Prisoners of the Ghostland director Sion Sono ‘didn't really have a choice' but to put an explosive on Nic Cage's testicle

The moment a crotch bomb blows off Nic Cage’s nut in the first act of Prisoners of the Ghostland, and Cage kicks into a manic gear that only he possesses, it’s clear that Japanese auteur Sion Sono found a creative soul mate. The visionary director behind boundary-breaking genre films like Love Exposure, Why Don’t You Play in Hell, and Tokyo Tribe cast Cage in his post-apocalyptic Western samurai odyssey and, maybe expectedly, wound up with the human equivalent of gravitational force. The actor bends genre to his will, and in Prisoners of the Ghostland, his presence becomes vital to Sono avoiding simple pastiche.

Sono tells Polygon that he intends to work with Cage again — this time in a movie shot in America — but for now, he’s more than happy to celebrate the release of the film, which hit theaters and VOD on Sept. 17. In this short interview, conducted over Zoom with a translator, the director sheds light on where his elemental film emerged from, and how he worked with Cage to make it all work.

Polygon: What do you see as the big difference between Japanese action movies and Hollywood action movies?

Subscribe to our Telegram News Service
Download our mobile app

Sion Sono: So I think the big difference that you see in Japanese action movies … going back to all the movies from Kurosawa, for instance, or some Hong Kong action films, is that there are basically no explosions or big guns. It’s more like that they use the body. The action is literally the work of your body, that’s the idea. As opposed to American action films, [where] it’s more the actual equipment and the guns.

I grew up on American cinema, Hollywood movies. So it was rather organic for me [to make one]. Even while I was making all these Japanese films in the past, I was a little bit of a stranger in Japan, because my ideas and stuff all came from […] the influences that I got from those American Hollywood movies, European movies. So this time, it was rather natural for me. And it was even easier for me to get into this for the action stuff.

What films were swirling around your memories while conceiving the movie?

I did have quite a few films in mind when I was creating the world of Prisoners of the Ghostland. I put in some essence from Blade Runner, some essence from El Topo from [director Alejandro] Jodorowsky, and the satire from Federico Fellini. Those classics, and other movies that I grew up on. Those might be in there.

As in those films, costuming and design really bring the movie to life.

There are some different sections that you see in the film, like the bank scene, where the hero and the psycho character come in to rob the bank. That scene we created with a Japanese traditional festival tone with the costumes. And Ghostland is completely different. It’s like a refugee camp, no Japanese element in it. They’re stuck there. And the samurai town is like all the Kurosawa movies together in that town. So there was an East-West type of feel there.

I love the movie’s interpretation of American culture — how did you wind up with the Governor character, who dresses in all white, has a cowboy hat, and speaks with a Southern twang?

For Japanese like myself, the image of the Governor, I immediately thought it should be an image of that old guy from KFC. So somehow, the older white stuff is coming from that. I don’t truly mean that Colonel Sanders, the Kentucky Fried Chicken guy […] I’m not saying that he’s a bad guy. It’s just the image of this white suit.

How did you talk to Nic about interpreting the Western action movies you loved? Were you looking at his past roles?

There’s not really a character that I tried to use from any films that Nic Cage has acted in. But the one thing is that Nic really likes Charles Bronson from his movies from the ’70s. Nic and I discussed a lot about that and having fun with it. And we decided that maybe we should bring some of the older Bronson roles to this. So even on set, Nic would bring the soundtracks from old Sergio Leone films, and we listened to it. So that part, we definitely had fun creating the character together.

Nic certainly seems up for anything. The scene in which his bomb goes off and explodes his testicle looked very painful. Was it a real detonation of some kind?

Yes. The goal was to try to do as practical as possible on set. So for this testicle explosion scene, I felt sorry for Nic, but we didn’t really have a choice. My goal was to do this practically, so that was what happened. It looks very real.

Prisoners of the Ghostland is now in theaters and available to rent on Amazon, Apple, and other VOD platforms.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

‘Internet memes can help us deal with stresses of global pandemic'

Internet memes are meant to be humorous but they may also have another positive effect – helping us cope with pandemic stress, according to a new study. Researchers presented 784 ... Read more »

Man admits to charge over death of footballer in Cardiff flight crash

Photograph: Stéphane Mahé/Reuters A man has admitted a charge relating to the flight in which the Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala was killed when the plane he was travelling in crashed ... Read more »

Here's why you can't buy an iPhone or iPad from Apple right now

You’ve been saving up your pennies, eking out the last drops of use from your mobile, but today’s the day: you’ve set October 18 as the day you buy a ... Read more »

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic review

Two-minute review Alongside the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, at its August Unpacked event Korea’s biggest tech company also introduced the world to the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, a super-premium smartwatch ... Read more »

The best folding e-bikes 2021: super compact electric bikes for city riding

Electric bikes are a great choice for city riding, taking the sweat out of commuting errands, and e-bikes that fold are even better. No more worrying about finding space for ... Read more »

Roku's Streambar returns to record low of $100 ahead of the holidays

As November inches closer, we’re starting to see even more early Black Friday deals on gadgets crop up across the web. Roku products are the latest to be discounted: the ... Read more »

A shooting at an Alabama high school football game left 4 people wounded, including one person with a life-threatening injury

© TMZ Players laid on the ground after the shooting erupted at the Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile. TMZ A shooting at an Alabama high school football game left four people ... Read more »

Weeks after Manny Pacquiao retired from boxing, his son was seen in a fight club with 'Canelo' Alvarez

© Provided by INSIDER Manny Pacquiao’s son training in the same gym as Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Photo by JayShaneTan / Instagram Emmanuel Pacquiao Jr., the son of Manny Pacquiao, appears ... Read more »

Olivia Newton-John to make guest appearance on Dancing With the Stars

© Bang Showbiz Olivia Newton-John Olivia Newton-John will make a guest appearance on a ‘Grease’-themed episode of ‘Dancing With the Stars’. The 73-year-old actress is set to feature on Monday’s ... Read more »

Apple's own ad service grows after App Tracking Transparency

It’s been almost six months since Apple revealed new privacy features to iPhones that allowed preventing apps from tracking the user and showing them relevant ads. This privacy change has ... Read more »

Pemimpin, ulama perlu berganding bahu hapus rasuah: Sultan Nazrin

© Provided by Sinar Harian SHAH ALAM – Pemimpin negara termasuk ulama tidak boleh memejamkan mata, memekakkan telinga dan membisukan lidah terhadap perbuatan rasuah yang berlaku di dalam negara, titah ... Read more »

Colin Powell dies of Covid-19 complications: family

© – Former secretary of state Colin Powell was the son of Jamaican immigrants who became a US war hero Colin Powell, a US war hero and the first Black ... Read more »

Russia shuts mission to NATO in row over spying

© Reuters/Yves Herman FILE PHOTO: Banners displaying the NATO logo are placed at the entrance of new NATO headquarters during the move to the new building MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia ... Read more »

Lebanon's Amal group says goal of violence was to revive internal strife

© Reuters/MOHAMED AZAKIR A protest against the lead judge of the Beirut port blast investigation, in Beirut BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s Shi’ite Amal movement said on Monday last week’s street ... Read more »

Father of missing child Cleo 'speaks with police' in major development

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The biological father of missing four-year-old girl Cleo Smith has spent three hours speaking with police on Monday.  It’s been three days since ... Read more »

Robot cats mobilised to solve Japan's waiter shortage

Skylark has been testing the robot waiters at family restaurants in Tokyo Japan's largest family restaurant chain plans to deploy robot waiters with cat ears across the country to counter ... Read more »

Unternehmer Dorian Selz (51) über die Silicon-Valley-Luft in Zürich: «Die grossen Techfirmen sind Fluch und Segen»

Der Standort Zürich erlebt eine Transformation: Von der Bankenmetropole zu einem Tech-Hub. Spezialisten erhalten Spitzensaläre. Das bringt Vor- und Nachteile. © Bereitgestellt von Blick «Die grossen Techfirmen sind Fluch und ... Read more »

South Africa regulator not authorising Russian COVID-19 vaccine for now

FILE PHOTO: Vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Moscow JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa's drugs regulator said on Monday that it was not approving an emergency use application for ... Read more »

Life Benefits You Will Enjoy Without Debt

© Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.com Attractive multiethnic man in style chic classy jacket blue formalwear trendy tux tuxedo stand with closed eyes under money fly rain isolated on red vivid ... Read more »

Wes Nelson 'genuinely' thought he'd die on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins

© Bang Showbiz Wes Nelson Wes Nelson “genuinely” thought he was going to die on ‘Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins’. The ‘Nice to Meet Ya’ singer was one of three ... Read more »

Russia ends mission to Nato after eight members expelled for spying

© Evgeniy Paulin Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured on Friday. The country’s foreign minister said on Monday that Russia was ending its mission to Nato just weeks after the military ... Read more »

Iranian and Lebanese films win at BFI London Film Festival

© Provided by The National A still from Iranian director Panah Panahi’s ‘Hit the Road’, which has won top prize at the BFI London Film Festival. Photo: IMDb An Iranian ... Read more »

Govt sacks LHDN chief

© Provided by MalaysiaNow The government has cut short the service contract of Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) chief Sabin Samitah effective Oct 19. In a statement, LHDN said Sabin had ... Read more »

Barring unvaccinated from voting is discrimination, says PH

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today The Election Commission has announced that only vaccinated voters will be allowed to cast their ballots at the coming Melaka state election. PETALING JAYA: ... Read more »

Border enforcement agencies told to beef up checks on chicken smuggling

© Provided by New Straits Times KOTA BARU: Enforcement agencies manning the border have been told to beef up checks to ensure non-halal chicken are not being smuggled to the ... Read more »

University slammed for ‘victim blaming' students who get drinks spiked saying they should ‘prevent it'

A UNIVERSITY has been slammed for “victim blaming” students whose drinks are spiked. Critics blasted a Durham University Twitter page post telling students “don't get spiked” as “dangerous”. Durham University ... Read more »

Zendaya in Vivienne Westwood outfit showed how to walk the offbeat way & nail the glam; Yay or Nay?

In a world where everybody is wrapping up warm, the American actress, Zendaya is putting up a smoke show on a rotation. Nothing can get more sensually perfect than her ... Read more »

5 Times Kriti Sanon took her looks to the next level with her edgy eye makeup

Like it or not, the festive season is all about getting decked up in our favourite outfits and putting on and experimenting with our makeup. Because if you think makeup ... Read more »

Katrina Kaif shows how to ace cosy style with two chicest outfits fit for brunch and a date; Yay or Nay?

Fall fashion can be anything that’s nowhere close to dramatic and can still take your style to new heights. While layering up indicates an overload of snuggly feels, there’s more ... Read more »

Three new Ebola cases discovered in DRC

© REUTERS Health workers in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, during the 2018-20 outbreak (File photo) – REUTERS Three new Ebola cases have been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of ... Read more »

Pension savers losing money every year due to tax anomaly - are you affected?

The problem has been left unresolved since it first became apparent back in 2016, causing over one million Britons to miss out on some of their hard-earned pension savings. This ... Read more »

Two more civilians gunned down in Kashmir as fears of resurgent militancy grow

© AP An Indian soldier checks the bag of a Kashmiri man at a busy market in Srinagar – AP Two migrant labourers were shot dead by suspected militants in ... Read more »

Twitch downplays recent high-profile breach

In its latest update on the confirmed breach of its servers, popular video game live streaming service Twitch has shared that the attackers didn’t get their hands on the login ... Read more »

T20 World Cup: Aqib Ilyas making Oman proud after slipping through net in UAE

© HAITHAM AL-SHUKAIRI Oman’s Aqib Ilyas watches the ball after playing a shot during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Oman and Papua New Guinea at the ... Read more »

Morning mail: NSW wakes up to new freedoms, Haiti kidnapping, and vintage Melbourne

Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/EPA Good morning. A group of 17 US missionaries have been kidnapped by an armed criminal gang in Haiti. Schools are reopening in New South Wales, as ... Read more »

Tech View: Nifty50 in overbought zone; consolidation looks imminent

NEW DELHI: Like the past couple of sessions, Nifty50 on Monday saw a gap-up start. But unlike the recent bullish candles, the index ended up forming a Doji-like candle on ... Read more »

1 dead, several injured in Grambling State University homecoming shooting

1 dead, several injured in Grambling State University homecoming shooting Read more »

Police spies inquiry: five officers allowed to give evidence in secret

Photograph: David Rowe/Alamy Five undercover police officers who infiltrated political groups in the 1970s and 1980s have been allowed to give evidence in secret to a public inquiry, leading to ... Read more »