Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nicolas Cage invades Texas 'Hot Spot'

Nicolas Cage took a break from filming in downtown Taylor to play a game of pool with a local. Cage has been all over Central Texas small towns--Bartlett, Granger, Smithville--of late shooting David Gordon Green's Joe and is based on Larry Brown's novel of the same name.

The official description: "Joe is the story of an ex-con who becomes the unlikeliest of role models to 15-year-old Gary Jones, the oldest child of a homeless family ruled by a drunk, worthless father. Together they try to find a path to redemption and the hope for a better life in the rugged, dirty world of small town Mississippi."

Cage, who plays the title character, was in downtown Taylor near the venerable Louie Mueller's Barbecue on Monday with the street closed off. Film trivia buffs might note that he was filming on the same street that was home to the car lot in noir cult film The Hot Spot from director Dennis Hopper. The same block was recently used to film much of original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre co-writer Kim Henkel's new film Boneboys.

On Tuesday, the Joe set had moved just out of town to a rural house amid plowed-under cornfields (see the photo). The setting was a whorehouse, said Deby Lannen, head of the city of Taylor's Main Street Program and also the go-to person for film projects in the city near Austin. Taylor was recently certified as a "Film-Friendly City" by the Texas Film Commission.

Green, who earlier this year moved to Austin, home to his mentor Terrence Malick, appears poised to go back to his indie, George Washington roots with this latest film. Of course, now he wants to do a big-screen version of Little House on the Prairie.

Oh, and that little film Green was shooting in Bastrop last summer that I thought might perhaps be Suspiria? It's Prince Avalanche, his adaptation of an Icelandic road comedy. They have roads in Iceland? And Paul Rudd was in Austin but was too miniscule to be noticed? I'll give $5 and a hug to the first person who can confirm that Rudd is a tiny guy with a giant head. Takers?

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