In their interview, Smith rightly noted that Cage and De Palma are uniquely well-suited to each other. Cage is famous for his unique, intense, sideways approach to acting, a technique he had referred to as “nouveau shamanic.” The phrase refers to acting as reaching a spiritual, shamanistic headspace, but filtered through modern technology. De Palma, meanwhile, has always endeavored to make films that attempt to elevate cinema into an operatic headspace. He makes bold swings, swirls his camera (De Palma is fond of long Steadicam shots), splashes the frame with bright colors, and favors large, melodramatic performances. Both Cage and De Palma seem fond of enormous, theatrical gestures.
When asked about their copacetic spirits, Cage agreed. Indeed, he admitted that, ever since “Snake Eyes,” he has hoped to work with De Palma again. In Cage’s words:
“You know something? I’ve been trying to work with Brian ever since I made that movie. We had a great script about Howard Hughes that David Koepp wrote. I’d like to revisit that. But I just found out that it’s the 23rd anniversary of ‘Snake Eyes.’ I don’t watch my old movies, but I’m compelled to watch that one again because I had a great time working with Brian, because of his guts and his ability to do these huge takes.”
The Howard Hughes script that Cage refers to was one of many Hughes biographies that Hollywood was toying with for many years. Martin Scorsese’s 2004 film “The Aviator” was what the studios ultimately made, but there was an Edward Norton version, a Warren Beatty Version, a Jim Carrey/Christopher Nolan version, and, yes a Cage/De Palma version, none of which got made. De Palma’s film, in a meta twist, would have featured Cage as both Hughes and his fake biographer, Clifford Irving.