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Nic uncaged: Or how to remake a classic film

Rising out of the haze of cult movie geek controversy is WernerHerzog’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” an in-name-onlyremake of the legendary Abel Ferrara/Harvey Keitel corrupt cop shocker.So notorious — and thus, so revered — is the original melodrama thatfans universally sneered when the redux was announced last year, anInternet-fueled tirade led by Ferrara himself.<p></p>

Rising out of the haze of cult movie geek controversy is Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” an in-name-only remake of the legendary Abel Ferrara/Harvey Keitel corrupt cop shocker. So notorious — and thus, so revered — is the original melodrama that fans universally sneered when the redux was announced last year, an Internet-fueled tirade led by Ferrara himself.

But then word got out that Nicolas Cage was to play the titular naughty officer Terence McDonagh, whose dabbling into hard drugs, extortion, prostitution and general debauchery eventually gets the better of him. Then it was revealed that German art house guru Herzog was directing, and the sheer freakishness of the enterprise seemed irresistible.

“I wanted to do this film because I knew Werner would let me go a bit crazy with it,” says Cage of his delightfully unhinged turn.

Indeed, the relationship between Herzog and the late, mad actor Kinski is the stuff of myth, and Cage himself has often channeled the same kind of lunatic energy in films including the brilliantly deranged “Vampire’s Kiss.”

“I never reference previous parts I’ve done, at least not intentionally,” Cage confesses. “But I’m sure it all comes from the same place. Peter Loew in ‘Vampire’s Kiss’ and Terence are both over-the-top characters.”

 
 
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