A little more than a month ago, it was reported that director Adam Wingard and his longtime collaborator, writer Simon Barrett, were teaming up for a direct sequel to the 1997 John Woo action film, “Face/Off.” At the time of the report, it seemed as if the film’s stars, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, were not returning. And honestly, that would be a major tragedy, as 95% of what makes “Face/Off” so special are the performances by those two actors. Well, in an interview with The Fourth Wall Podcast (the full interview is coming to The Playlist Podcast Network soon), Wingard seemingly teases that he is only going to do the movie is some familiar faces return.
“‘Face/Off’ is one of my favorite films of all time,” said Wingard about his love of the original film. “I mean, like it’s, it’s one of those reference movies that I’ve always used when like I’m working on a film. And if I’m introducing a DP to this type of action that I want to shoot or slow-motion stuff, I’ve always shown them ‘Face/Off’ if they haven’t seen it before.”
It’s because of that love of the ‘90s action film, and the lessons learned from his “Blair Witch” sequel, that the filmmaker is going to only make a “Face/Off” sequel if he can do it right. And though he doesn’t explicitly say that Nicolas Cage and John Travolta are returning for his new film, the director definitely teases that the “original cast” is coming back in some fashion.
“But, you know, for me, it was just a matter of like getting into those characters, and really understanding who those characters are and figuring out like, ‘Okay, we’re not just trying to, like squeak out a sequel for no reason,’” explained Wingard. “It’s like, where would these characters actually go? And how do we make this a legitimate sequel?”
“And to be honest with you that some of that’s born out of, you know, our ‘Blair Witch’ movie, which I think like, ultimately, we felt like we originally wanted to get Heather Donahue in it,” he added. “And at the last minute, it turned out that she had zero interest in coming back and ever being associated with ‘Blair Witch’ again. So we always felt like it never totally felt like a real sequel. And people didn’t really accept it as a sequel. And I think that was a big lesson for us. And so when we came into ‘Face/Off,’ we said, ‘Look, I mean, like, the only way that we’re going to do this really is if we get, you know, the original cast.’ I’m not going to say how it works or anything, but like, it’s got to be 100% the real follow up not just like some fan service movie, not just some like ca-ching thing, this has to feel like the ultimate follow up to the original film.”
I mean, that really does make it sound like Cage and Travolta are returning, right? Obviously, he could be talking about some of the other cast, especially because the events of the first film make it impossible for some to return.
But Wingard is absolutely right. “Face/Off” has to include characters from the original film, especially considering that so much magic of the first feature is the alchemy that was created when John Woo, Nicolas Cage, and John Travolta teamed up for this really bonkers sci-fi-action story. So, consider me now cautiously optimistic that “Face/Off 2” could be good.
In the meantime, you can watch Wingard’s newest film, “Godzilla vs. Kong” on HBO Max on March 31.