Paco Cabezas goes to Washington

Sevillian director bags Nicolas Cage for his US debut

Nicolas Cage in sci-fi drama Knowing (2009).
Nicolas Cage in sci-fi drama Knowing (2009).

Almost everything is in place for Seville-born filmmaker Paco Cabezas to start shooting Tokarev in Washington this May. Nicolas Cage is set to star in the Neon Flesh director’s debut US feature, which he describes as “an action thriller with a lot of emotion.”

“I spent two years reading American as well as Spanish scripts,” he explains. “I might have read over 200 in this time and I learned a lot.”

It was his 2010 thriller, starring Mario Casas, that opened the doors of Hollywood to Cabezas. “We presented Neon Flesh at the Tribeca Festival and it was very successful. It was then that the William Morris Endeavor talent agency took notice of me and for the last two years we have been looking for a script.”

“Sin and redemption”

“Tokarev is a very good story. It is not a typical action film, but is closer to Eastern Promises, the David Cronenberg movie which starred Viggo Mortensen. It is the story of a reformed criminal who returns home and realizes his daughter has been kidnapped by the Russian mafia. It is a thriller that talks about sin and redemption. They are the more grown-up themes that I’m interested in developing with Nicolas Cage.”

Although the rest of the cast has yet to be decided, the film’s producer, Hannibal Classics, has revealed that Cage himself had a hand in choosing Cabezas.

“I have another project for this year,” says the Andalusian director, who has also worked as a screenwriter, actor and producer. “If all turns out well, after the summer we will start to direct Mr. Right, a script by Max Landis, the author of Chronicle. It is a romantic comedy with a lot of action, a change of genre that interests me a lot.”

Cabezas says he wants to return to Spain after making more films abroad: “I’m doing it backwards. First I’m creating a name for myself outside and, afterwards, I’ll try to find producers who want to take a bet on Spanish cinema.”

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