Drew McWeeney from HitFix.com moderated this panel and brought out Patrick Lussier, the director of Drive Angry 3D. He explained that visual effects were started only three weeks ago, but he and his team put together some footage specifically for us here at Comic-Con.
Lussier explained how the film was originally conceived in 3D, and talked about how the camera rigs needed to be stabilized in order to get the shots they needed.
What are Cage's character's motives? Nic Cage - "It's no secret that I like characters that provide more questions than answers...there's something about this character that is a mystery, and I hesitate to say too much about it."
What was it that made you want to work in live action 3D? Cage - "I felt like I was working with one of the pioneers...Patrick is a purist. I'm always interested in every aspect of filmmaking and film acting...I thought I was in good hands."
Amber, your character looks like she can hold her own. How was it for you to play the empowered female lead? "Those roles are rare, if not completely hard to find. I jumped at the opportunity to take a role where I could shoot some guns, throw some punches, and drive a '69 Charger."
What does the driving do for you on a film like this? Fichtner - "I didn't get to drive the muscle cars as much as my fellow cast members. I did get to drive a hydrogen tanker, which was interesting." Cage - "It's no secret that I like to drive, and drive fast. In this movie I was reunited with Johnny Martin who I worked with on Gone in 60 Seconds...I'm OK driving alone, but when I have stunt women on the hood of the car approaching 100 miles an hour, that's when I get a little nervous...definitely my adrenaline was up."
Inspirations, and what led you to this particular story? Lussier - "We were big fans of Vanishing Point, etc. We wanted to capture that 70's anti-hero action hero. We started writing it, and we started around Groundhog Day where Bill Murray drives and says 'don't drive angry.' And we actually took the title from that, we thought it was a great title."
What attracted Cage to the script? - "It hailed from 70's movies that I really loved...the idea of taking that style of filmmaking and adding 3D to it seemed too fresh to pass up. I wanted to see those movies come to life in a third dimension."
Is there any fascination with beating the devil or escaping from hell that drives you to projects such as this? "I am eclectic, and I'm always looking to push the boundaries with film acting. At this point in my career, I think I've stumbled onto the concept that if I can play characters with some supernatural elements to them, it opens up my options...one of the ways to do it is to play a character who's really high on drugs like in Bad Lieutenant, and another way is to play someone from somewhere else, like in Drive Angry.
Was the driving more fun in this film or Gone in 60 Seconds? Cage - "Eleanor is a fantastic car, but the one I drive here I think is a more beautiful car. And like I said, I had Amber Heard on the hood of this one, so this one was better."
How much did you get to do the stunts? Amber - "Surprisingly, they let me do a lot of stunts in this...that's part of the appeal to me, the fast cars, the big guns, the fist fights. Maybe that's just the Texas in me, I don't know." William - "The Buffalo, NY in me wishes I was in the '69 Charger a little more...to get back to that hydrogen tanker, what a good time I had in that. I can't wait for you to see that."
Cage, what do you enjoy doing more? Action, comedy? Cage - "I love it all. I don't want to go through my career with one hand tied behind my back...I think I try to keep it fresh and interesting. The truth is my roots are independently spirited small dramas and I'll always go back to that well, since that's where I came from.
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