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After Bonding On Face/Off, Nicolas Cage And Alessandro Nivola Created One Of The Movie's Wildest Lines

Alessandro Nivola and Nicolas Cage in Face/Off (1997)

Face/Off is one of the most beloved and acclaimed action films of the '90s. There's a lot to love about it, but what arguable stands out the most about the film is its quotable lines of dialogue and memorable scenes. While most of these moments came from the minds of writers Mike Webb and Michael Colleary, others came from the actors. Of course, being the artist that he is, Nicolas Cage had no problem contributing to the action flick and, as it so happens, he and co-star Alessandro Nivola produced one of the film’s wildest and most quotable lines.

The Face/Off scene Nicolas Cage and Alessandro Nivola helped to shape was the prison reunion between Castor and Pollux Troy. The infamous scene played out with the younger Troy telling his brother (now, Sean Archer after the face transplant) about why fellow inmate Ian Dubov has it out for him. While telling the story, he revealed that the older Troy had a “sex sandwich” with Dubov’s wife and sister.

The line is so good, but the story behind it may be even better. Almost three decades after Face/Off’s release, Alessandro Nivola revealed to the Happy Sad Confused podcast how everything came together. According to The Many Saints of Newark star, an R. Crumb documentary played a pivotal part in the line’s creation:

I'd been watching that Terry Zwigoff documentary about R. Crumb, the artist. And I had also shown it to Nic, who just...his eyes lit up when he saw it. ... He was just like into it. We started getting together, doing like improvisations in his trailer, based on the Crumb brothers, and just like cracking ourselves up. Just making up the most absurd shit, talking about 'sex sandwiches', and just free-associating. His assistant would write it all down, and then we would send it to John Woo. And John Woo just loved it. Like, I couldn't believe the stuff we were coming up with was just so random. He was looking at our pages, and he was like 'Sex sandwich. Very funny.'

The situation Alessandro Nivola describes is very on-brand for Nicolas Cage. Cage is one of those actors that likes to be part of the creative process, and this special moment is a testament to the fact that a film is a collaboration. But it should also be said that the real MVP is director John Woo, who could’ve dismissed Cage and Nivola’s ideas and stuck to the script. Thankfully, because he took that chance, the Dubov scene became one of the most memorable ones from the fan-favorite film.

Nicolas Cage and Alessandro Nivola’s scene is one of the many things that surely boosts the expectations for the sequel that's currently in the works. There's not telling how things will play out in the new movie, but there's apparently room for Cage to return, despite Troy's death. There’s no word if Nivola or John Travolta will officially be in the mix, but can certainly be hopeful. Until the sequel arrives, fans can stream Face/Off on Paramount+ and Prime Video.

Adreon Patterson

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).