Maria Pulera: My advice for directing Nicolas Cage is let him be Nicolas Cage, you know? He has an amazing creative energy. I think he’s a very seasoned professional and deserves that kind of allowance. I’m one that’s very open to actors going with what they feel within their character. I enjoy that. So that’s really the main thing that I could say is to have trust in it. You've got to trust your actors because as a director you’re casting them for a reason. It’s because you trust them with your story and with the collaboration.
Maria Pulera: He’s very creative in the different things he can come up with. We did a lot of improvisation during rehearsal time. He’s just brilliant off the cuff. During our rehearsal I made it clear we’re doing improvisation here. But in terms of the film, he realized that as a director I’m very open to that and that I really like his intuitive style. So I think you just allow that freedom with your actors.
Maria Pulera: You can’t control it. You don’t try to stop it. That kind of creative freedom within a project where the energy has a certain tone to it is amazing. I like it. Maybe my producer might not like it as much, but hey, I love it. It was fun. I got some great moments. He does a lot of really cool improv lines like, “Does the Tin Man have a sheet metal cock?” I mean, come on. That’s awesome. And he spanks himself out of a scene. "Giddy up."
Maria Pulera: We have all these sex scenes, right? I'm like, "How do we build in the fact that Joe knows that’s really his wife?" He said, “Listen, he reads to her," and it was his idea. When I talked to my producers, I said, “Oh, by the way, Nicolas has written this book. He’s reading this during the sex scene,” my producer thought it was a big joke, so he came over like, “Okay, prank’s up.” And I’m like, “No, no, for real. For real.” This is his poetry, too. “The Inuit” and ‘The Peach Juice” and all that jazz, that’s his poetry.
Maria Pulera: So he does a lot of very fun stuff, and because the other actors stay really into character on a very grounded level it works really well. It’s whacky and it works, so I loved it. A very interesting juxtaposition.
Maria Pulera: He’s very aware of the choices he makes. He is probably one of the most fearless people I’ve ever met, but his choices in "Between Worlds" are very unique. I’ve not seen quite the same choices in other films. The definition of "Full Cage" has a full spectrum here. We got a unique little part on that spectrum because his character, in the outrageousness that he did it, was very unique. It’s like a wackiness, you know? It’s not necessarily anything extreme other than just extreme weird, which was awesome.
Maria Pulera: No, nothing is too far. No. I initially had an assembly editor who assembled the film in a very literal way and took out all the fun parts of Nicolas Cage and I was horrified. I was so upset. I couldn’t even be in the room. I thought I was going to throw-up. I said, “I can’t watch this. Get me out of here.” Other than that it was completely gonzo. The more the merrier, you know?
Maria Pulera: After the assembly I said, I’ve got to bring in my editor, Tim Silano. He's done a lot of Cage movies. He was Paul Schrader’s editor for a long time. Tim rocks my fucking world, okay? Tim loves Cage. He actually acted in a scene with Cage in one of Schrader’s movies, so he knew what I wanted and he loves all the same things about Mr. Cage that I do. He made me happy, I felt relieved. I couldn’t deal with the other thing of horror.
Maria Pulera: I’d love to put Nicolas Cage in every single movie, you know? I think he’s awesome. I think he’s awesome. I haven’t approached his team about it, but I have a very interesting idea for a movie that is a very different type of character for Nicolas Cage to play. I think he’s one of the world’s best actors.