Nicolas Cage Says ‘Bringing Out the Dead’ Is a ‘Misunderstood’ Movie but Hopes It Will Get ‘Another Breath of Life’

Renewed interest in Nicolas Cage’s career has led to many of the actor’s films being reappraised over the past few years, from ’90s blockbusters to off-the-wall indies. If Cage gets his way, the next film to ascend to classic status could be “Bringing Out the Dead.”

The 1999 film, which marked the final collaboration (to date) between director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader, stars Cage as a paramedic who endures a spiritual crisis when he begins to question the value of his vocation. It’s a quintessential Schrader script, weaving Biblical themes like faith, doubt, death, rebirth, and transcendence together against the secular backdrop of unforgivingly harsh New York streets.

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In a new interview with Deadline, Cage opened up about his fondness for the Scorsese movie and the artistic risks it allowed him to take.

“Yeah, I love that movie, and I think it will stand the test of time,” Cage said. “I watched it again recently. I think Paramount+ has it. It hasn’t gone to a high-def digital format yet, but I’m looking forward to maybe doing an interview for the movie with Martin Scorsese for Paramount+, because I think the movie is worth another look. I really believe that that is one of my best movies. I was in-between ‘Snake Eyes’ and ‘National Treasure,’ and I thought it was the most unusual style of filmmaking. It was perhaps the most abstract I’ve seen Martin Scorsese get with his style, and for me as well.”

Cage went on to explain that he believes the film was the victim of a misleading marketing campaign that promised fans a high energy thriller when it was actually an esoteric spiritual drama. But he expressed hope that a restoration of the film will someday help set the record straight.

“But I think it was misinterpreted,” he said. “The movie was marketed in such a way — probably because I had been making adventure films — that people thought it was going to be an ambulance action/adventure movie. Well, that’s not what it was. It was a very painful character analysis of a burned-out paramedic, based on a very good book by Joe Connelly. But it was misunderstood, and I think that movie, maybe when it goes to high definition, will get another breath of life.”

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