagers are downloading off of iTunes - though perhaps it happens more often than I think.
Zwigoff co-wrote Lost Melody with Melissa Axelrod, who he also worked with on his other recently announced project with Fred Armisen.
Cage, meanwhile, will soon be seen playing cat-and-mouse with John Cusack’s Alaskan serial killer in The Frozen Ground and will play an unlikely role model for a 15-year-old boy in David Gordon Green’s upcoming drama Joe.