Stars get personal, open up to discuss Bad Lieutenant

Christine Chen

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Eva Mendez and Nicholas Cage star in the movie Bad Lieutenant. Courtesy of Getty Images

Eva Mendez and Nicholas Cage star in the movie Bad Lieutenant. Courtesy of Getty Images

Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Jennifer Coolidge and Director Werner Herzog attended the press junket for the new movie “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans”. The press junket was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on Nov. 5 at 10 a.m.

As reporters piled in the room with excitement and questions ready to fire, I patiently sat and waited nervously as the time felt as if it was slowly ticking by.

As I sat pondering which questions I should ask first, I heard shuffling and footsteps coming from outside. I looked up, and a gorgeous Eva Mendes with her million dollar smile beamed at me from across the room. Her hair was held up neatly in a bun and her skin was glowing. She was wearing a beautifully tailored grey shift dress with capsleeves, a la Victoria Beckham style.

Next, was the man of the hour, Nicolas Cage. He seemed annoyed and rushing to get in. I noticed a large bandage on his left thumb and a giant sparkling yellow diamond wedding ring on his right fourth finger. His hair was still in the same style as it was in the movie, “Bad Lieutenant”. It was long and slicked back.

Jennifer Coolidge (who played Stifler’s mom in “American Pie”) was also wearing a grey shift dress and had her hair up in a bun as well. She seemed a tad shy but every statement she made, made the whole room erupt with laughter.

Director Werner Herzog had a serious look but later I noticed, displayed great enthusiasm as he explained to us about the filming of “Bad Lieutenant.”

After seeing the movie a few days earlier, I had many questions in mind to ask them. I have comprised some of the most intriguing questions and responses for you:

Q: Why did you choose New Orleans to film the movie? (Nicolas Cage)

A: It’s a potent city with different energies. There’s a lot of different people there like French, English and African. There’s a lot of magic in the city. I’ve filmed movies before there and I have a few homes there too. I wanted to go back and confront it. I was up for the challenge.

Q: Can you explain the iguana scene? What was the significance of that? (Werner Herzog)

A: There was no particular significance of the iguana. I want to keep things unexpected in the movie, like a surprise.

Q: How did you feel during the filming? (Nicolas Cage)

A: I felt in the zone. I came in unprepared. I thank Werner for giving me the chance to let loose and do my thing.

Q: Did you rehearse before you started filming? (Nicolas Cage)

A: I didn’t rehearse because I wanted everything to be fresh and unscripted. Usually, my best takes are my first two takes.

Q: Was it difficult to play a dark character like Frankie? (Eva Mendes)

A: I’m a survivor and she’s (Frankie) a survivor. Frankie is an extreme version of me, so it was easy to relate to. I’ve never judged her for the choices she made.

Q: What was the meaning of the fish in the cup scene? (Werner Herzog)

A: The fish in the cup was used to demonstrate how alone and sad the young victim was. The only friend it had was this pathetic little fish in a cup. The notebook next to the fish was significant. I used that because it gave the victim a life. That there was more than just a murder with DNA samples and things like that. It gave a life to it.

Q: What are some of the influences that helped you develop the personality of your character Terrence? (Nicolas Cage)

A: I created Terrence. The limping because of the bad back is from Richard the Third. I like to be completely into my character. I put my whole body into it. In Australia, they still use cocaine to clear sinuses. While I was there, I went to my doctor to have him clear my sinuses. He gave me this cocaine solution and I snorted it. I started taking notes on the dripping down your throat and the bitter taste. I took notes on the effects. I also came out of independent films. I used what I learned from that to use in my bigger films. Nobody noticed, but I used scenes from “Vampires Kisses” in “Face Off.”

Q: How did you decide to cast Xhibit? (Werner Herzog)

A: I just knew instantly. It’s a question of texture again; to compliment the texture.

Q: Are you worried that as you’re getting older? Do you feel there are less roles for women in Hollywood who are getting older? (Eva Mendes and Jennifer Coolidge)

A: I’m looking forward to taking more flawed characters. I want conflict. I hope there’s more colorful characters I can play. (Eva Mendes)

A: I feel there’s not as much offers. I also get a lot of depressing role offers too. The other day was really depressing. Someone wanted to cast me in a movie called “Scary Lady”. (Jennifer Coolidge)

Q: How were you cast in the movie? (Jennifer Coolidge)

A: I have a house in New Orleans and I heard there was a casting for the movie. So I went down there and I auditioned. I guess when it’s yours, it’s yours. I feel so grateful and lucky.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans opens November 20, 2009.