Filmmaker Austin Stark is about to begin a whole new chapter of his career, as he makes his feature-length directorial debut The Runner, with Nicolas Cage now cast in the lead role.
Having long been making waves on the festival circuit as producer of such well-received titles as Detachment (starring Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks and Marcia Gay Harden) and Happythankyoumoreplease (which won the 2010 Audience Award at Sundance), Stark has thus far been directing short films himself – namely Killing Pedro Rivera, and Love/Death/Cobain. However, as his latest film as producer – Infinitely Polar Bear – is readied for release, Stark is now taking the helm, armed with a script that he wrote himself, and a history of producing fascinating films.
Set in the aftermath of the devastating BP oil spill in 2010, The Runner focuses on idealistic but flawed New Orleans Congressman Colin Price (Cage), who is forced to confront his dysfunctional life after his career is destroyed by a sex scandal. With shooting due to commence in New Orleans in June, Stark recently stated his excitement at having Nicolas Cage lead his movie:
“For my first film as a director, I’m honoured to be working alongside one of the finest living actors, Nicolas Cage. The Runner, a contemporary political drama, is new and exciting territory for Mr Cage. I have no doubt he’s going to deliver a powerful and poignant performance, as relevant as the film itself.”
No pressure then. It certainly is the case that Nicolas Cage is one of the most compelling and powerful cinematic performers we have. It is also the case that such skill has been squandered in recent years, on efforts such as Ghost Rider, Knowing, Justice and Stolen. But this one sounds promising. In fact, it sounds like, with The Runner, we may finally see the return of Adaptation–level Cage, rather than Bangkok Dangerous-level Cage. Here’s hoping.